NBA rumors: Portland a potential landing spot for Zach LaVine?

Zach LaVine’s return may not be in the bag for the Chicago Bulls as the two-time All-Star approaches unrestricted free agency. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported at the 22:00 mark of his Hoop Collective podcast Tuesday that the initial impression around the NBA was that LaVine was “off the market.” Now, there isn’t as much certainty about him staying in Chicago. Windhorst added that the Portland Trail Blazers have “popped up” as a potential landing spot.

More on Zach LaVine Free Agency

In the NBA, it's rare for long-time friends to get a chance to play on the same team, and it is less likely that, if that does happen, both are star players. But it appears that San Antonio Spurs' guard Dejounte Murray wants that to become a reality. A couple of days ago, Murray had fans in a frenzy when he tweeted a photoshopped image of Zach LaVine in a Spurs uniform. The image has since been deleted but not before Lavine caught wind of it. According to a Tweet from Jon Greenberg of The Athletic, LaVine stated Murray posting him in a Spurs uniform was him "just messing around."
When LaVine was asked by reporters if he plans to re-sign with the Chicago Bulls, he stated he wants to experience free agency. "I plan to enjoy free agency," LaVine told reporters. "We're going to have to experience A through Z without making any fast decisions. I think that's something me and [agent Rich Paul] are going to go through and experience."
That's a lot of dough. And in the opinion of All-Star teammate DeMar DeRozan, LaVine is worth every penny. "Yeah. Max player, max talent, max everything," DeRozan said when asked if LaVine is a max-worthy player after the Bulls' season-ending loss to the Bucks Wednesday night. "He's one of those players in this league that you don't see too often. I tell him all the time how envious I am of the things he's able to do. He deserves everything that's coming to him for sure."
How important is getting into that postseason environment with this group and making a deep run with these guys before your upcoming contract negotiations? Zach LaVine: For me, it's not even about my contract. I'm a competitor. I want to go to the playoffs and play on the big stage. Contract, everything, that all comes. But I look at it day by day. You can't get to April in a day. You're gonna have to play and compete each and every day to get there, and then once the playoffs come, we gotta go do our thing. You know I'm really excited. I'm really excited to be on that stage, because I haven't been there yet.
The Bulls have quickly elevated to the top of the East, with shrewd trades and signings — and keeping LaVine as a rare holdover. This regime keeps its strategy a mystery, but Zach LaVine is making a case for a max contract — which he won’t definitively say but won’t deny, either. “I think we all get what we deserve at the level we play at, for our team and around the league. I think I stack up with everybody at that level,” he said. “We’ll let the chips fall. Is the [max] the goal? I don’t know if it’s the goal, but I should be getting what I deserve. I’ll let them tell me what that is and we’ll go from there.”
He’ll be a free agent in July — an unrestricted free agent. A big playoff run could erase any remaining doubts, if there are any. “Free agency is gonna be a big milestone for me,” LaVine told Yahoo Sports. “It's my first time going into it really being [an] unrestricted free agent. I dealt with it being restricted before so it's a whole new experience. I'm excited for the season with the Bulls. But you know, moving forward, it's gonna be a whole new experience for me.”
That restricted free agency experience sticks with him. He’s not on the Michael Jordan scale of petty or the Scottie Pippen scale of delusion, but he quietly craves the validation. LaVine is eligible for a five-year deal around $200 million this summer if he re-signs with the Bulls — and higher if he makes an All-NBA team. He can get a four-year deal around $160 million if he outright signs with another team. “I remember everything now,” LaVine said, smiling. “I know it's a different front office, a different time. But I'm gonna take it day by day and let my agent handle it. But I remember everything. It's something — I always have a chip on my shoulder for multiple reasons.”
KC Johnson: I’d say every indication I’ve been given both internally from his side and the organization is this is a match made to move forward together. I don’t think you expend the draft capital this regime has doled out in the Vucevic trade and the DeRozan acquisition without doing everything in your power to appease your No. 1 player and to try and win now. We know the Bulls have the ability to pay him more than any other franchise. There’s also not a lot of cap space out there this summer. With the funky situations with Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving, are there some All-NBA spots up for grabs in the backcourt in the league? If he earns that distinction, he’s super-max eligible. There are a million reasons why I think he’s going to be here long-term. He has really embraced being the face of the franchise ever since the Jimmy Butler trade, even when they were bad. He’s always been front and center as the star of the team, always available media-wise, he’s a good representative of the franchise, he loves living in Chicago, he loves the history and legacy of the franchise.
That’s what matters now more than anything for LaVine — getting wins. Will victories influence him to want to stay with the Bulls or will he look to go elsewhere? Talk for another day. “I wouldn’t even be worried about my contract situation,’’ LaVine said. “I’m worried about Game 1 and seeing where it goes from there. When that time comes, we’ll see what happens and go from there, but I’m worried about the Bulls’ season right now.’’
Even if the Bulls fail to make the playoffs again, he is still a good bet to re-sign with them given how little cap space there is elsewhere. Vucevic is also currently eligible for an extension worth up to three years, $85.5 million. He can only sign it during the offseason.
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.
The Bulls’ offseason overhaul couldn’t have come at a better time, as Zach LaVine is on the final year of his contract with an extension yet to be signed. But if it were up to LaVine himself, he’s reportedly all-in on staying in the Windy City. That’s according to ESPN Chicago radio analyst David Kaplan, who’s heard from sources that the All-Star doesn’t want to go anywhere. Via ESPN 1000 FM: “He has told people that I know: ‘Hey man, if they want me here, I’m not going anywhere. I’m building this thing. I’m the first guy in the door. I wanna be part of this.'”
What is your take on the Zach LaVine FA rumors in 2022? How realistic is it for the Celtics financially and roster wise? Thanks, Jeff. Brian Robb: LaVine is a name that has been floated for a little bit as a potential target for Boston if Bradley Beal elects to stay put in Washington. His age and position do line up fairly well among Boston’s current group, however, there are some significant obstacles in any pursuit of the shooting guard during the next year.
A potential Celtics free agent target could be Chicago’s Zach LaVine, who is entering the final year of his contract. He will have to prove he can lead the Bulls to the playoffs before a contract extension. LaVine changed representation recently and signed with Klutch Sports, which is usually the move for players who want to maximize their free agent potential. LaVine, 26, just coming off helping Team USA to the gold medal, will ask for a maximum contract in the open market. The Olympic experience may have enhanced LaVine’s value because he was asked to be a three-and-D player, sparking the Americans with his full-court defense and ability to run the floor. In the case that Bradley Beal decides to stay in Washington, LaVine could be the Celtics’ No. 1 target. The Bulls, who added DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball in the offseason, have full intentions to be a factor in the Eastern Conference .
In the case that Bradley Beal decides to stay in Washington, LaVine could be the Celtics’ No. 1 target. The Bulls, who added DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball in the offseason, have full intentions to be a factor in the Eastern Conference
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.

