The Chicago Bulls have grand designs for the 2021-22 NBA season, and All-Star guard Zach LaVine is at the heart of them.
LaVine, 26, is entering his eighth professional season, fifth with the Bulls. After one collegiate season at UCLA, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard was drafted 13th by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2014 NBA Draft, then later traded to the Bulls as part of the 2017 Jimmy Butler trade.
Ever since, he has blossomed into a star. In 2021, he made his first career All-Star team as a reserve in the Eastern Conference and was drafted to Team Durant. He played 28 minutes, scoring 13 points and hitting two 3-pointers, but Team LeBron prevailed in the exhibition.
Here is everything else you need to know about LaVine, his NBA career and his family:
Zach LaVine NBA stats, career highs with Timberwolves, Bulls
LaVine appeared in 58 games in a career-best 2020-21 season, averaging 27.4 points, five rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 50.7 percent from the field, 41.9 percent from 3-point range and 84.9 percent from the free-throw line. LaVine fell six assists and one made free throw shy of becoming just the third player in NBA history to average 27 points, five rebounds and five assists while shooting 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 85 percent from the line. The other two? Steph Curry and Larry Bird (three times).
In addition to averaging career-highs in points, rebounds and assists, LaVine also scored a career-high 50 points in a 120-108 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on April 9, 2021. His career-high in assists (14) came in a 110-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Dec. 27, 2014 during his rookie season with the Timberwolves. He dished a Bulls-tenure-high 13 assists in a 122-113 win over the Toronto Raptors on April 8, 2021.
In four seasons with the Bulls, LaVine has averaged 24.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from 3-point range. He ranks fifth on the Bulls' all-time leaderboard in 3-pointers made with 546. In 2020-21, he set the franchise record for 3-pointers made in a season with 200, and became the first player in Bulls history to make at least seven 3s in consecutive games.
A look at Zach LaVine’s contract history in final year of Bulls deal
When LaVine was traded to the Bulls in June 2017, he had one season remaining on his rookie-scale contract. Upon that contract's expiration, he entered restricted free agency and signed a four year, $78 million offer sheet with the Sacramento Kings. The Bulls later matched that offer sheet, keeping him with the team.
At the time, many criticized the deal, which continues to pay LaVine $19.5 million per season. But he has far outperformed the contract. Last season, LaVine ranked seventh in the NBA in scoring. The average salary of the other six top-10 scorers not on rookie contracts was just over $32 million.
The 2021-22 season marks the final year of the offer sheet LaVine signed with the Kings. Because the Bulls and his representation didn't come together on an extension this offseason, LaVine is poised to be one of the marquee free agents available during the 2022 offseason and is due for a big raise, both realities the Bulls are aware of.
Zach LaVine wins gold at 2020 Tokyo Olympics
In addition to being named an All-Star in 2021, LaVine was also named to USA Basketball's roster for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were rescheduled to the summer of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
LaVine unfortunately had to travel to Tokyo a few days after the rest of the team due to a brief stay in COVID-19 health and safety protocols, but didn't miss a beat once he arrived. During the Olympics, LaVine averaged 9.7 points and 3.3 assists, shooting 60 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from 3-point range while supplying solid perimeter defense.
And, most importantly, he eventually came home with a gold medal. LaVine scored five points on 2-for-3 shooting in USA's gold medal match victory over France, and capped the contest with a celebratory between-the-legs dunk just after the buzzer.
Now, he hopes to apply the lessons he learned competing with the world's best with the Bulls.
Meet Zach LaVine's parents, his dad Paul and his mom Cheryl
In news that should surprise no one, LaVine comes from a family of athletes. His father, Paul, played professional football in the USFL and NFL, appearing in three games for the Seattle Seahawks in 1987. His mother, Cheryl, was a softball player in college.
LaVine credits Paul massively for his ascension as a basketball player. Paul spent countless hours training and helping guide LaVine at the outset of his basketball journey.
In a nod to the importance of family to LaVine, the Bulls surprised him with a celebratory Zoom call after earning the All-Star selection, featuring his parents, Jamal Crawford, Thad Young and other prominent figures in his life.
Zach LaVine tweets in support of Bulls-White Sox collab jersey
LaVine hails from Renton, Wa., just outside of Seattle. But he has never been shy to support his new hometown teams since moving to Chicago.
The Bulls guard went so far as to endorse a Bulls-White Sox jersey collaboration for the former's "White Sox Night" promotion in April 2022:
Even if that jersey design never comes to fruition, LaVine and White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson have a budding, cross-sport friendship. In March 2021, Anderson gifted LaVine a signed bat in celebration of his All-Star selection. Anderson also called LaVine "superstar caliber" in February.