DeMar DeRozan Issues Strong Demand on Zach LaVine’s Bulls Future

Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan

Getty Images Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan

The Chicago Bulls’ offseason is officially underway after the team lost to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night 116-100 to lose the series 4-1. The Bulls took a giant step forward this season going 46-36 after going 31-41 last season.

The Bulls’ improvement this season was largely a byproduct of their aggressive offseason last year. The team added DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso to the roster, which made the team a lot better.

While the Bulls’ offseason last year was a big success, this offseason will be just as important for the team if they are going to contend for a championship. The first decision the team will have to make is on Zach LaVine, who is an unrestricted free agent.

Max Everything

LaVine is eligible for a five-year, $212 million deal this summer and one of his teammates has already made it clear what he should get.

DeRozan clearly has enjoyed playing with LaVine and thinks the team should invest to keep him in Chicago. The one thing the Bulls have to weigh in this contract is whether they are comfortable investing in LaVine that long with his current knee injury.

The news came out on Wednesday that LaVine will have offseason keen surgery to deal with the injury that nagged him for the second half of the season. According to NBC Sports Chicago, LaVine’s knee was at 50% on a good day and the maintenance was an all-day ordeal the last few months.

It’s unclear at this point what kind of surgery LaVine will have and how long his recovery will be. That could a big part of the team’s decision on how long of a deal they are willing to give him.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks said in his offseason preview for the Bulls that he would have issues giving LaVine a five-year max deal.

“Year four and five would be a killer, especially if that injury kind of lingers around here… For me writing him, man it’s a whopper, you’re basically looking at the last year is $48.3 million. So what do you do? Do you do a three-year deal with a fourth-year non-guaranteed?”

It will be a big decision for the Bulls who have made it clear they want LaVine to stay in Chicago. The one thing the team will have to determine is how comfortable are they with giving him a max deal.

Shaping the Offseason

The Zach LaVine contract decision will ultimately shape the Bulls’ entire offseason. If the team re-signs LaVine then it’s likely the Bulls will make some minor moves and keep the roster close to the same.

The Bulls were 39-21 this season before the injury bug really started to drag them down. The team has also said during the season that they were looking for continuity, which is a message that Nikola Vucevic echoed in his exit interview on Thursday.

If the Bulls do go with continuity then the team will need to improve in two areas. They’ll need to add three-point shooting and some rim protection.

How the team will address those teams remains to be seen. The Bulls do have the 18th overall pick and some young players they could trade.

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