Sure, there are 215 million reasons why Zach LaVine will sign a five-year deal with the Chicago Bulls when the NBA’s free agent moratorium ends on July 6.
But LaVine’s decision came down to more than the monetary value of his maximum contract. It came down to loyalty and a belief in what the franchise is building.
“Chicago is my home,” LaVine said in a phone conversation with NBC Sports Chicago. “I really started making my name here. And I want to continue what I helped start here as well.
“I’m extremely excited. I appreciate the fans. And I’m ready to continue this winning process that we have going.”
With LaVine making his second straight All-Star appearance and DeMar DeRozan joining forces with a roster aggressively overhauled by management, the Bulls finished 46-36 and made their first postseason appearance since 2017. It also marked the first postseason experience of LaVine’s eight-year career---and whetted his appetite for more.
“I’m ready,” LaVine said.
LaVine didn’t have much time to talk on the phone. It’s a celebratory occasion to be sure, not that that stopped him from getting in a workout.
But he obviously noticed how tough the Eastern Conference proved last season and how much rivals are trying to improve this offseason. How much belief does he have that the Bulls can take the next step?
“All belief,” he said. “I’m not shy of competition now. You know that.”