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 | 5:47 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.”
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.
August 9, 2022 | 3:12 pm EDT Update
RTG Features (Alaskan Nets) and MSM (The Last Dance) have tapped David Charles Rodrigues (Neymar: The Perfect Chao) to direct a new feature doc about the high-scoring NBA trio of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin —collectively known as Run TMC— and how they set the stage for the present-day dynasty of the world-champion Golden State Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Billed as “the most fun fun sports doc of all time”, the as-yet-untitled feature will be a three-man weave combining basketball, hip-hop, the Bay Area and late-’80s/early-’90s nostalgia. Mason Gordon will produce for MSM, with RTG Features acting as the studio. 2022 Emmy nominees Coodie & Chike (Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy) developed the film in partnership with RTG and will serve as executive producers.