The rumor mill is heating up. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the Sacramento Kings are a potential suitor for Bulls restricted free agent shooting guard Zach LaVine.
One team consistently mentioned as strongly considering a run at Zach LaVine in restricted free agency: The Kings.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) June 28, 2018
LaVine played just 24 games last season for the Bulls after coming over from the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Jimmy Butler trade. The 23-year-old missed parts of the last two seasons after tearing his ACL in his left knee.
Nearly 17 months removed from surgery, LaVine is a high-level athlete with plenty of upside. He was averaging a career-best 18.9 points on 38.7 percent shooting from long range for Minny before his injury.
In limited action with the Bulls last season, LaVine posted 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 27.3 minutes pergame.
According to Johnson, “I still think LaVine ends up with the Bulls, whom I’d guess would prefer to re-sign him in the $14 million to $16 million range annually. But it’s going to be messy if this team signs him to an offer sheet at $20 million or more annually.”
Whether the Kings would go that high for LaVine is unknown at this time, and the Bulls would have any chance to match the Kings' offer. He has tremendous upside and fits the team’s player arc. He’s also coming off an injury and plays the shooting guard position, one of the team’s deepest positions.
It’s possible that Bogdan Bogdanovic could slide to the small forward position, where he played plenty of minutes at last season. But at a generously listed, 6-foot-6, Bogdanovic is undersized for the position.
The NBA’s free agency period opens July 1. Sacramento is one of a small group of teams with the cap space to make a run at a player like LaVine.