CHICAGO – With free agency just a few days away, the focus for Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley starts with one of their own.
Zach LaVine enters unrestricted free agency officially on Thursday at 5 PM central time with the opportunity to talk to other teams about what possibilities could be out there for him. Yet the prevailing thought is that the guard, who has emerged as an All-Star over the past five years in Chicago, will find his way back to the Bulls even with outside overtures.
The Bulls can offer him the max contract of $212 million over five seasons, and it seems like the team is more than willing to do it. Karnisovas said so at his end of season news conference and Eversley reinforced it during his news conference after the draft on Thursday.
Once again, even at an event that was to welcome Dalen Terry officially to the Bulls, the question about LaVine’s future in Chicago came up on Monday. Once again, the thought didn’t change for a member of the Bulls’ brass just 72 hours ahead of free agency.
“We’ve been very open that we hope that Zach is here for a long time, and nothing changed,” said Karnisovas when asked about LaVine and the desire for team to bring him back.
There’s a reason for that considering that the guard has made the All-Star Game the last two seasons while averaging over 20 points the last four years. LaVine fought through knee issues the entire 2021-2022 season yet still played 67 games with a 24.4 point, 4.6 rebound, and 4.5 assist average as the Bulls made the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.
LaVine had a scope procedure on his troublesome left knee in the offseason and Karnisovas was asked if he was confident to give him a full five-year contract to the guard after that. Naturally, he didn’t waiver in his faith in the two-time All-Star.
“I think he’s going to be healthy and I think he’s now progressing great,” said Karnisovas. “Like I said, looking forward to free agency.”
If he has anything to say about it, that will be a quick one for LaVine before he returns to the place he’s been the last five years.