The Chicago Bulls like many teams are facing several questions as they enter the 2022 offseason. The biggest question the Bulls face this offseason is whether they will be able to re-sign All-Star Zach LaVine who is an unrestricted free agent.
LaVine has said that he plans to fully enjoy the free agency process and that he is open to re-signing with the Bulls. Until he makes his decision though the Bulls are in somewhat of a holding pattern on what they can do this offseason.
The Bulls’ front office and players have expressed a desire for continuity next season, but for that to happen they’ll have to re-sign LaVine. If LaVine chooses to sign elsewhere then the team will have to find a way to fill that void.
Possible LaVine Landing Spot
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported at the 22:00 mark of his Hoop Collective podcast Tuesday that the initial impression around the NBA was that LaVine was “off the market.” Now, there isn’t as much certainty about him staying in Chicago.
Windhorst added that the Portland Trail Blazers have “popped up” as a potential landing spot.
While LaVine hasn’t explicitly stated he intends to leave the Bulls, Windhorst explained how recent comments the guard made changed the general perception about what he’ll do this summer.
The Blazers could have plenty of cap space this summer if they choose to move on from Anfernee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic, and Joe Ingles. Portland has said they still plan on building around superstar Damian Lillard, 32, who is coming off of an abdominal injury that caused him to miss 53 games this season.
The Bulls could pay LaVine more as they can offer him a five-year $212.3 million. Another team could offer him a four-year deal worth up to $157.4 million.
As it pertains to the Blazers and LaVine the question would ultimately be does he think it would be a good fit. While it’s not clear what LaVine is looking for in free agency it’s fair to say at the moment the Bulls are currently better constructed to compete for a championship.
LaVine’s decision will be the first domino to fall for the Bulls this summer and it will ultimately shape the team’s offseason. If LaVine decides to re-sign with the Bulls then it seems like the team will opt for continuity of their core and maybe just add some complementary pieces.
If LaVine does choose to sign elsewhere then the team will have to find a way to soften the loss. At that point, the Bulls could opt to trade some other players that they feel could bring back a good return. If LaVine does leave Chicago then the team will also have some cap space they could use to land another player.
The Bulls would obviously prefer to keep LaVine and just add some tweaks to the roster. However, they need to be prepared for every possibility.