Trade talk for Bulls guard Zach LaVine has quieted ... but give it time

Multiple reports indicated that LaVine was the subject of trade talks in February and again this summer, but an astronomical asking price prevented any move. That doesn’t mean the Bulls won’t revisit dealing him this season.

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Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine is no stranger to trade rumors, but for the first time since last February, there’s a quiet around the guard’s future with the Bulls.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

The Zach LaVine trade-rumor mill apparently is on hiatus.

Then again, give it time.

One Damian Lillard interview or James Harden hamburger-run Twitter video can change all of that. But, for now, all has been quiet on a possible LaVine move, including the astronomical — and unrealistic — asking price the Bulls have attached to the two-time All-Star.

LaVine has gotten accustomed to his name floating around in the trade clouds. It has been going on for a few years, the latest instances coming at the February trade deadline and earlier this offseason.

“I’ve been with the Bulls for seven years . . . I’ve had my name in trade talks,’’ LaVine said in a recent interview with NBC Bay Area. “You don’t love it, but you understand the business. I’ve been traded before, so you understand it.’’

Understanding it doesn’t mean LaVine is buying into the rumors.

He stated after the deadline that his representation didn’t hear anything from the Bulls about being involved in trade talks.

Memo to Zach: Your front office doesn’t need to tell your representation anything.

Fast-forward to earlier this month, and LaVine was still holding on to the idea that executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas wasn’t looking to deal him.

“I always rep my city, whichever team I’m playing for, to the best,’’ LaVine said. “And Chicago’s loved me and called me one of their own since I’ve been there. I don’t see anything happening anytime soon. But if it does, Chicago always has my love.’’

So will that love for the lone max player on the roster be tested?

The indications several in the league were getting from the Bulls was that while the rip cord wasn’t pulled this summer, it’s definitely in Karnisovas’ hand and being gripped firmly.

Karnisovas — as well as general manager Marc Eversley — watched their honeymoon period end last season, as the team underperformed again in the standings. While that could lead to the heat being turned up on the job-security front in most organizations, the Bulls are not most organizations.

Karnisovas and Eversley aren’t in the least bit of trouble; the Sun-Times reported that both were given extensions early last season.

The same could be said for coach Billy Donovan, who also was given a quiet extension around this time last year.

That doesn’t mean the Reinsdorfs are thrilled with the product, but the mindset remained AK & Co. made this mess, so AK & Co. need to clean it up.

Expect those trucks to be backed up by next season’s trade deadline if the disappointment continues, however.

A sound plan for a team that soaks in the pool of continuity, but also a dangerous one.

First, the Eastern Conference standings and play-in tournament likely won’t let the Bulls face the reality of what they really are — a mediocre team built to, at best, have a solid first-round showing in the playoffs before breaking a huddle with “1, 2, 3 . . . Cancun!’’

Karnisovas was thrilled with the 14-9 second-half finish to the 2022-23 season, as well as the fact that the Bulls were three minutes away from eliminating Jimmy Butler and the eventual Eastern Conference champion Heat in the final play-in game.

Then again, Karnisovas has a recent history of running down dark tunnels to chase fool’s gold.

The second concern with Karnisovas waiting until next February’s deadline is: How will teams be preparing for the new CBA by then?

Adding a max contract — even with the amount of money that was thrown around the NBA the last month — is going to come with more and more hesitation. LaVine has a player option for 2026-27 at just under $49 million.

The number of possible destinations could be fewer, and the offers could be worse.

For now, however, all is quiet on the LaVine trade front.

Enjoy the silence — as brief as it might be.

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