Latest posts by Ashish Mathur (see all)
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CHICAGO — Bulls guard Zach LaVine will be a restricted free agent this offseason and is expected to look for a max contract.
As a restricted free agent, LaVine can sign an offer sheet with another team and then the Bulls have to decide if they want to match the offer or not.
While the Bulls may still lock up LaVine and bring him back to the Windy City, the near universal support LaVine once had internally isn’t there anymore, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell.
Bulls may still lock up restricted free agent Zach LaVine this summer — but as an organization the near universal support LaVine once had internally isn't there anymore. Bulls will wait to see if he can find big $$$ elsewhere first and then decide if they want to match.
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) June 22, 2018
LaVine was acquired by the Bulls last summer 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.
“There were many times last season where some of the front office members thought he [LaVine] was entitled,” a league source told Amico Hoops. “They didn’t see the work ethic and leadership traits from him that they wanted him to display. Both him and Kris [Dunn] have a lot of maturing to do.”
LaVine was once thought to be the centerpiece in the Butler trade, but Lauri Markkanen exceeded expectations in his rookie season and the Bulls are focused on building around him, rather than LaVine.
The Bulls were 27-55 in 2017-18. They drafted Duke big man Wendell Carter Jr. with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft and Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison with the 22nd pick.