This summer the Chicago Bulls signed Zach LaVine to the richest contract in franchise history. At $215 million over the next five years, it’s more than Michael Jordan and Derrick Rose’s earnings in a Bulls uniform combined.
They also included a 15% trade kicker so it’s fairly safe to say that, barring some unforeseen catastrophe, he isn’t going anywhere.
But perhaps his NFL fandom is up for grabs.
LaVine happens to be a fan of the Las Vegas Raiders who lost 29-23 to the Arizona Cardinals in overtime on September 18. The two-time All-Star took to Twitter at various points throughout the game to share his frustrations with his favorite squad. This, of course, invited Chicago Bears fans to try convincing him to switch allegiances.
Bears Fans Try Recruiting Zach LaVine
LaVine’s self-torment was warranted as the Raiders blew a 20-point, second-half lead in the game. They would not score again after kicking a field goal with just under two minutes to go in the third quarter.
Bears fans were the overwhelming force in LaVine’s mentions trying to recruit him. But there seemed to be others like Seth Rollins of the WWE to remind him of the Bear’s particular plight.
But it wasn’t just Bears fans trying to get LaVine to root for their favorite team.
All of these pitches give off a similar vibe to this summer when LaVine was going through his process in unrestricted free agency.
LaVine’s Summer Recruitment
LaVine re-signed with the Bulls rather quickly saying it would have been “disrespectful” to take meetings with other teams after the Bulls offered him all that he was looking for in his max contract.
But the rumor mill was flush with potential destinations and reasons he should be looking to move on from the Bulls.
That naturally led to fans on social media doing their thing then as well.
Lakers fans had a field day after LaVine’s comments that he’d always been a big fan of their favorite squad.
And Blazers fans also got wind of the rumors that they would pursue him as well.
Perhaps the outcome was a bit anti-climactic after all of the chatter about other teams and him taking his time in free agency. But anyone questioning the deal the Bulls gave him would be wise to remember just how many organizations were linked to the 2020 Olympic gold medalist.
Pressure on LaVine
His new max contract will bring along with it heightened expectations. But LaVine has been almost defiant in his insistence that nothing is any different. His career progress from year to year would seem to support his stance.
But there will be an expectation that his personal progress translates to team success.
And not just in the regular season, either, where the Bulls surprised many to win 46 games last year.
Despite many experts expecting them to take a step back in a revamped East, LaVine is going to be expected to lead this team deeper into the playoffs than their five-game soiree with the Milwaukee Bucks. This isn’t about production necessarily nor toughness after LaVine battled through a knee injury that require surgery this offseason.
It’s about winning from here on out.