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.”
May 8, 2021 | 8:15 pm EDT Update
It sure sounded as if Vildoza, currently in Spain, won’t be activated for the playoffs. Sources said Thibodeau was on board with the signing of the Spanish League combo guard, even if he never has seemed overly enthusiastic about overseas players. According to sources, getting through immigration amid the COVID-19 pandemic will be a process, but Vildoza will join the team in New York once he’s cleared by government officials.
Josh Robbins: The Magic have listed Wendell Carter Jr. (eye abrasion) as questionable to play Sunday against the Timberwolves. Listed as out are Michael Carter-Williams, James Ennis, Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, Chuma Okeke, Otto Porter Jr. and Terrence Ross.
Scott Agness: Pacers forward JaKarr Sampson, who suffered a concussion on Apr. 29 from a Blake Griffin elbow, is back on the bench with the team for the first time (not in uniform). That’s a good sign.