Zach LaVine Rumors: Bulls Undecided on Restricted FA's FutureJune 22, 2018
The Chicago Bulls reportedly plan to take a wait-and-see approach to Zach LaVine's restricted free agency.
According to ESPN.com's Nick Friedell, the "the near-universal support LaVine once had internally isn't there anymore," and the front office will not blindly match any offer sheet he signs. Friedell noted the Bulls "will wait to see if he can find big [money] elsewhere first and then decide if they want to match."
Chicago acquired LaVine in a 2017 draft-night trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves along with point guard Kris Dunn and stretch forward Lauri Markkanen.
The 23-year-old appeared in 24 games during his first year in the Windy City after suffering a torn ACL midway through the 2016-17 campaign. He averaged 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game on 38.3 percent shooting from the field and 34.1 percent shooting from three.
Once the season ended, Bulls executive vice president John Paxson was clear that the organization believed LaVine needed to make big strides, according to NBC Sports Chicago's Vincent Goodwill:
"We need—and I mentioned this to our team after [head coach] Fred [Hoiberg] spoke to them last night—Zach LaVine to be a better basketball player. We need him to have a great summer.
"We knew he wasn't going to play for us right away, and we knew we were going to get him back at some point, but I think he answered some questions for us. He had some really good moments, but he has a ways to go, but again that’s his responsibility to work and become a better player."
According to projections from RealGM's Keith P. Smith, only six teams—the Los Angeles Lakers, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets—are expected to have more than $10 million in cap space when July 1 rolls around.