The Bulls want to re-sign LaVine. Will he get a max deal?

  • Bulls GM Marc Eversley said on draft night the team has every intention of bringing back Zach LaVine.

    Bulls GM Marc Eversley said on draft night the team has every intention of bringing back Zach LaVine. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 6/24/2022 1:12 PM

The Bulls completed their draft night by choosing Arizona's Dalen Terry with the No. 18 pick, then general manager Marc Eversley moved on to a couple other relevant topics.

The Bulls' first order of business July 1 is to re-sign free agent Zach LaVine. The Bulls can offer more than any other NBA team and the expectation is they will present a deal worth close to the maximum deal, roughly $210 million over five years.

 

"It's our hope that we sit down with Zach and sit down with (agent) Rich Paul and talk about what the future looks like here with the Chicago Bulls," Eversley said at the Advocate Center. "It's our every intention to bring him back. We feel like he'll be excited to sit down and talk with us and we're looking forward to that day."

It seems very likely LaVine will return to the Bulls. There aren't many teams that even have the cap space to approach a max contract offer in free agency.

The biggest question is whether the Bulls will offer the max or try to negotiate a different type of deal. Either way, LaVine is likely to become the highest-salaried athlete in Chicago sports history.

Asked specifically if the Bulls plan to offer the max, Eversley's answer was vague, as expected.

"I think we're prepared to do what it will take to bring back Zach in the fold and be a Chicago Bull," he said. "Again, we look forward to sitting down with Zach and Rich Paul and talking about what the future could look like."

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Eversley also addressed Lonzo Ball's rehab. Ball was expected to returned from arthroscopic knee surgery late last season, but was not able to, so his recovery extended into the summer.

"Currently working out in L.A., still doing his rehab," Eversley said. "We have sent our performance staff to see him every week and kind of track his progress. All reports are good, he's making progress and we're looking forward to seeing him at summer league next month."

He meant Ball is expected to visit summer league, not play in it, obviously. Also, the Bulls have all summer to wait for Ball to recover, so there's no reason to worry yet.

Big man on wish list

The Bulls passed on some center options in the draft, so landing some sort of shot-blocker figures to be high on the priority list when the free agent negotiating period begins July 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Getting somebody to complement what (Nikola Vucevic) does, particularly rim protection, just kind of patrolling that paint and making sure we have somebody there who can lock it down, it's something we intend on addressing," Eversley said. "Whether that is via free-agency or trade is something that we're pretty focused on."

A logical candidate in free agency is New York center Mitchell Robinson. The Knicks executed a plan on draft night to clear cap space. In a series of deals, they sent No. 11 pick Ousmane Dieng to Oklahoma City and Detroit agreed to take on Kemba Walker's contract to get Memphis center Jalen Duren.

It's believed the Knicks are planning to make a run at signing Dallas free agent Jalen Brunson, the former Stevenson High School star. His father Rick was hired as a Tom Thibodeau assistant recently.

Robinson seems a more likely target for the Bulls than Utah's Rudy Gobert. Toronto's Chris Boucher is another conceivable target.

Bulls add Marquette forward

When the draft ended, the Bulls agreed to a two-way deal with Marquette forward Justin Lewis. Lewis confirmed a report by NBA insider Shams Charania on Twitter.

Lewis averaged 16.8 points and 7.9 rebounds during his sophomore season at Marquette. He'll likely join Dalen Terry on the Bulls' summer league squad in Las Vegas next month.

Some players with local ties made their own deals late Thursday. They came in two scenarios: A two-way deal means the player splits time between the G-League and the NBA club, while an Exhibit 10 contract is essentially for summer league and a spot in training camp.

Illinois center Kofi Cockburn reportedly agreed to an Exhibit 10 deal with Utah, while Loyola's Lucas Williamson did the same with the Clippers.

Scotty Pippen Jr. agreed to a two-way deal with the Lakers and Ron Harper Jr. has a two-way with Toronto.

Spartan history repeats

After Rolling Meadows High School grad Max Christie was chosen by the Lakers with the No. 35 pick Thursday, he got a Twitter message from Golden State's Draymond Green.

"Another 35th pick from Michigan State," Green wrote. "History says he's going to be an all-star."

Green was the 35th pick of the Warriors in 2012. Christie spent one season playing for the Spartans.

@McGrawDHSports

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