CHICAGO — Although he did not rule out resigning with the Chicago Bulls, Zach LaVineI didn't turn down the opportunity to join another team.
The two-time All-Star kept it quiet. Chicago's offseason was dramatic.
Friday's announcement by LaVine was clear. He plans to be an unrestricted, free agent and explore the market for the first time in the course of his career. It was a big decision for LaVine and his family. LaVine, a high-flying guard, insists he's open to new ideas as much as he enjoyed Chicago's five seasons.
He said he would meet up with other teams when the free agency period opens. We have to get to know A through Z and not rush to make decisions. That's what I believe is important for me. [agent Rich Paul]You will be able to experience and go through it.”
Are the Bulls the right team to sign him? LaVine did not make any commitments.
He said, “You guys have been really, really special in my heart.” “I need to make this a business decision and not as a man. It's impossible to look at me one way and assume that I'm either coming back or going away.
The Bulls had a great start to this season, with a 46-36 record. They also made their first playoff appearance since 2017. However, they were hard hit by injuries. LaVine and his guards were among the many who were injured. Lonzo Ball Alex CarusoForward Patrick Williams missing significant stretches. Chicago suffered down the stretch, and was knocked out by the defending NBA champion 4-1 MilwaukeeIn the first round.
LaVine averaged 24.4 ppg in the regular season. In his eighth year, he was on the All-Star Team for the second time and received his first taste in the playoffs. But it wasn't an easy season.
After sustaining a thumb injury early in his career, he was able to return to the lineup with a minor knee injury. He received platelet rich plasma therapy, a cortisone shot and fluid drainage from his knee in Los Angeles prior to the All Star break.
LaVine missed the playoff final game because he had to go through safety and health protocols. After feeling terrible the previous days, he test negative on Friday.
“I must do this as both a business decision and as a man to not be seen one way. It will appear that I'm either automatically returning or leaving.
Zach LaVine: Testing free agency
LaVine stated that he must get his knee to 100% and will have it checked again soon after he returns to Los Angeles.
His $78million contract expiring after four years? The Bulls want him to stay.
“The great thing about us is that we have a good relationship with each other. Arturas Karnisovas, executive vice president of basketball operations, said that he knows what to expect. “We have a very good relationship with him. These two years have been some of the most rewarding for him in his career. We'll be watching to see what happens.
Karnisovas stated that the knee problem will not impact negotiations.
To be eligible for a supermax contract worth $245 million over five year, he would have to be selected All-NBA MVP or Defensive Players of the Year. The Bulls could offer a max contract of more than $210million over five years.
LaVine was not inclined to give the Bulls discounts so they might have more flexibility with their salary-cap.
He stated, “I believe it's important for me that you get paid at what you are valued at.” “I see myself to be a top man in this league. Over the last four years, I believe that I have shown this.”
He believes the Bulls have the potential to be an elite team. Since Karnisovas was hired two-years ago, he has been aggressive in reshaping their roster. Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozanBall, Caruso and drafting Ayo DosunmuA coach for hiring Billy Donovan.
However, injuries made it difficult for them to maintain the consistency they needed to be able to compete with the best in the NBA. The players, as well Karnisovas as Donovan, made this point in the past two day. Resigning LaVine would be an important part of this.
LaVine stated, “I don’t believe Rome was built in one year.” “I don't believe you can be an elite team from the start. Perhaps some teams are. It's hard. It was the first time many of us reached the playoffs. It was a great experience. We were all unable to play together because of injury and COVID. I think this team is great and has the potential for being a championship-caliber one.