NBA Rumors: Bulls Could Send Zach LaVine & Lauri Markkanen To Timberwolves In Deal For Top Pick

Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls celebrates during a game against the New York Knicks.
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According to a recently published list of trade ideas, the Chicago Bulls could move up in the 2020 NBA Draft and get the first overall selection by sending two of their top scorers — Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen — to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In an article published Thursday, Bleacher Report‘s Zach Buckley noted that it might not be surprising if the Bulls “[opt] for a clean slate” and shop some of their top stars around following a three-year stretch where they went just 71-158. With Chicago having recently fired head coach Jim Boylen, Buckley suggested that the organization could continue its rebuilding process by pulling off the aforementioned deal in order to have two top-five selections. The Bulls, who finished the 2019-20 season with a 22-43 record, currently own the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft.

As further explained, the hypothetical transaction — which would also have incoming second-year guard Jarrett Culver moving to Chicago — could also allow the Bulls to have what could be the NBA’s youngest starting lineup, given that they already have 21-year-old big man Wendell Carter Jr. and 20-year-old guard Coby White. Although no suggested picks were discussed, guards Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, and Killian Hayes, and center James Wiseman have all been mentioned in previous reports as potential top-five selections.

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (R) attempts a shot over teammate Lauri Markkanen (C).
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Talking about how the hypothetical deal could benefit the similarly rebuilding Timberwolves, Buckley wrote that it would “effectively reverse course” on the 2017 draft-day trade that sent Markkanen and LaVine to the Bulls in exchange for Jimmy Butler.

“If Minnesota has its sights set on the 2021 postseason, it may not want the growing pains of a draft pick (or the seasoning Culver still requires) and instead picks up another potent scorer in LaVine and a possible 7’0″ mismatch in Markkanen,” he continued.

According to the Bulls’ Basketball-Reference team page, LaVine led the team in scoring in the 2019-20 campaign, averaging 25.5 points on 45 percent field goal shooting, and adding 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. He also converted 38 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Markkanen was the team’s second-leading scorer with 14.7 points per game on a 42.5 percent shooting clip from the field and also posted averages of 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

This isn’t the first time in recent days that LaVine has been included in a trade idea that would allow the Bulls to have an additional lottery selection in this year’s draft. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, one of these ideas featured the 25-year-old backcourt star moving to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for their No. 6 overall pick.