CHICAGO – Remember when he caused a bit of a stir when he said that he would enjoy all that came with the unrestricted free agent process?
Some might have wondered if Zach LaVine would really look elsewhere to continue his basketball career, but most doubted it.
The guard was one of those people.
“Chicago’s my home,” said LaVine on Monday when asked about the main reason he agreed to a new five-year deal less than 24 hours after the start of free agency. “I’ve been here for five years, and over the last two or three, built something.”
LaVine will continue to do so on the new contract that will pay him over $215 million dollars as the key piece to the building of a championship contender under executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley.
The two-time All-Star was eager to do so, even though he said that he would be open to talking to other teams once free agency opened up. Instead, LaVine talked to just the Bulls based on the offer from the team along with his fit with the franchise.
“I went into the offseason with an open mind and I laid out my goals, just like I always have,” said LaVine. “Once I was able to meet with Marc and AK, and they came to me with everything that I wanted, there was no other reason for me to go outside and look at any other team. I think that would have been, for me, disrespectful on my end because they gave me everything I asked for.
“Everything on the table that I looked at had Chicago as all the pros.”
Not only did they have money but LaVine has invested a lot of his career into the Bulls. He dealt with four playoff-less seasons that included the struggles of the end of the John Paxson-Gar Forman era along with the constructing of a new team under Karnisovas and Eversley.
At the end of the day, the Bulls could offer LaVine the most money along with stability since they’ve discussed the importance of keeping the core together. On top of that, LaVine and his wife Hunter announced that the couple is expecting their first child on Instagram.
“I did my due diligence on my own time, looked at things, and made a decision for me and my family,” said LaVine. “But my heart was in Chicago.”
How quickly he came to a decision on his future is certainly proof of that.