Zach LaVine Should Avoid Predicted Top Landing Spot, Says Analyst

Zach LaVine

Getty Images Zach LaVine

July is fast approaching which means NBA free agency is close to getting underway. For the Chicago Bulls that means they’ll be trying to re-sign their prized free agent Zach LaVine.

The Bulls will have competition for LaVine’s services though as a number of teams have been rumored to be interested. The Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs, and the Dallas Mavericks have all been mentioned as possible landing spots for LaVine if he were to leave Chicago.

The Bulls have reportedly already offered LaVine a contract for less than the max he can get from them of five years $212 million. Other teams can offer LaVine a contract of four years at $157 million.

Team to Avoid for LaVine

While a number of teams will reportedly inquire about LaVine’s services when he does become an unrestricted free agent that doesn’t mean every team will be a good fit. Bleacher Reports Greg Swartz recently named the team that LaVine should avoid signing with and it’s one of the teams reportedly interested in him.

If LaVine has any hard feelings about being pushed to the No. 2 option in Chicago behind DeMar DeRozan, his situation certainly wouldn’t change alongside an alpha guard like Lillard. A core of Lillard, LaVine and Josh Hart would still have a hard time making the playoffs in the West, and Portland would need to add a lot of defensive help to avoid being a complete trainwreck on that side of the ball.

Taking a max contract to stay in Chicago would be a win for LaVine, especially if DeRozan starts taking a step back in usage as he approaches his 33rd birthday. But if LaVine wants to be a primary scoring option, the San Antonio Spurs could offer him that opportunity.

The Spurs have the cap space to sign him to a near-max deal, and Gregg Popovich coached LaVine on Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. Whether that’s enough to pry him out of Chicago may come down to how much the Bulls are willing to offer him.

Swartz is right, there is no way LaVine will be the number one option in Portland and it’s possible he could return to the top option if he stays in Chicago. If his knee is fully healthy next season it’s entirely possible that he’ll be the Bulls’ top option again. As far as the Spurs LaVine would certainly be the top option, but at the moment they don’t offer LaVine the chance to be as competitive as the Bulls do.

Continuity of the Core

The Bulls’ front office has stated since the middle of the season that they want to keep the team’s current core together. In order to do so, the team will have to re-sign LaVine.

It’s hard to say what this Bulls core is fully capable of together. Injuries severely limited the number of games that LaVine, DeRozan, Ball, Vucevic, Caruso, and Williams were able to play together this season.

When the Bulls were healthy this season the team got off to a strong start as they were 10-1 to start the season. As open as the competition was in the NBA this season, it makes sense for the Bulls to want to see what this team can do when healthy but the first thing they have to do is re-sign LaVine.