Sunday, April 14 2024

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine could return within the next week after missing the past 15 games due to a right foot injury. On Tuesday, Bulls coach Billy Donovan said the two-time All-Star is “progressing right now.” LaVine, 28, could play as soon as Friday’s home game against the Charlotte Hornets.

“I don’t know what the exact date’s going to be, but the way he’s progressing right now and the fact that he’s in full-fledged contact, [it’s] very, very positive,” Donovan said before Tuesday night’s road game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I don’t know what the medical [team] — how much data they want to see in terms of game load kind of practices that he can handle. But everything that’s been thrown at him in terms of the way he’s progressed, he’s handled really, really well.”

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Bulls hold 24th-ranked odds to win this season’s championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, and Indiana Pacers.

Donovan said LaVine had no setbacks during workouts with Chicago’s G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls, the last two days. He’s expected to have another workout with the club on Wednesday.

“Positive [progress],” Donovan said. “Very, very good. So far, he practiced with those guys yesterday and then again today and all the reports I got is that it went very, very well. He responded well coming back in this morning, and we’ll see how he responds tomorrow.

“But with the schedule of Windy City and them being in town and able to practice, it’s good. With our schedule, it’s hard to get him actual live right reps and playing against live bodies. So, this has been good for him to be back there.”

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (foot) might return as early as Friday’s home game against Charlotte Hornets

Since LaVine’s injury, the Bulls have gone 10-5 in their last 15 games. Prior to his injury in 18 starts this season, LaVine was averaging 21 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 35.3 minutes per game.

Plus, he was also shooting 44.3% from the field, a career-low 33.6% beyond the arc, and 86.6% at the foul line. LaVine’s name has been mentioned in a number of trade rumors the last few months.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat are among the teams interested in the UCLA product.

Moreover, the 10-year veteran is owed $129 million over the next three seasons. LaVine is earning $40.06 million this season and $43.03 million in 2024-25. His deal carries a 2026-27 player option worth $48.9 million as well.

Regarding the trade rumors, Donovan hopes Zach LaVine will remain focused on helping the Bulls. “I think he sees how we’re playing, what we’re doing, and I think that the thing that he’d want to do is come in and contribute and enhance that and make it better,” he added.

“To me, [our discussions have] been very, very positive. I think he wants to help the group as much as he can. I think I’ve said this before, I don’t think it’s necessarily so much that he has to change his game. It’s what he does really, really well, can he bring that to the table for us?”

How well LaVine plays in his return might make a difference in whether or not a trade occurs.

The NBA trade deadline is Thursday, Feb. 8.

Source: Basketball Insider

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