Chicago Bulls: Expert lays out Zach LaVine extension scenario

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Will the Chicago Bulls end up extending Zach LaVine before the deadline?

Since they were not one of the 22 teams selected to play in the NBA bubble, the Chicago Bulls got an early start on their official offseason. Already making the most of the season being on hold earlier this year, the Bulls shook up their front office in their first offseason to-do’s.

Coming up, though, they will have some decisions to make. One of the biggest decisions has to be made by November 30th, the deadline for extending eligible players. On October 18th, the Bulls can officially extend Zach LaVine — but will they?

In a recent piece (subscription required) by ESPN’s Bobby Marks, he outlines a little bit of what the Bulls could do with LaVine come that time.

Once upon a time, the Bulls signed LaVine to a 4-year, $78 million deal which now looks like a bargain compared to some of the other contracts being handed out to similar players. All LaVine has done since receiving that deal is continue to improve his game and become the go-to guy in Chicago.

Some argue whether or not he can be that number one player on a playoff team, but he’s had no choice with how poorly the team has been led; whether we’re talking coaching or front office. LaVine has done his part.

This past year, he averaged a career-best 25.5 points per game on 45 percent shooting. He also shot the three ball at a 38 percent clip, but took a career-high eight three-pointers per game. That’s a strong percentage for someone chucking them up at such a high volume.

Come October, when the Bulls can extend LaVine, they are able to offer him a 3-year deal worth $76 million ($25.3 million annual average) — a chunk of an improvement from his last annual average of $19.5 million.

Marks points out in his article, though, that LaVine could choose to decline an extension for multiple reasons. It would hurt Bulls fans, but for LaVine personally, it makes sense.

Sure, the Bulls made a huge change up top with bringing in Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley, but it looks as though they will keep Jim Boylen around a little longer — and that won’t sit well with LaVine.

Just how much longer will LaVine have to deal with Boylen? Is it worth taking a discount to stay in Chicago with this mess of a head coach? LaVine very well could play out his contract and likely earn the same, if not more money, on a much better team.

On the other hand, the Bulls could decide not to extend him and then enter trade discussions next year with one of the league’s best trade chips and expiring contracts.

Trending. Bulls: Reinsdorf won't allow firing Boylen. light

If LaVine accepted the extension Chicago could offer him this fall, he would be doing the Bulls a huge favor. There would be another team which would absolutely offer him more, come free agency of 2022. For now, we’ll see how he handles the coming months and what the team does with Boylen.