Certain teams face difficult decisions over the coming weeks: whether or not to sign prospective restricted free agents to long-term extensions before the league-imposed deadline at the start of the 2017-18 regular season. If these franchises choose to pass, they will be forced to haggle with players’ agents next offseason; feelings could get hurt, offers sheets could be signed and overall, the circumstances get a bit stickier. We explore these situations in depth.
Today: Zach LaVine
Why would Chicago extend LaVine?
Zach LaVine is known for his high-flying dunks, but he’s become more of a complete player over time.
Last season, he averaged 18.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He also made 38.7 percent of his threes and 83.6 percent of his free throws.
After playing too much point guard over his first two seasons, LaVine played 2-guard almost exclusively in 2016-17.
That allowed him to shine off the ball and excel in spot-up situations, as well as running the fast break.
His blend of size at 6-foot-5 and ridiculous hops makes him a specimen at the position.
Why would Chicago pass on extending LaVine?
LaVine unfortunately tore his ACL last February. He’s not expected to be ready for the start of the season.
For a player so dependent on athleticism, how badly will this injury hamper his future productivity?
Apart from the injury, Lavine struggles as a defender and with his overall feel for the game.
The Wolves were 4.3 points per 100 possessions worse when he was on the floor last season.
Could that improve with a change of scenery in Chicago?
What deal makes sense for both parties?
LaVine finally started to reach his full potential last year. And with advances in modern medicine, he should fully recover from the torn ACL soon enough.
Based on those factors, we recommend a four-year, $68 million extension.