Eastern Notes: LaVine, Maxey, Vezenkov, Knicks, Prince

As the Bulls continue to explore the trade market for a possible Zach LaVine deal, agent Rich Paul wants it known that his client is handling the situation professionally and isn’t agitating for a move or taking issue with the team’s actions, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

“I want to make this clean and clear: This whole idea that Zach has been anything but professional in this situation is false,” Paul told Johnson over the phone. “This guy has played hurt. He has represented the franchise with class. A lot has taken place during his time with the Bulls and he’s taken the high road every time. Does every player get frustrated at times? Yes. But Zach has been the ultimate professional and deserves better. The Bulls have business to do. And we’re letting them handle their business.”

LaVine’s trade value is at an all-time low, primarily due to his contract — the three years and $138MM left on his deal look especially onerous in the NBA’s tax apron era. He’s also coming off foot surgery that ended his season in January, but Johnson reports that LaVine is healthy and going through his typical offseason routine after having beaten the estimated recovery timeline of four-to-six months following his procedure.

The Bulls have presented “upwards of 15” LaVine trade proposals to various teams this offseason, according to Johnson, who hears that the Kings and Golden State have shown the most interest in the two-time All-Star. However, the Warriors‘ imminent additions of De’Anthony Melton, Buddy Hieldand Kyle Anderson probably signal that they’re going in a different direction, Johnson acknowledges.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Speaking to Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey said management is “doing a good job so far” in free agency adding players who will help the team win, adding that he was happy his willingness to wait a year for his own long-term contract helped Philadelphia open up enough cap room to land Paul George. “When we talked about it last year, it’s a trust thing,” Maxey said. “I trusted (the front office), and I feel like it worked out for us so far. It’s a cool deal. I wasn’t too worried about it.”
  • Rumors about a possible return to Europe continue to swirl around Sasha Vezenkov. According to Michalis Stefanou of Eurohoops, Vezenkov and his former EuroLeague team Olympiacos have agreed in principle on a lucrative long-term deal, but the 28-year-old forward remains under contract with the Raptors (with a $6.66MM cap hit in 2024/25), so his return to Greece would likely be contingent on negotiating a buyout with Toronto. Recent reporting indicated the Raptors expect Vezenkov to be with them in camp in the fall.
  • Ever since they agreed to an early version of the Mikal Bridges trade last week, the Knicks sought to expand it, making it clear to the Nets that they’d eventually circle back with more details, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. Now that New York has amended the Bridges deal to ensure its hard cap is at the second apron instead of the first apron, Katz explores what’s next for the team, suggesting that re-signing Precious Achiuwa and adding another player using the taxpayer mid-level exception should be doable, assuming Achiuwa’s price is modest enough.
  • Following up on news that the Bucks have agreed to sign Taurean PrinceEric Nehm of The Athletic considers what the veteran forward will bring to Milwaukee, opining that Prince looks like a good fit for the roster and should see regular minutes next season.

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