Pass or Play: Zach LaVine
The impetus for any Chicago Bulls teardown appears to be Zach LaVine. The All-Star shooting guard is reportedly open to being traded, and the Bulls are open to exploring trades for him. That mutual momentum is likely enough to get teams calling, and the Bulls are hoping one of them pays up for the chance to add LaVine.
The case for bringing in LaVine is that the last time the Warriors bought low on a dynamic offense-first player, they turned Andrew Wiggins into a key role player who made an All-Star Game and was a plus playoff performer. The case against is that the Warriors whiffed every time they tried to do that before Wiggins (Kelly Oubre Jr., D'Angelo Russell, DeMarcus Cousins).
The fit of LaVine with the Warriors' core is also a tricky one, depending on which core player is included in the deal as matching salary. Do they trade Chris Paul and Jonathan Kuminga? That puts the Warriors behind the 8-ball both in ball-handling and perimeter defense. If Brandin Podziemski is ready to handling backup point guard duties and the Bulls toss Torrey Craig into the mix, perhaps the Warriors feel more comfortable.
Could the Warriors trade Klay Thompson instead? It seems impossible given what he has done for the franchise; it seems close to a sure thing that they are going to let the core three play this out. Trading Thompson and a pick for LaVine would make the most stylistic fit, however, and LaVine would bring on-ball creation and only give a little back in terms of shooting and defense.
Zach LaVine is a dynamic shot creator, and the Warriors haven't had one of those to pair with Stephen Curry since Kevin Durant left. There is real offensive upside if LaVine buys in and plenty of players have thrived playing with the space Stephen Curry provides them. It's also possible he struggles to be the second banana to another on-ball player, as he has at times with DeMar DeRozan, and his defense and mediocre playmaking lowers their playoff ceiling.
It's an intriguing idea, but ultimately it's not a great fit and will cost the Warriors something that they don't want to give up.