http://twitter.com/rob_schaef/status/1422157928094707712
The Sun-Times, as well as several other media outlets, reported at the start of the 2020-21 campaign that it was important for LaVine to be given max money moving forward. However, there are several sources who said that might not be the case any longer, as adding key role players around him could persuade LaVine to give the Bulls a slight discount.
"That's why them getting Vooch was a really big deal," an Eastern Conference executive said. "Players want to get paid, just like we all do. But they also want to win, and guys like Zach have been around the block long enough to know they can't win in this league by themselves. LeBron's the best to do it, and he couldn't win it all by himself. Even he needed help." The exec added, "Them getting Vooch sent a clear message to Zach that yes, Chicago is serious about trying to put together a winner here and now."
According to a source, LaVine is not only looking for All-Star respect, but financial respect when the time comes. The two sides could have inked a team-friendly three-year, $76-million deal before this season started, but moved on from it. What the organization has to ask themselves is do they want to commit $30-$35 million per year for a player that has elite scoring ability at the guard spot, but enough deficiencies in the rest of his game where he doesn’t translate into an alpha on a championship team?
Malika Andrews: It’s official: Zach LaVine inks his deal with the Bulls. pic.twitter.com/FHQfChnnux
Zach LaVine knows what you've been saying. He's got Twitter and Instagram, too. He knows you're hatin' on his defense, his choice of shots, his money; oh, so much of it with the reported $78 million/four-year contract offer from the Sacramento Kings which the Bulls Saturday matched to retain the restricted free agent. Zach says he's gotten flack like that before. And flown through it without a scratch. He will again, he promises. "People (are going) to put their own opinions on things, or everybody on social media, they try to judge you," LaVine told reporters Sunday night in Las Vegas in his first comments since the contract with the Bulls became official. "I'm my hardest critic. There's nothing that any of you (media) guys can say to me that I (don't) take harder upon myself. I go back and critique my game every year. I'm used to people sleeping on me, and I'm also used to waking them up as well. I'm happy that I have this contract, and I'm happy that I have a little extra motivation to go out there and prove it to some people that don't believe in me. At the end of the day, I believe in myself, I believe in my work, and I'm going to show the city of Chicago it's a good choice and I'm here to stay. I'm going to be their guy, and I'm ready to do whatever to help this team get back to that (championship) spot."
Nick Friedell: Hoiberg on if Bulls have to mend relationship with LaVine after frustration he had to sign offer sheet with Kings. "Listen Zach's a great kid, he's a great teammate. We're going to move forward with the direction with this young group of guys that Zach's a huge part of obviously"
Sitting courtside at the Thomas & Mack Center before the Kings’ Las Vegas Summer League game against the Suns, Divac told the Tribune that LaVine, 23, has star potential that justified the lucrative offer and that he wasn’t concerned about a torn ACL that limited LaVine to 47 games with the Timberwolves in 2016-17 and 24 with the Bulls last season. “Zach is a very talented kid,” Divac said. “He works hard. I see him as one of the future elite shooting guards in this league. Before the injury, he showed a lot of progression. Now I believe he’s back where he was.”
The Bulls, who have two days to match it if they want to retain him, have made LaVine a contract offer, but sources say it's not nearly as strong as the Kings'. "I'm disappointed that I had to get an offer sheet from another team," LaVine, 23, told The Undefeated. "But Sacramento stepped up and made a strong impression. It appears that Sacramento wants me more than Chicago."
A source said LaVine will take up the remaining Kings salary cap space available if his signing becomes official, but the franchise will still have flexibility to make more free agency moves next summer. The Seattle native debuted with the Bulls last season after recovering from left ACL surgery. The Kings are confident that LaVine is fully healthy and recovered him his knee injury, a source said.
Shams Charania: RFA Zach LaVine has agreed to a four-year, $80M offer sheet with the Sacramento Kings, league sources tell Yahoo. The Chicago Bulls have 48 hours to match.
The Kings have been linked to restricted free agents such as Milwaukee's Jabari Parker and Chicago's Zach LaVine, but nothing has come of the speculation. The Kings have expressed a level of interest in both, a league source said, but a deal would require the Kings to reshape their roster that has a lot of young players they'd like to develop.
Adrian Wojnarowski: "The restricted free agent market is just decimated. I don't know where these guys are going to get their money. The one hope is Zach LaVine and Sacramento - they've been pretty serious about doing that and maybe he can get an offer sheet from them."
The Bulls absolutely want to re-sign LaVine and Nwaba — and on multiyear deals. But management also wants to do so on deals that make fiscal sense long term. It’s believed the Bulls’ preferred annual salary for LaVine is in the $14 million-$16 million range.

