The Chicago Bulls and two-time All-Star Zach LaVine have agreed to terms on a five-year, $215 million max contract reports The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Word of LaVine’s new deal quickly spread.
Local media quickly confirmed as NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson joined the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley and The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry corroborating Charania’s report.
NBA Twitter was as quick to react.
Even more exciting, his LaVine’s Bulls teammates were not shy about sharing their sentiments on the unrestricted free agent’s return.
Bulls Teammates Happy for LaVine
Charania reported that there would be no answer from LaVine on the first day of free agency, and there was not as the negotiating period came and went without any other word. But LaVine released a hype video on his Instagram to announce his decision.
He used a scene from the movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
Chicago music artist, Chance the Rapper liked the video.
But teammate Alex Caruso, who was also prominent in the hype video, took to Instagram and Twitter to share his reaction to the Bulls backing up the Brinks truck for LaVine.
Chicago-native, Ayo Dosunmu also expressed his admiration for LaVine’s newfound wealth.
Their reactions are certainly warranted. 670 The Score’s David Haugh noted the significance of LaVine’s return to the Bulls
“Big relief for Bulls. The box they had to check. Max player, who has earned it on NBA pay scale, and this ensures [the] team can embrace continuity AK values so much. Historic signing for Jerry Reinsdorf-owned team.”
LaVine Makes Bulls History
LaVine’s $215 million max extension is the largest in franchise history. That puts him over Derrick Rose ($94 million) and even Michael Jordan who earned $95 million during his entire Bulls tenure, per Spotrac.
Team president Michael Reinsdorf told Johnson during the February 25 episode of the “Bulls Talk Podcast” that the luxury tax would not be an issue.
“Absolutely. All you have to do is go back and look at the last number of championship teams, how many of them were in the luxury tax? With the nature of the NBA and having a soft cap, if you want to compete for championships, you have to be willing to spend into the tax.”
Still, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that the Bulls had reservations about spending their full mid-level exception with eyes on ducking the luxury tax.
And Cowley reported that, despite Mo Bamba’s interest in joining the Bulls, they were unwilling to meet his asking price. Bamba returned to the Orlando Magic, per Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes while the Bulls signed Andre Drummond away from the Brooklyn Nets, per Wojnarowski.
On the Margins
The Bulls had just over $7 million of their mid-level exception remaining, per HoopsHypes’ Yossi Gozlan, before agreeing with a two-year, $6.6 million deal with forward Derrick Jones Jr, per Charania.
They had been linked to Danilo Gallinari, a 6-foot-10 veteran with the ability to stretch the floor.
They are contending with the Boston Celtics, however, with Wojnarowski reporting that they are his preferred destination.
Another rumored target in Indiana Pacers free agent T.J. Warren is still available. They could also pursue a trade to bring in shooting help if they were indeed honing in on Gallinari.
They answered their biggest question of the offseason, though. LaVine will be a Bull for a very long time.