Bulls guard Zach LaVine wants ‘respect,’ but at what price to his team?
Speaking from Tokyo on Monday, LaVine talked about a pending contract extension and also free agency for the Bulls.
Zach LaVine wants his “respect.’’
“Respect,’’ however, might come at an uncomfortable price.
Speaking to the media via Zoom from the Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Monday morning, the Bulls guard — who has spent the last month also moonlighting for Team USA — was asked about free agency and how it could affect his pending contract extension.
“I just want my respect,’’ LaVine said. “I think that’s the main thing. I outplayed my [current] contract, I’ve been very loyal to Chicago, I like Chicago. I just want my respect. If it’s now, later, it’s something that we gotta work out internally and we’ll go from there.
“We’ll have some conversations going forward. I think free agency’s going to play a big part in that with other players and constructing the roster. But me, AK [executive vice president of basketball operations Artūras Karnišovas], [general manager] Marc [Eversley] all talk and we’ll get to the bottom of it.’’
Starting with a bottom line on LaVine’s value to the franchise, and the current options on the table to keep LaVine as a foundation piece moving forward.
The best financial scenario for the Bulls?
LaVine agrees to a max extension right now, which would be a raise of 120% of his 2020-21 salary. That means LaVine gets $105 million over four years, beginning in the 2022-23 season. He wears the title of max player, but leaves the Bulls flexibility to build around his flaws.
The best financial scenario for LaVine?
The first-time All-Star plays out the final season of his current deal, and then is offered a five-year max at 30% of the salary cap. He would be an unrestricted free agent and could walk, but the Bulls can offer him the most money.
The danger for the Bulls would be if LaVine earns All-NBA honors in 2021-22, making him eligible for the “supermax,’’ and a deal in the neighborhood of $235 million over five years.
They didn’t want to do that for a two-way standout in Jimmy Butler back in 2017, so it would be strange to see them agree on a deal like that for a player that is still a work in progress on the defensive end.
The third option is to renegotiate LaVine’s contract for next season, which is at $19.5 million, and then do an extension off that new number.
But while the LaVine scenarios are each being juggled, free agency officially begins at 5 p.m. today, and the Bulls also have to take adding talent around LaVine into consideration. They are looking to clear salary space to be players in the market, and renegotiating LaVine’s current deal would make that even messier.