https://twitter.com/AlexKennedyNBA/status/1013255163300204544
Nick Friedell: From Bulls perspective on LaVine, 4 yrs for $60 mil has always felt like preferred number to them. At 23, nobody is sure what kind of player he'll become. If I'm the Bulls I'm not going too much higher than that because I'm still not convinced he's worth that big of an investment
Jason Jones: Couple of free agency notes on the Kings (as of now): *Priority is small forward, team sees Jabari Parker as a PF and not a good fit. *Love LaVine's talent, but would have to move Hield and/or Bogdanovic to make a serious run at him. *A stretch 4 would be ideal at some point
The Bulls, who are expected to offer LaVine a multiyear deal at an annual salary lower than he is seeking, would almost certainly match that. But the Kings could make additional moves to clear more cap space and come closer to the max deal of four years and roughly $108 million that a rival team can offer LaVine. Such an offer could give the Bulls pause.
Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports joined Chris Mannix on the Chris Mannix Show to begin discussing free agency and said the executives around the league largely expect the Magic to match any offer for Gordon — even a max offer sheet. “I think both teams are aware they need to go to max numbers for them,” Charania says about the impending free agency for Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine. “But the question is will they make them go get a sheet. The sentiment I’ve gotten is if Zach LaVine goes and gets a max, we have too much invested in them. Same with Aaron Gordon.”
One dicey topic remains: the pending contract negotiations with soon-to-be restricted free agent Zach LaVine. And Paxson wasn’t in a position to clear things up. “Well, the market dictates a lot and how things go,’’ Paxson said. “I think the market has tightened up a little bit the last couple of years since the spike. We obviously value Zach a lot, and we think he’s a part of our future, but he has the opportunity to explore things. “Gar will get with his agent at the appropriate time and begin discussions about that, and it will play out the way it will play out. But we think he fits the direction we’re going, and we have great faith in his ability that he’ll have a great summer in terms of his work and his improvement as a player, and we’ll see. It’s up in the air and not defined yet, but we’ll do it the way we feel is right, and we’ll have good communication with Zach and his agent.’’
Paxson’s right about the situation not being “defined’’ publicly. Privately, things haven’t gotten contentious, but both sides have their feet firmly planted.
“I’m not stressed at all. Whatever the number is or terms they’re going to come to, it will happen. That’s why I have great agents. And we have respect, communication and understanding with the front office (so) we’ll let that work itself out. “I can’t let it get to me. It’s not going to. I have to prepare myself for next year and be ready to take on a bigger role and help the team get better.”
But does LaVine think he’s worth the max? “There are things you work for,” LaVine answered diplomatically. “Max players are top of the line. There are a lot of dudes in the NBA who haven’t been top of the line because of money situations or the cap is bigger or a weird offseason.
“You are what you’re worth. Obviously, you can’t say no to getting one. I see myself being an elite player in this league. I’m going to work for that every day until I get there.”
LaVine also won’t let himself feel rushed to cram a season’s worth of achievement into 29 games. He won’t necessarily be negotiating this summer from a position of strength in restricted free agency, but between his ongoing potential and established work habits, he believes business will take care of itself. Most likely right where he’s at in Chicago. “Whatever happens is going to happen. I have no fear in that,” LaVine said. “It’s unfortunate I had the injury. I was in a good spot in Minnesota, the team was picking it up at that time. But that’s part of the game – injuries happen – and one way or another, I’ll get a contract sooner or later. That doesn’t worry me at all. I know my play and my hard work and dedication will take care of that.
Nick Friedell: Zach LaVine reiterated that he expects to be a Bull for a long time. Confident he will get a deal done this summer.
KC Johnson: Zach LaVine said it’s “fine” he and Bulls didn’t reach rookie contract extension. “I know I’m going to be in black and red for a long time.”
Vincent Goodwill: On taking contact: "It's been here and there."
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August 13, 2022 | 2:04 am EDT Update

