Bulls' Zach Lavine: 'I Outplayed My Contract. ... I Just Want My Respect'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 2, 2021

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine brings the ball upcourt against the Charlotte Hornets in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, May 6, 2021. Chicago won 120-99. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
AP Photo/Nell Redmond

After earning his first All-Star selection in 2020-21, Zach LaVine wants the Chicago Bulls to pay him what he's worth.

"I outplayed my contract," LaVine said Monday, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN. "I've been very loyal to Chicago. I like Chicago. I just want my respect. If that's now or later, it's something we've got to work out internally."

LaVine is heading into the final season of his initial four-year, $78 million contract. The guard is eligible for an extension this offseason, but his maximum deal would be $105 million over four years.

According to Windhorst, the Bulls would have to use a "renegotiation and extension" to increase LaVine's salary, which would cut into the team's cap space.

LaVine is coming off the best season of his career, ranking seventh in the NBA with 27.4 points per game while adding 5.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.

While he was the clear go-to option for the Bulls, the 26-year-old remained efficient with a 50.7 field-goal percentage, 41.9 three-point percentage and 84.9 three-point percentage, all career highs.

The guard will hope this leads to a new deal worthy of his achievements.

"I think that's what everybody wants: to get paid what they're worth," he said in May, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. "When my time comes, I definitely will get that."

As Cowley noted, LaVine can play out his current contract and re-sign as an unrestricted free agent in 2022 for an average of about $39 million per year. The problem is there is also a risk of injury next season that could hurt his future earnings.

Chicago could also look to limit its spending on the star player in order to add more talent around him after four straight losing seasons.

Windhorst reported the Bulls have their eyes on Lonzo Ball as their one of their main targets in free agency.