With the NBA Draft officially a thing of the past (here’s a look at the Bulls pick), the Chicago Bulls will now look toward free agency.
The most highly-anticipated portion of the offseason will tip off in less than a week on June 30. And before the Bulls can even think about adding veteran players who can help the franchise improve on their best regular season since the 2014-15 season, they will have to speak with Zach LaVine.
The two-time All-Star is headed toward unrestricted free agency, and rumors ran rampant about the potential for him to find a new home in the early portion of this offseason. However, in recent weeks, all signs have pointed back in the Bulls’ direction, emphasizing that LaVine is likely to sign a max contract to continue building a contender with Chicago.
General Manager Marc Eversley strengthened this belief on Thursday night after the draft. The Bulls’ second-in-command sounded nothing but confident when asked how he foresees free agency discussions going next week:
“It’s our every intention to bring him back. We’re excited about the opportunity to sit down and talk with him, we think he’ll be excited for the opportunity to sit down with us.” Eversley said (h/t Rob Schaefer).
Eversley went on to reiterate this point later on in his press conference, stating that the front office is “prepared to do what it takes to bring Zach back in the fold and be a Chicago Bull.”
To be sure, the GM did state that he wasn’t sure if LaVine would still take meetings with other franchises at the start of free agency. But, regardless, Eversley did make clear that the Bulls will show LaVine how much he means to them when they sit down to speak.
I know none of this comes as a massive surprise, but this should only give us even more confidence that the Bulls will not fool around with LaVine when free agency opens. The plan is obviously to extend the 27-year-old a max deal, and the expectation is he accepts it with open arms.