During LaVine’s final media session of the season, he made it clear; he expects to be compensated for what he has accomplished professionally.
Per 670 The Score’s Cody Westerlund, LaVine said: “I definitely want what I deserve… whatever that is, I’ll have it coming to me.”
LaVine will be a free agent after next season, and the Bulls would be wise to try to lock him up for the long-term as soon as possible. However, LaVine could earn his biggest deal if he waits until after next season to sign with Chicago.
LaVine would qualify for the max, and there is talk he will choose to take that route, which would also open him up to accept offers from other teams. That means, if the Bulls don’t ink LaVine to an extension before the end of next season, they will be in danger of losing him for nothing in free agency.
That’s a scary thought, and LaVine’s comments at the team’s season-ending press conference drove that concept home to anyone who doesn’t understand the veracity of the next six months.
We’ve also heard, per the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley LaVine might be open to taking less than the max deal if it would help the Bulls add “key role players” around him and Nikola Vucevic.
As it stands, it sounds even more like the next six months will be crucial for the Bulls’ long-term future.
The Point Guard Dilemma
The Bulls have a dilemma at point guard. Coby White is a hard-working, positive, and resilient player who is still just 20 years old. He has displayed adequate playmaking abilities while also giving teammates, coaches, and fans headaches with some on-court decision-making.
I’ve gone on record saying the Bulls should make the tough decision to trade White, especially if it will help facilitate the signing of a player like Lonzo Ball–not to mention a defensive pest and capable shooter like T.J. McConnell.
However, because of the indisputable intangibles White possesses, his relationship with Patrick Williams, his explosive scoring, and his youth, I could be talked out of dealing the very likable second-year player away.
The question is: what does the Bulls’ brass think of White, and will they listen to trade offers, which are sure to come from other teams that believe White is what their roster needs?
White’s development could wind up having a significant impact on the way LaVine views his chances to win in Chicago and could thus affect his decision to commit to the franchise long-term.
Retaining Theis is Crucial
We only got an opportunity to see Theis in a Bulls uniform for a few months, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who wasn’t impressed with what they saw. Bulls head coach Billy Donovan praised Theis last month.
Theis’ presence instantly improved the team’s interior defense, and he quickly added leadership. Those qualities will only be enhanced in his first full season with the team.
Chicago must find a way to bring him back on a multi-year deal. Theis is the kind of “key role player” LaVine is referring to with his comments.