Insider downplays Utah Jazz's interest in Zach LaVine

The Utah Jazz certainly caused a stir when KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reported that they were among the teams that had discussed a possible trade of Zach LaVine with the Chicago Bulls.

“According to sources, Karnišovas has made up to 15 offers related to the two-time All-Star guard to various teams, including the Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers,” Johnson wrote.

It got even more bizarre when a follow-up report confirmed how “active” the Bulls were on that front, and that they had only been in talks with the Jazz and Sixers. LaVine's talent is undeniable, but for someone who only played in five playoff games, he commands a pretty hefty transfer fee.

Well, Jazz fans can breathe a sigh of relief, because NBA insider Marc Stein reported on his Substack that the Jazz's interest in LaVine is nowhere near as great as initially thought.

“League sources say Philadelphia continues to have little interest in LaVine and I have also been advised to ignore reported interest from Utah.”

The truth is, if he was paid appropriately for his services, there would be a bigger market for LaVine, but since he is paid like a superstar, teams aren't interested in adding him and his contract to their payroll. Those teams obviously include the Jazz.

From Utah's perspective, there has been a lot of discussion about a LaVine trade. LaVine would be their best scorer and Lauri Markkanen has experience playing alongside him, albeit on terribly dysfunctional Bulls teams. If LaVine had any real trade value, the Bulls would have gotten rid of him by now.

Because he's overpaid, LaVine is widely viewed as an albatross despite his All-Star stats and clean bill of health. What also hurts his value these days is the fact that he's coming off a season-ending injury, and the Bulls haven't done too badly without him.

So, considering all of that, what appeal does he have for the Jazz? Well, it depends on whether the Jazz want to stockpile any more players. At this point, the Bulls may need to bring in some first-round players just to get rid of LaVine. Utah has been masterful at getting players when they could, so who's to say they wouldn't jump at another opportunity to get more, especially from a team that doesn't have as much direction as the Bulls?

The chances of LaVine taking the Jazz much further than they have so far are slim, but a few extra first-round picks could pave the way for the Jazz to sign an available superstar later on.

In other words, LaVine's appeal to the Jazz stems from his ability to help them sign a game changer, even if he isn't one himself.

Anna Harden

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