Kevin Durant, James Harden back on good terms

ClutchPoints: “From what I’m told, the two former teammates are back on good terms now despite [James] Harden forcing his way out of Brooklyn.” @ramonashelburne on the Sixers’ reported interest in trading for Kevin Durant.

Grant Williams addresses Jaylen Brown trade rumors

After speaking with children during the Jr. Celtics camp, Grant Williams was asked how he felt about the trade rumors involving Brown. Williams responded by talking about the business side of the NBA while also praising Brown’s mindset and value as a player. “I feel like JB is mature in his mindset, and he knows that. I talk to him, texted him, reach out of as often as I can. It’s one of those things. It’s the league. It’s a business. It’s one of those things that you can’t be discouraged by because we love JB. It also shows how valuable he is.”
Obviously, Durant is one of the greatest players of all time. Williams explained that Brown having his name mentioned as the potential centerpiece in a deal for Durant just shows how great the Celtics star is. “It kind of shows how valuable he is. The fact that, top-10 player in the world, you’re the focal point. It’s one of those things, I remember, back in the day with Al Jefferson and KG [Kevin Garnett]. It’s one of those things where you’re like, ‘oh dang, Al Jefferson.’ It’s not even like a difference,” said Williams.
“I think he’s going to approach it even better. He’s going to take it with a competitive mindset, too. So, if it doesn’t work out, which, I don’t know what it is or not, I’m not involved in none of those processes,” stated Williams. “But I think that he’s going to come back with a chip on his shoulder, and I love that. Because I know how JB responds, and he’s going to be very, very, very, very secure because he’s secure of himself and he’s secure of what he’s going to be.”
Green then admitted that it’s usually him who takes the high road. Curry and Thompson don’t always clap back, so when they do, Dray knows that he has to take a step back in order to avoid an escalation: “That’s just not how we roll,” Green said. “So I usually do the majority of the talking most the time. It either leads to us having a conversation and discussing what I think and what they think and how we can figure it out. If it’s in a heated battle, a heat-of-the-moment situation and I’m like ‘Klay stop shooting the ball’ and he cuss and yell back, then we just keep it pushing and I run on and he run on. Or if I say something to Steph and he gets mad and snaps back every two blue moons then he says something back and I just run off and go about my day.”

Dwyane Wade on Heat Big 3: 'The hate was because of our skin color'

It was at this point where Wade decided to drop a shocking truth bomb about how the hatred for the Heat was racially motivated: “We knew that some of the hate was because of our skin color,” he claimed. “Because of being Black men and deciding to control the fate of our careers. … So, when we had the power, when we had the moment, we took it. But some of the hate came because we were three Black guys who decided and changed the way that the NBA probably would ever be because of that decision.”
Dwyane Wade recently made a guest appearance on JJ Redick’s The Old Man & The Three podcast, and it was an opportunity for the Heat icon to get brutally honest with his thoughts on why their Big 3 garnered so much hate. Wade was quick to point out that the way they teamed up to win a title wasn’t much different from how other iconic teams did it in the past (h/t ClutchPoints on Twitter): “If you think about it, no one gives backlash to any championships that Larry Bird won, that Magic Johnson won, that Michael Jordan won,” Wade said. “… You don’t win championships without playing with other guys that are great, first of all.”
Clutch Points: Brandon Jennings has some thoughts on the state of today’s NBA… 🤔 Jennings mentions that he feels Chris Paul and LeBron James were among those who contributed to turning the NBA into a “player’s league,” which has hurt the league. (via @Tuff__Crowd) pic.twitter.com/0fKrdStGsK