Sixers Linked to Bulls ‘Big Fish’ Impending Free Agent

Zach LaVine

Getty Images DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls.

The Philadelphia 76ers have some interesting roster decisions to make in the coming months and a “big fish” free agent they’ll keep an eye on is Zach LaVine.

LaVine is set to becoming a free agent and plans to test the waters and evaluate his situation. The Sixers would be an intriguing option but Philadelphia will have to do some cap gymnastics to be able to offer LaVine the max and possibly do a sign and trade with Chicago. Much of that flexibility depends on what the Sixers do with James Harden, who can opt-in to his hefty $47.4 million player option or negotiate a long-term deal to stay in Philadelphia.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks mentioned LaVine as an option for the Sixers, especially if they feel like it could help the team shed the salary of Tobias Harris on the Lowe Post podcast.

“[Harden opting in] is a lose for Philadelphia from my perspective because if they think there’s another big whale out there they can try and go get, whether it be a Bradley Beal or Zach LaVine, you need Harden to take a significant salary drop, $18 million, $19 million — if you think that there’s a Tobias Harris taker out there,” Marks said. “The concern is that Harris has another year left. The market for teams wanting to take back another year of money with a new CBA on the horizon is not appealing as it once was. So, that would be the challenge.”

James Harden Suggested He’ll Take Less

James Harden has proven he can’t be the 76ers leader – Brian Windhorst | Get UpJames Harden has proven he can’t be the 76ers leader – Brian Windhorst | Get Up The Get Up crew discusses James Harden’s future with the Philadelphia 76ers. #GetUp #NBA ✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ ✔️ Get the ESPN App: ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube:…2022-05-13T13:08:04Z

Harden suggested that he’d be open to taking less to make sure the team can stay competitive.

“I’ll be here,” Harden said. “Yeah, I’ll be here. Whatever allows this team to continue to grow and get better and do the things necessary to win and compete at the highest level.”

As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst points out, taking a long-term deal at a lower number might be in Harden’s best interest, with little belief around the league that the former MVP could still garner a max contract.

“I think at this point nobody in the NBA believes that the Sixers are going to give James Harden a max contract,” Windhorst said. “So the question is what is he willing to do? You could look at what happened with Chris Paul last year with the Suns. He opted out of a $44 million deal this year and actually took a $14 million pay cut and then is taking another pay cut next year with the theory that the Suns are going to be able to keep that championship-level team together. Is James Harden prepared to do that? Or will he just opt in and say, ‘I have a $47 million option, that’s what you’re gonna pay me.'”

LaVine Willing to Test His Options in Free Agency

Zach LaVine 2021-22 End of Season Media Availability | Chicago BullsFor more exclusive videos, please subscribe to our channel or visit —ADD US ON: INSTAGRAM: FACEBOOK: TWITTER: SNAPCHAT: LINKEDIN:

LaVine will be a sought-after commodity as an unrestricted free agent and he’ll have options. He’s coming off consecutive All-Star appearances and averaged 24.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists last year with the Bulls.

LaVine delivered an honest answer on his future after the Bulls were bounced from the postseason.

“You should view it as I’ve been here for the last five years,” LaVine said. “Obviously you guys have been a really, really soft spot in my heart and I have to do this as a business decision as a man. Not to just be viewed one way, and be like: ‘I’m automatically coming back,’ or ‘I’m automatically leaving,’ things like that. It’s unrestricted free agency, for my family and me I have to go into this like it’s a decision where I have to be open-eyed. And obviously I have to make my list and talk to everybody in the summertime.”

Playing alongside Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey could be an interesting situation for LaVine but it all comes down to the numbers.

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