And right now, he’s slated to be one of the marquee free agents on the market next season and will likely be a name discussed regularly in the coming months depending on whether the Bulls meet expectations. “I can’t control any of those narratives, any of those thoughts or opinions,” LaVine said about what is sure to be a season of rumors. “What I can control is what I do on the court. That’s what I do best, I take care of business. I’ll come into camp ready to be a good teammate and be a better leader every day and help my team win. I think that shows my value and I’ll let my business part speak for itself when the time comes.”
Zach LaVine was excited by the Chicago Bulls' aggressive offseason, but says this season is crucial in determining the direction for the team and himself as he enters the final season of his contract. "At the end of the day it's a business," LaVine told ESPN on Thursday. "They did what was best for the team and I will continue to go out there and do what's best for the team as well. This season going forward is going to be extremely crucial not just for me but for everybody. Winning would take care of everything."
The Bulls and LaVine did have extension discussions before free agency, sources said, but they did not find common ground. Instead Chicago executed sign-and-trade deals for Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan and signed Alex Caruso as a free agent last month, spending nearly $200 million as they look to break a four-year playoff drought.
"It showed they're all in to win and we're transforming the team to be competitive," said LaVine, who has never played in the playoffs in seven seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Bulls. "We have a whole new team ... we're going to hit the ground running. I was very happy with the offseason."
Vincent Goodwill: Bulls guard Zach LaVine to @YahooSports on the Bulls not extending him this offseason: "It's business...I have a lot of different motivations in my life I try to use on the court." pic.twitter.com/d0a8CPyi07
Zach LaVine is eligible for a contract extension with the Chicago Bulls in the next few days. He reiterated Monday that he wants to be rewarded for his All-Star level of play but will work with the team's front office as it looks to use cap space for new talent. "I just want my respect, that's the main thing," LaVine said Monday after practice ahead of Team USA's quarterfinal game against Spain set for Tuesday. "I outplayed my contract. I've been very loyal to Chicago. I like Chicago. I just want my respect. If that's now or later, it's something we've got to work out internally."
LaVine, 26, has one season left on his contract at $19.5 million. The Bulls are limited in how much they can extend for him based on that number, which at most would come out to a deal that could reach up to $105 million over four years. That figure, however, is likely below LaVine's market value. It is likely the only way LaVine would agree to an extension now, sources said, is if the Bulls invoke a rarely used provision where they can use cap space to increase LaVine's salary for the upcoming season and then build a new extension off that number. A so-called "renegotiation and extension."
Rob Schaefer: Zach LaVine on what he’s conveyed to Bulls about a potential extension. If Bulls decide to take route to cap space, pursuing upgrades through free agency or renegotiating + extending LaVine’s current contract are two options on table.
Do you have a preference whether that gets done this offseason or next offseason? Zach LaVine: With me, I try to let my agent handle everything. But as long as it gets done, I'll be happy. I mean, obviously, I want to be with the Bulls and you don't want to implicate, you know, free agency, and I understand, like the cap room that goes into it with a sizable extension with me. So, I want the team to be good, but then I also want to be taken care of as well. I feel like I've done really well by the Bulls, and obviously I want to be here long-term, and I feel like I deserve what I get. So, it is what it is. We'll figure (it) out when that comes. If it's this year, next year, we'll just see what happens.
The contract that’s about to expire is the four-year, $78 million offer sheet you signed with the Kings in 2018 that the Bulls later matched. It’s safe to say you’ve outperformed that deal. Does that add to your sentiment of making sure you get what you "deserve” in this next deal? Zach LaVine: I always add things that give fuel to the fire. When I signed the offer sheet, obviously, I was coming off a torn ACL, and you have to go out and get an offer sheet. That made me go out here and want to prove to everybody that — one, I'm gonna be better than what I was when I got traded here, and two, I'm better than the contract that I was given.
