Windhorst on Zach LaVine's Free Agency: I Don't Think He Wants to Leave the Bulls

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJune 2, 2022

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 24: Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) and Milwaukee Bucks guard Jevon Carter (5) in action during Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs between the Milwaukee  Bucks and the Chicago Bulls on April 24, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ESPN's Brian Windhorst does not believe Chicago Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine, who is a free agent this offseason, wants to leave the team.

Windhorst made the remarks on the Hoop Collective podcast (h/t Daniel Greenberg).

Daniel Greenberg @ChiSportUpdates

"I don't think Zach LaVine wants to leave, that's not my read."<br> - <a href="https://twitter.com/WindhorstESPN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WindhorstESPN</a> on the Chicago Bulls<br><br>(Via The Hoop Collective Podcast)

LaVine left the Minnesota Timberwolves to join the Bulls as a restricted free agent in 2018 after signing a four-year, $78 million contract.

The 27-year-old averaged 24.4 points on 47.6 percent shooting (38.9 percent from three), 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists for a 46-36 Bulls team that made the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

LaVine and the Bulls have something going right now in Chicago. The Bulls formed a solid core four by bringing in DeMar DeRozan, who had the best year of his career, point guard Lonzo Ball and big man Nikola Vucevic. Veteran guard Alex Caruso proved to be an invaluable piece as well.

They have some young and promising talent around them, including guard Ayo Dosunmu and forward Patrick Williams.

Unfortunately, injuries led to a disastrous end to the season in which they finished 7-15 in their final 22 games before bowing out in the first round of the playoffs to the Milwaukee Bucks. Caruso missed half the season, and Ball sat 47 games. LaVine was out for 15 as well.

Still, there's plenty to build off in Chicago, and bringing LaVine back puts the Bulls in contention once again. However, there's no guarantee that will happen.

"I plan to enjoy free agency," LaVine told reporters in late April, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN).

"We're going to have to experience A through Z without making any fast decisions. I think that's something me and [agent Rich Paul] are going to go through and experience."

LaVine did have positive comments about his time in Chicago, however.

"You guys have been a really, really soft spot in my heart," he said. "I have to do this as a business decision, as a man, to not just be viewed one way and be like I'm automatically coming back or I'm automatically leaving."

LaVine is an eight-year NBA veteran who went 13th overall to Minnesota in the 2014 NBA draft out of UCLA. He's averaged 24.4 points per game during his five seasons in Chicago, including a career-high 27.4 PPG in 2020-21.