The Chicago Bulls’ offseason is officially underway after they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks a few weeks ago. Since the offseason got underway rumors have been swirling about Zach LaVine who will become an unrestricted free agent in July.
During most of the season many were confident that LaVine would re-sign with the Bulls this summer but since their exit from the postseason speculation has started to pick up that he’ll leave the team. It’s been suggested that LaVine could sign with the Lakers, Blazers, Mavericks, and Spurs already and it’s just May.
LaVine seemed annoyed as he was asked questions but did answer a few. When asked why he was in Los Angeles LaVine stated “I live here man I always have.” The reporter then asked if LaVine had any good news for the Lakers to which he didn’t respond.
After that, the reporter referenced LaVar Ball’s recent comments saying LaVine would leave the Bulls for the Lakers. LaVine laughed at first before saying “Me and Lonzo are boys.” Just before he left LaVine was asked if he had anything he wanted to say to Lakers fans to which he said “I’ve always been a big fan” before closing his car door.
LaVine’s comments probably don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things but any comment given his free agency is going to cause speculation. LaVine has ties to Los Angeles beyond just living there, he played for UCLA during the 2013-14 season where he was named to the Pac 12 All-Freshman team.
Only time will tell where LaVine will eventually sign this summer, but in the meantime, the rumors are likely to continue to heat up. The Bulls can offer LaVine the most money as they can give him a max contract of five years at $210 million. Other teams can offer LaVine a four-year deal at $157 million.
However, the Bulls aren’t LaVine’s only path to a max contract. He could request that the team agree to a sign and trade to whatever team he wants to join. Because of the Lakers’ lack of cap flexibility a sign and trade is the only way that could land LaVine right now.
If LaVine were to request a sign and trade it’s uncertain how the Bulls would respond. The team would at least have to consider it or they could lose LaVine without getting anything in return.
However, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, the latest indication from the Bulls’ side of things is that they still believe they’ll be able to re-sign LaVine.
In the meantime, LaVine is expected to undergo a scope procedure on his ailing knee in the coming weeks. How the procedure goes could play a big part in what teams are willing to offer LaVine in free agency.