Bulls star Zach LaVine has surgery on his right foot

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) drives towards the basket during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024, in Toronto. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine had season-ending surgery on his right foot on Thursday.

The team announced late last week that LaVine would have an operation after he and his agency, Klutch Sports Group, consulted with team and outside medical personnel. The two-time All-Star is expected to miss four to six months.

The decision to have surgery basically squashed any chance the Bulls had of trading him prior to Thursday's deadline and created more long-term questions for the franchise.

“I think we have a great relationship with Zach, a great relationship with his representation in Rich Paul,” executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said. “I think we always work together, and I think his thoughts are always about the team. He's trying to win. And he's trying to win when he's healthy.”

He said the Bulls are “better with Zach on the team.”

LaVine, who turns 29 in March, missed 17 games from Nov. 30 to Jan. 3 with inflammation in his right foot. Following a slow start to the season, Chicago went 10-7 while he was out.

The Bulls stood pat at the deadline for the third year in a row even though they are ninth in the Eastern Conference at 24-27. Karnisovas called it a “buyers market” and said he was looking more to improve rather than take a step backward by dealing a key player such as LaVine, DeMar DeRozan or Alex Caruso.

“A shakeup doesn't guarantee you success,” he said. “I think this group gives you the best chance to compete.”