All-Star Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine appears intent to earn a maximum contract extension with Chicago, but whether or not that happens this summer will have a significant financial impact on the deal, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. A standard extension for LaVine this offseason could only be worth up to about $105MM over four years, so he seems unlikely to accept such a deal — Chicago could offer him significantly more in a renegotiation or once he reaches free agency.
“I definitely want what I deserve, and whatever that is I’ll have it coming to me,’’ LaVine said of a possible extension after the Bulls’ 2020/21 season concluded.
K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes that LaVine’s fate this summer could be directly affected by the Bulls’ lottery luck. Should the team move into the top four in Tuesday’s lottery drawing ahead of the 2021 draft, it will be committed to paying at least $7.2MM to the rookie prospect it drafts. Depending on how some decisions shake out across the rest of Chicago’s roster, this will likely mean the Bulls, who have not made the playoffs in four seasons, will be operating over the salary cap, which would preclude a renegotiation with LaVine this season and make an extension less likely.
There’s more out of the Central Division:
- Pacers center Myles Turner weighed in on his perceived snub from the NBA’s All-Defensive teams this season, writes Nat Newell of the Indianapolis Star. Turner tweeted, in part, “Right back to it next season, [I’m going to] make it to where it ain’t even a debate.” Newell notes that all of the forwards who made the cut ahead of Turner played at least five more games than he did during a truncated 72-game season, where every appearance counts that much more. Newell observes that, in the last 20 years, the league leader in blocks has not made either All-Defensive team just six times — and Turner accounts for two of those omissions.
- A lot is riding on the Cavaliers landing some lottery luck, again, in the 2021 draft lottery next week, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Over the last two decades, Cleveland landed the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003, 2011, 2013, and 2014 drafts. The club hasn’t fared as well lately in the lottery, but is hoping its luck turns ahead of a starry draft.
- Pacers All-Star Domantas Sabonis proved he was one of the best big men in the league through his play this season, per Wheat Hotchkiss of Pacers.com. The 25-year-old deservedly made his second straight All-Star game, and boasted a sparkling stat line of 20.3 PPG (on 53.5% shooting from the floor), 12 RPG, and 6.7 APG. Hotchkiss highlights just how valuable Sabonis was on offense, both as a ball-handler and an expert pick-setter, and notes that Sabonis was often tasked with guarding players beyond the paint while Turner manned the middle, resulting in Sabonis traveling 2.7 miles a night on the floor, more than any other big man in the league. Sabonis will suit up for Team Lithuania during a six-game qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics, and potentially the Olympics themselves, before his focus returns to the NBA.