LaVine will join an Olympic squad that doesn’t have megastars like LeBron James and Steph Curry, but is still loaded with proven superstars and younger talent on the cusp of entering that level. Here is a look at the squad, per the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang:
- Bam Adebayo
- Bradley Beal
- Devin Booker
- Kevin Durant
- Draymond Green
- James Harden
- Jrue Holiday
- Zach LaVine
- Damian Lillard
- Kevin Love
- Khris Middleton
- Jayson Tatum
If that team doesn’t bring home the gold medal, there is a serious injury, chemistry and/or coaching problem.
It’s great to see LaVine get the respect he’s earned through hard work and progression as an NBA player. Beyond the accolade, this could have a far-reaching effect on the Bulls’ future, which could be good or bad.
The Potential Positives of LaVine the Olympian
LaVine being an Olympian is great exposure for the Bulls, and it elevates the local interest level of hoops fans in Chicago who might have only paid casual attention to Team USA without having a Bull on the squad.
There is also the chance that LaVine cultivates a relationship with a teammate on the Olympic team. Some may remember, the plan that led to the Miami Heat’s Big Three originated when James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were all a part the 2008 Team USA squad dubbed the Redeem Team.
It was there the plan to team up started to take shape, and it happened in 2010. Sadly, Chicago was nearly the beneficiary of the power move, but ultimately fell short.
Others have made similar connections during Team USA activities. When you take a look at some of the players who will be LaVine’s teammates in Tokyo, it is easy to fantasize about one or more of them joining him in Chicago.
The Potential Negatives of LaVine the Olympian
There is a flipside.
We always have to consider the possibility of an injury. Unfortunately, we all remember what happened to Paul George while playing for Team USA. I, for one, would love to forget it.
My prayers will be up for LaVine and all of his teammates to return to their teams healthy after playing for Team USA. Aside from that, there is also the possibility that the relationship-building environment works against the Bulls.
Remember, LaVine will be a free agent after the upcoming season, and all signs point to him not signing an extension before or during the 2021-22 campaign. He can be eligible for a max deal from the Bulls if he allows himself to become a free agent, which would also leave him open to listen to offers from other teams–and recruitment pitches from the league’s other stars.
What happens if Green (who has been known to be a persuasive guy) convinces LaVine he’d be great playing for the Golden State Warriors, or Beal can turn Zach’s head about playing for the Washington Wizards?
Chris Paul is also set to be a free agent and LaVine has played point guard in the past. Could Booker get in LaVine’s ear to convince him to join him in Phoenix as Paul’s replacement? There are a lot of scenarios and not all of them are positive for Chicago.
Bulls fans should be hoping LaVine is secure in his relationship with the team, and that he joins Team USA as a recruiter and not a recruiting target.
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