Central Notes: LaVine, White, Ayton, Brogdon

Because Zach LaVine wasn’t named to any of the All-NBA teams announced this week, the Bulls will be facing a lower price for a maximum deal for the free agent guard, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. LaVine can re-sign with Chicago for up to $212.3MM over five years, while rival teams will be limited to four years at $157.4MM.

The roughly $55MM difference will work in the Bulls’ favor, but Cowley echoes several other reports suggesting that re-signing LaVine isn’t a sure thing. He lists the Lakers, Hawks and Trail Blazers as teams with interest and says more are expected to emerge as free agency draws closer.

Cowley adds “all indications” are that Bulls management plans to offer a full max deal, and it will be up to LaVine to decide whether he wants to continue his career in Chicago. If he does want to move on, Cowley expects executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas to explore sign-and-trade options.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Cowley’s assessment of LaVine is part of an overall look at the Bulls‘ backcourt, where the fate of Coby White is also uncertain. White will be eligible for a rookie-scale extension this summer, but Cowley believes the front office is more likely to try to trade him for outside shooting help. Cowley doesn’t expect free agent Matt Thomas to return and says the team could target TyTy Washington or Malaki Branham in the draft if either is still available at No. 18.
  • Expect the Pistons to be among the teams pursuing Suns center Deandre AytonOmari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press states in a mailbag column. Ayton will be a restricted free agent, and Sankofa suggests Detroit might use Jerami Grant to facilitate a sign-and-trade deal. Grant is entering the final year of his current contract and is eligible for a four-year extension worth $112MM.
  • Evan Sidery of Basketball News looks at five potential trade destinations for Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, who may no longer be in the team’s plans after the acquisition of Tyrese Haliburton. Sidery proposes potential deals involving the Suns, Jazz, Lakers, Timberwolves and Heat.
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