A pair of Seattle-area basketball products could be linking up in Chicago.
Free agent guard Isaiah Thomas posted a video to his Instagram Story on Monday of a workout that he had with Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine. In a live broadcast earlier this month, the former All-Star Thomas had expressed his interest in potentially teaming up with LaVine on the Bulls.
Isaiah Thomas in the gym with Zach LaVine.
A couple of weeks ago Thomas said on IG Live that he always wanted to play for the Chicago Bulls and that “playing in Chi with Zach would be cold.”
Thomas, who posted 12.2 points and 3.7 assists a game for the Washington Wizards this season before being traded to and immediately waived by the LA Clippers, is a native of Tacoma and played college ball at the University of Washington. LaVine is also from the area and often plays in the Seattle Basketball Pro-Am League during the offseason.
While LaVine has been the subject of trade rumors in recent days, a pairing with Thomas in Chicago could have some value. Kris Dunn appears to be on the outs with the team, and having a seasoned veteran like Thomas around may also benefit 19-year-old guard Coby White.
Zach LaVine still has two years remaining on his contract with the Chicago Bulls, but there has been some speculation that the team could look to trade him if they decide to blow their roster up and start fresh. Should that happen, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are two teams that want to be prepared.
SNY’s Ian Begley reports that the Nets and Knicks have both been monitoring LaVine’s situation in Chicago and done background work on the star point guard. The Bulls recently hired a new team president in Arturas Karsinovas and have yet to commit to head coach Jim Boylen going forward. They have also had trouble surrounding LaVine with talent, so there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the current state of the franchise.
LaVine averaged a career-high 25.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game this season. Trading for him at this point — with two years left on his contract — would require giving up a huge package, but the Nets and Knicks may have the assets needed to complete a deal. Both teams are also said to be interested in Bradley Beal should the Wizards decide to trade him.
The Chicago Bulls are one of eight NBA teams who will not play another game this season, and star player Zach LaVine is disappointed to see it end like this.
Speaking with the media on Friday, the Bulls guard gave his reaction to the team missing the cut for the NBA’s restart in Orlando.
“It sucks,” said LaVine, per ESPN’s Eric Woodyard. “You’ve got to understand it. It’s a weird time, especially with everything that’s going on right now, but it’s upsetting too. We weren’t even good enough to get to the play-in game, so it’s upsetting and it just shows that we’ve got to do a lot of things differently to get ourselves that recognition to get to that spot.”
Though LaVine had a tremendous individual season, averaging a career-high 25.5 points per game, the Bulls floundered their way to 22-43 record. But even so, they finished just 2.5 games behind the Washington Wizards, who were the worst team to make the cut for Orlando.
A game of HORSE appears to be headed to a television near you.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that the NBA and ESPN are nearly finished with a plan to televise a game of HORSE between top pros. Current and former NBA and WNBA players are slated to participate.
Sources: The NBA and ESPN plan to televise a HORSE competition is nearing completion and among those expected to participate include Chris Paul, Trae Young and Zach LaVine. Competition will also include a couple of WNBA players and recent NBA alumni.
The logistics are still unclear, but it looks like this is happening. With no NBA games on the horizon, the league wanted to put something on to entertain fans. It looks like they have a solid crop of players lined up, and some of the other rumored names are good, too.
It’s not clear when this will take place, but it’s likely to involve players participating remotely from home gyms. It may not be much, but any live sports will probably be welcomed by fans right now.
Zach LaVine is in his sixth season in the NBA and hasn’t experienced much team success. That is wearing on him.
LaVine conducted an interview with Chicago Bulls writer Sam Smith that was published on Monday. The 25-year-old guard talked about how he has been handling things during the coronavirus shutdown. LaVine said he is spending his time in Seattle at his new home, nearby his family.
Also in the interview (which you can read here), LaVine expressed his frustration over the Bulls’ season. Chicago was 22-43 when the season was suspended.
“To be blunt, I’m upset,” LaVine admitted to Smith. “We had high expectations coming into the season and it didn’t go our way anyway we could have thought of. We played through some adversity, but we didn’t go out there and do what we were supposed to do as a team.”
LaVine says he had hopes they would be able to make the playoffs, but things didn’t work out that way. He has never played on a team that won more than 31 games in a season, and that is understandably “frustrating” to him.
On a personal level, at least there have been some positives for LaVine. His 25.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game are career-high numbers. That explains why LaVine has been off limits in trade talks.
Zach LaVine is grinding through another disappointing season with the Chicago Bulls, and he was openly frustrated with head coach Jim Boylen late in Saturday night’s loss to the Phoenix Suns.
The Bulls fell to 19-38 on the season with another rough performance at home, and LaVine appeared to think the loss took a little longer than it needed to. After the Suns extended their lead to 112-102 with just over 30 seconds remaining, Boyle decided to call a timeout. It was actually LaVine who signaled for the timeout, but it clearly wasn’t his decision. This video made that quite obvious:
Just got home saw a tweet about Zach Being annoyed again about a Boylen timeout. After the timeout Zach shakes his head and seems to say "why call a timeout down F'ing 10" pic.twitter.com/lV4HH356Wb
The Bulls had a 17-point lead at one time in the game, but they fell apart down the stretch. They have done that quite a bit over the past two seasons, and LaVine apparently felt calling a timeout down four possessions that late was just delaying the inevitable. Either that, or he thought the Bulls should play faster and save the timeouts. The former seems a lot more likely.
LaVine has had some ups and downs with Boylen since Boylen took over for former Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg. LaVine, who is averaging 25.1 points per game this season, was vocal about his displeasure with Boylen early in the season after the star point guard was pulled for playing bad defense. As the losses continue to pile up, the tension will probably increase.