Bulls ‘excited’ to bring LaVine back long-term

The Chicago Bulls officially matched the Sacramento Kings’ four-year, $78 million offer sheet for guard Zach LaVine Sunday morning and head coach Fred Hoiberg is excited for the high-flyer to have a full summer of training ahead of his second season in the Windy City.

LaVine was acquired by the Bulls last offseason from the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Jimmy Butler trade. He played in 24 games after missing majority of the season recovering from left ACL surgery and averaged 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists, shooting 38.3 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from 3-point range.

“I think we’re all very excited about Zach coming back as a Bull and being here long-term,” Hoiberg said. “He’s 23-years-old, he’s got as good of athleticism as anybody in this league. He shoots the ball easy, I think he’s going to be in great shape coming off a full summer where he’s (playing) basketball as opposed to rehab. So we’re going to be in a good place heading into the season with hopefully a full complement of healthy players.”

LaVine’s new contract includes language that protects the Bulls in case his surgically repaired knee develops further complications. The scoring guard told ESPN’s The Undefeated he was “disappointed that I had to get an offer sheet from another team” and hinted that the Kings wanted him more than the Bulls.

Hoiberg, however, shot down the idea that there might be any lasting tension between the Bulls and LaVine.

“Zach is a great kid,” Hoiberg said. “He is a great teammate and we are going to move forward with a direction with this young group of guys that Zach is a huge part of, obviously. Now that he has a taste and feel for how we want to play, to have that full summer leading into training camp this year is very important. We feel that we are further ahead of the game than we were last year because of the fact that we have a good group of guys coming back that have been in the system.”

LaVine took to Twitter to express his joy of returning to the Bulls: