NBA Rumors: Knicks Coach Tom Thibodeau Could Reunite With Zach LaVine In New York
Chicago Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine is one of the players frequently mentioned in various trade rumors. The Bulls haven’t made him available, but as they continue to struggle in the 2020-21 NBA season, there’s a growing belief around the league that LaVine will be moved before the trade deadline. Once the Bulls start considering offers, several teams are expected to express a strong interest in adding him to their roster, including the New York Knicks.
Despite how things ended during their time together with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Marc Berman of the New York Post revealed that Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau might be interested in reuniting with LaVine in New York.
“As president/coach of Minnesota, Tom Thibodeau once dispatched Zach LaVine to Chicago in a 2017 trade for Jimmy Butler. But the Knicks coach sounded like he wouldn’t mind reuniting with the current Bulls shooting guard, noting his improvement. There’s speculation the Bulls would put LaVine on the trading block before he becomes a 2022 free agent. That could be before March’s trade deadline, this summer or at the next trading deadline. The Knicks need more scoring and LaVine is a sniper — one of the best dunkers in the NBA.”
Targeting LaVine before the 2021 trade deadline would make a lot of sense for Thibodeau and the Knicks. Although they have somehow managed to surpass expectations this season, they should still find a way to make major upgrades to their roster, especially if they are serious about excelling in the Eastern Conference this year.
Bringing LaVine to New York may not be enough to turn them into an instant title contender, but it could strengthen their chances of ending their playoff drought. His arrival would significantly improve their performance on the offensive end of the floor, giving them a very reliable scoring option, a decent playmaker, and an elite three-point shooter. This season, he’s posting incredible numbers, averaging 26.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.3 steals while shooting 51.0 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.
Sharing the floor with an efficient floor-spacer like LaVine would greatly benefit Knicks’ top performers Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, as it would make it easier for them to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when they are trapped by the opposing team’s defense.
The Knicks would be an ideal trade partner for the Bulls in the potential deal involving LaVine. Aside from having young prospects and future first-round picks, they also have $18 million in cap space to absorb a big contract without giving away much salary.