Basketball

Zach LaVine Has Options – What’s Next For Chi-Towns Finest?

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As of late, there have been reports that guard Zach LaVine wants out of the Chicago Bulls organization. This is discouraging news for any bulls fan as Lavine displayed his importance to the team throughout the past three seasons.

LaVine’s performance assisted the bulls to 15 more wins compared to their 2020-21 record. Chicago also managed a playoff birth but was quickly eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks in a five-game series. LaVine finished 2nd in team scoring this season after averaging 24.4 points per game. Known for his athletic ability, many of those points came from gravity-defying dunks.

At 27 years old, LaVine is old enough to be considered a seasoned veteran and young enough for organizations to build around. Unable to ignore LaVine’s talent and upside, Chicago is still interested in renewing his contract.

Potential Contracts

Despite being ranked the number one free agent this coming offseason, Chicago is still uncertain about presenting LaVine with a max contract. A max contract with the Bulls would constitute $212 million over five years. Offering that amount of money to LaVine would give Chicago the upper hand compared to other teams around the league.

Teams looking to pursue LaVine as a free agent can offer him a maximum of $160 million for four years. A considerable amount of Chicago’s uncertainty stems from a knee injury sustained in January. After playing only three minutes against Golden State, LaVine was sidelined for 10 games. Even after his return to play, his knee continued to cause discomfort and limited mobility.

Following Chicago’s season, LaVine underwent arthroscopic surgery. With LaVine’s longevity in question, a max contract offer from Chicago seems unlikely. It appears that other teams around the league do not share the same concern. Interested teams may have to give more than just money to have LaVine on their roster next season.

Sign and Trade Options

Although there are many teams in the NBA that could be interested in acquiring LaVine, there are three likely landing spots this season.

The most interesting trade would pair LaVine with Luka Doncic and Christian Wood in Dallas. A projected trade would have the Dallas Mavericks trading a plethora of talent, including Reggie Bullock and Spencer Dinwiddie. Having LaVine on the roster would give Dallas a legitimate big three.

The San Antonio Spurs are the second option concerning a sign and trade for LaVine. A trade with San Antonio would give Chicago Keldon Johnson, Zach Collins, and a 2024 first overall draft pick. Playing in San Antonio would provide LaVine the opportunity to become the number one option once again. LaVine would also be playing alongside a premier young talent in Dejounte Murray.

San Antonio’s lack of depth could provide as a deterant for LaVine.

Lastly, the Portland Trailblazers could put together a package for LaVine. Damian Lillard will continue to be Portland’s primary scoring option while LaVine provides the high caliber offense that Lillard’s missing. Portland’s trade package would include a future first round pick and Anfernee Simmons or Josh Hart. Each of these trade would be beneficial for Chicago and LaVine.

My Prediction

While the options for Lavine’s future are unpredictable, I believe that he will resign with the Chicago Bulls this offseason. Even though he will be reviewing offers from other teams, the Bull’s ability to offer over $200 million will persuade him to reconsider.

If Lavine faces irresolvable issues, he could request a trade in the future. The Bulls would also benefit from having LaVine on the roster, as they are quickly becoming a championship contender. Although Chicago made the playoffs, their record did not reflect the capabilities of the team. LaVine’s presence next year could push Chicago even further into the playoff picture.


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