Zach LaVine On Contract Situation: “I Just Want My Respect”

Bulls guard Zach LaVine is eligible for a contract extension this offseason as he enters the final season of a four-year, $78MM deal that has turned into a bargain for his team. Asked about his situation following Team USA’s Monday practice in Tokyo, LaVine suggested to reporters that he’d like to be rewarded for his All-Star caliber player, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

“I just want my respect, that’s the main thing,” LaVine said. “I outplayed my contract. 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.”

Veteran extensions are generally based on the player’s previous salary. LaVine, who is earning $19.5MM this season, could get a 20% raise on that figure for a deal starting at $23.4MM, which would be worth nearly $105MM over four years. That likely won’t be enough to get something done.

However, as Windhorst notes, the Bulls are in a unique position due to their ability to create cap room this offseason. They could use a chunk of cap space to renegotiate LaVine’s 2021/22 salary, increasing his $19.5MM cap figure for next season and then offering an extension that features an additional 20% raise on that new salary. That would allow Chicago to offer LaVine a significantly more lucrative extension.

However, the Bulls’ cap flexibility is somewhat limited and the team is focused on adding a point guard in free agency. Landing a starting-caliber point guard and renegotiating LaVine’s contract would require the team to trim a substantial amount of salary from its books, including likely finding takers for Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky, losing Lauri Markkanen, and waiving-and-stretching Al-Farouq Aminu‘s expiring contract.

We’ll have to see how the Bulls’ offseason plays out. If the team determines that a renegotiation of LaVine’s deal isn’t the best use of its cap space or if he wants to wait on an extension, Chicago would have his full Bird rights when he reaches free agency in 2022 and could offer him more years and more money than any rival suitor.

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