The Chicago Bulls may be out of the playoffs. But they are still acutely aware of the nightly happenings around the league. At least star guard Zach LaVine is even as he prepares for offseason surgery and unrestricted free agency.
LaVine is set to undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his balky knee that he played through since mid-January. He also dealt with torn thumb ligaments to begin the year.
Still, the biggest thing on everyone’s mind has been his looming decision and the growing uncertainty surrounding it. That has led to an innumerable amount of trade proposals and speculation landing the two-time All-Star in another city and uniform.
It’s a trend that did not stop even as LaVine joined the chorus of NBA players in taking notice of an Andrew Wiggins dunk over Luka Doncic in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
Zach Reacts to the Wiggins’ Rack Attack
The play in question came in the fourth quarter of the Golden State Warriors’ 109-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks to take a 3-0 series lead. Golden State was up 91-83 when Wiggins received the ball from Stephen Curry and drove hard on Doncic who slid over late.
Officials initially called it an offensive foul. But, after a challenge from Dubs head coach and former Bulls guard Steve Kerr, they overturned it and the poster counted.
The Twitter-verse already reacted with LaVine joining the fray.
LaVine and Wiggins were teammates with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2015 until 2018 when the former was traded to the Bulls in exchange for a package headlined by Heat star Jimmy Butler.
They were also draft mates with Wiggins going first overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers and then being traded for Kevin Love while LaVine was taken with the 13th pick by Minnesota.
Neither player quite reached their potential with the Timberwolves. Both were All-Rookie selections in 2015. But both have become All-Stars with their new teams.
Some fans, though, took the opportunity to plead their favorite team’s case.
Fans Try Recruiting LaVine
Fans flock to mentions any time an NBA player, or any athlete for that matter, posts something. Calls to join “x-team” are also par for the course. But LaVine’s free agency has gone from being considered a slam dunk to uncertain.
That was more than enough to get the non-Bulls fans worked into a lather. This one even came with a photoshopped image of LaVine in a Philadelphia 76ers jersey.
Others took a simpler approach with this @__jacob02 simply asking LaVine to “come to the Mavs”. Dallas was one of the four teams NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson mentioned in connection with LaVine.
There were also instances of the rich wanting to get richer.
Of course, Bulls fans flooded the replies as well with @BullsFanJose commenting, “Pls don’t leave us Mr. LaVine”.
This fan took a more pragmatic approach.
LaVine said he would be open-eyed in his exit interview. He also has not spoken on the matter publicly since.
NBA World Took Notice
LaVine was not the only player to shout out Wiggins who has been instrumental in staking the Warriors to a historically insurmountable lead and is heading into the final year of a five-year, $148 million contract, per Spotrac.com.
Immanuel Quickley of the New York Knicks and Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets also took notice as did Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards. Former NFL players Terrell Owens and Darrelle Revis also chimed in while some, like former NBA forward Matt Barnes chastised referee Mark Davis for calling the offensive violation.
For Bulls fans, though, all that matters is the pitch other fans made to the Bulls free agent. It is a reminder that this offseason could be a rollercoaster of emotions and speculation. After all, that appears to be what LaVine wants to experience.
How will it turn out?