Zach LaVine: Now, I think I outplayed it. I think my numbers have said for the last four years that I outplayed that contract. I think I was one of the only guys that were in the top 20 in scoring for the last four years that was getting paid under $20 million. I think I might be the only player in the entire NBA like that, besides the guys in their rookie contract. So we'll see what happens. I think I understand where I'm at as a player and what I deserve. And I think the Bulls do as well. It just depends on when we want to do it.
Tim Reynolds: Zach LaVine says he expects his contract situation with the Bulls "will play out the right way" and that they'll be in talks soon. I'd guess it won't take, uh, max time to figure this one out.
Rob Schaefer: Arturas Karnisovas on Zach LaVine's extension eligibility: "Everything is going to go day-by-day. Obviously, we’re looking forward to talking to Zach in the future." Highlighted his improvements this season, but said everyone needs to do more.
Convincing Zach LaVine the Bulls are building a playoff contender is important when you consider the 26-year-old's "big focus" coming into the season was to get Chicago into the playoffs. That's why rival executives anticipate the Bulls will try to lock up LaVine with a contract extension (he will make $19.5 million this season and next) but know he'll likely let his deal lapse, become an unrestricted free agent and sign what will be a more lucrative multiyear max pact.
KC Johnson: Paxson on LaVine's play and upcoming negotiations: "We anticipated he'd have ups and downs."
KC Johnson: Paxson: "We need Zach LaVine to be a better basketball player." Said Dunn and Markkanen have to put work in to improve this summer too.
Jeff Zillgitt: NBA rookie extension scorecard: No extensions for Jabari Parker, Zach LaVine, Aaron Gordon, I'm told. Extensions: Wiggins, Warren, Harris.
The good news is that the Timberwolves will need to make only one phone call for extension dialogue with Wiggins and LaVine because they have the same representative in agent Bill Duffy. But the players have different circumstances. LaVine is recovering from right ACL surgery in mid-February, and the Timberwolves need to measure their comfort level in giving Wiggins a max-level contract.
So the Wolves’ primary focus will be on free-agent acquisitions and making decisions on whether to extend third-year players Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. Those two are under contract through the 2018-19 season, but in those seasons they would be restricted free agents, and it might be smarter to try and get extensions done now. “We might have to address Wiggins and Zach during this summer to extend their contracts but we could wait two years and Towns would be one year after that,” Taylor said. “It’s something we can start negotiating with them this year but we don’t have to.”
August 9, 2022 | 6:25 pm EDT Update
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the meeting took place this past Saturday, and Kevin Durant indicated that he could stay with Brooklyn if general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash were no longer there. Understandably, peers of Marks and Nash were not happy. “I get that players have more power these days, but I think it’s a little too far if he’s out here trying to get Steve fired,” said one coach, who was quickly reminded of Magic Johnson’s fingerprints on Paul Westhead’s firing back in November of 1981 and other power plays, some of which may well have been justified.
The head of basketball ops from another club was similarly displeased. “Livid,” he said. “Livid. He and Kyrie (Irving) basically told Sean they were coming (as free agents in 2019), and Sean did pretty much everything they wanted after that. Signing DeAndre Jordan for four years? That’s something Kyrie and KD wanted. Getting James Harden? Then getting a guy who should be a perfect complement to them (Ben Simmons) when Harden wanted out? Sean did all that.”
However, when asked if he would welcome Durant to his own club should he be attainable at a fair price, the exec paused and laughed. “Well … ” he said. “OK, you got me there. But, see, that’s the part of this that will always be hard for some people to grasp. I’m talking about the fans who just see the players as employees. These guys are not interchangeable parts. You can’t just plug in someone else to do what KD does.”
Marc Stein: Dallas plans to hire former NBA swingman Marko Milič — Slovenia’s first NBA player — to join the coaching staff in player development, league sources confirm. Milič obviously knows Luka Dončić well and played with Jason Kidd in Phoenix. More NBA from me: marcstein.Substack.com
Detroit Pistons center Kelly Olynyk is a married man! The basketball star, 31, wed his longtime love Jackie McNulty, 31, in a traditional, yet playful, outdoor ceremony at Sunstone Winery in Santa Ynez, California Saturday, as personal guests of the winery’s owners.