Bulls prepared 'to do what it will take' to sign LaVine originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
With the NBA draft in the rearview mirror, leaguewide attention shifts to free agency. And in the Chicago Bulls' world, there's no bigger free agent than Zach LaVine.
Echoing previous comments from team president Michael Reinsdorf and executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas, general manager Marc Eversley expressed confidence that the Bulls will be able to retain the two-time All-Star guard.
"We’re prepared to do what it will take to bring Zach back in the fold and be a Chicago Bull," Eversley said Thursday after the Bulls selected Arizona wing Dalen Terry with the 18th overall pick. "We look forward to sitting down with Zach and Rich Paul and talking about what the future will look like for Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls."
That answer, which referenced LaVine's agent in Paul, came in response to a direct question about whether the Bulls are prepared to offer LaVine a maximum contract. The Bulls not only can offer LaVine an extra fifth year of salary that other teams can't but also higher annual raises. A full, five-year maximum contract offer from the Bulls would be worth roughly $212 million, while a rival offer would be for four years and roughly $157 million.
"Zach, two-time All-Star, he's an Olympian, he's been a terrific Chicago Bull thus far," Eversley said. "It's our every intention to bring him back. We're excited about the opportunity to sit down and talk to him. We feel like he'll be excited to sit down and talk with us. And we're looking forward to that day."
Eversley said he's unsure if LaVine will go through the unrestricted free agency process and engage with other teams or verbally accept the Bulls' offer when free agency opens on June 30. LaVine previously said he planned to enter the process with "eyes wide open," which caused speculation around the league that LaVine might be able to be pried away from the Bulls.
But the list of teams with max salary cap space are non-playoff teams, and LaVine's ability to land on a contender with a rich contract would take intricate wheeling and dealing via a sign-and-trade. Much of the speculation that centered on LaVine possibly leaving has died away, and most league observers expect LaVine to remain with the Bulls.