Why Bulls Failed to Reach Agreement on Extension With Zach LaVine

Getty Zachary Lavine

The Chicago Bulls offered Zach LaVine a contract extension, but the team and player couldn’t come to an agreement, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who cited a source. LaVine will now likely become a free agent at the end of the season.

While LaVine has expressed his desire to remain in Chicago, he will probably get a ton of offers from other teams. Recently, LaVine was named a free-agent target for the Boston Celtics. It only adds to the paranoia of Bulls fans that LaVine seems to be working out regularly with Celtics star Jayson Tatum.

It’s not time to panic, but it is clear LaVine will have a ton of options if Chicago allows his contract to expire.

What Prevented the Bulls From Signing Zach LaVine to an Extension?

Why didn’t LaVine and the Bulls come to an agreement? According to Windhorst, the Bulls were faced with the opportunity to offer LaVine a major extension. However, it would have handicapped the team’s ability to improve the roster.

Windhorst wrote:

The Bulls, however, would’ve had to use significant cap space to boost LaVine’s $19.5 million salary this season in order to give him a deal that was in line with his market value after he made his first All-Star team last season. The Bulls and LaVine did have extension discussions before free agency, sources said, but they did not find common ground. Instead Chicago executed sign-and-trade deals for Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan and signed Alex Caruso as a free agent last month, spending nearly $200 million as they look to break a four-year playoff drought.

You’d have to believe the Bulls have been led to believe LaVine will sign a max-deal with them at the end of the season–assuming they offer the 27-year-old the huge contract at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Could the Bulls Consider Trading Zach LaVine?

Almost no Bulls fan wants to think about dealing LaVine. He’s coming off a career season where he reached new heights in scoring, shooting accuracy and more. LaVine’s star level has grown exponentially with his first All-Star berth as well as his inclusion on the Olympic team.

With the moves to add veterans like DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Alex Caruso, the Bulls clearly want to see what they can build around LaVine. There is some question as to what this team’s ceiling will be considering it is not the most conventional collection of talent. However, LaVine seems like a certified star whose age and talent would appear to equal a no-brainer max deal.

That said, if LaVine shows some reluctance to commit to the Bulls long-term, based on the conversations with management that are sure to take place this season, Chicago’s front office must consider trading their star. Under no circumstances can they afford to lose him for nothing. It should be an interesting fall, winter and spring in the Windy City.

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