Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA, owners and front offices didn’t see this wave of player boycotts coming today. Hours ago, they all expected to be playing these games tonight. This is a pivot point for the NBA and professional sports in North America.
May 25, 2022 | 1:32 pm EDT Update
It is a lot of smoke, but no fire, yet. And you’ve got to hand it to the behind-the-scenes folks: They’ve created some late-spring entertainment, some buzz around Zach LaVine. In the end, make no mistake, though. Most expect LaVine back in Chicago. “Business as usual,” one Eastern Conference general manager said. “The Bulls can give him more money. They can give him a chance to go to the playoffs every year. If he is not the No. 1 option, he is 1A and that is going to be the case in just about any place he goes if he is serious about leaving. Portland is out there as a possibility for him, and if he leaves, that is the only place where it would make any sense. But would he shoot more than Damian Lillard there? Of course not. It’s a lateral move, or even a step down a bit.”
“A lot of this is coming from the agents, where they want to not only get him paid but raise his profile at the same time,” one league source told Heavy.com. “That is their M.O. The more drama in the process, the better. No one was talking about Zach. Now everyone is. Mission accomplished.”
The agents mentioned are those from Klutch Sports, which has star clients like LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Trae Young and, yes, LaVine’s Bulls teammate, Lonzo Ball. The latest round of chatter around LaVine likely has more to do with Klutch angling to make sure that LaVine keeps his old as the top Bulls star going forward. That’s likely to be the case without this wave of late-May drama, given that DeRozan turns 33 in August and is not likely to repeat the kind of season he just put forth, with a career-high in scoring (27.9 points) and the second-best shooting (50.4%) of his career. “It is still Zach’s team,” the NBA source said. “Klutch just wants to make sure everyone knows it.”