Sacramento Kings

Bulls match offer sheet for LaVine

Bulls match offer sheet for LaVine

Hours after the 23-year old shooting guard signed an offer sheet with the Sacramento Kings, news broke that the Bulls had quickly made up their minds on LaVine's future in Chicago.

By deciding to match the four-year, $78 million offer sheet, the Bulls now have solidified their core for the forseeable future. LaVine will now have the opportunity to grow with young players Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen, who are still on rookie contracts, providing the Bulls with flexibility to continue adding to the roster. 

With the LaVine contract situation wrapped up, now all eyes will turn to the rest of the free agent crop. The biggest name among them is Chicago-native Jabari Parker, who the Bulls have been reported to have interest in. The Bucks signed forward Ersan Ilyasova to a three-year, $21 million deal that will limit the amount they can offer Parker.

But whether or not the Bulls go after Parker, the question remains: where do they go from here?

Report: Kings, Hawks both showing interest in Bulls' RFA Zach LaVine

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USA TODAY

Report: Kings, Hawks both showing interest in Bulls' RFA Zach LaVine

The Bulls have the power to match any offer sheet Zach LaVine receives in free agency, but it appears they're not alone in the race to sign the 23-year-old shooting guard.

Our own Vincent Goodwill reported early Sunday morning that the Atlanta Hawks have interest in signing LaVine, with The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor adding that Sacramento is also pursuing him.

The Kings do have a pair of solid shooting guards in Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic, but they're pretty shallow on the wing past those two and could feasibly pair one next to LaVine in the starting lineup, with De'Aaron Fox at point guard. LaVine hails from the West Coast where presumably his family lives, and he went to school at UCLA. A move to Sacramento makes plenty of sense in that regard, too.

The Kings selected Marvin Bagley III with the second pick in last month's draft and appear to be heading in the right direction as a franchise.

Atlanta has a need for talent at just about every position. They traded back in last month's draft and picked up Oklahoma point guard Trae Young, and they have young pieces in Taurean Prince and John Collins. Kent Bazemore is a trade candidate on the wing, which could open a spot for LaVine at shooting guard.

While both teams can give LaVine an offer sheet to sign, the Bulls will be able to match any deal LaVine receives and signs in free agency.

The Bulls can also negotiate with LaVine and come to an agreement on a long-term deal.

Report: Sacramento Kings interested in Zach LaVine

Report: Sacramento Kings interested in Zach LaVine

On Thursday morning, K.C. Johnson stated that the Sacramento Kings may be interested in Zach LaVine.

The Sacramento Kings are one of the few teams that will have significant cap-space this offseason.

Our Vincent Goodwill reported that the Bulls have in fact offered LaVine a qualifying offer, so the ball is now in his court. 

In a seperate article, Johnson also went on to talk about the Bulls strategy with RFAs: "The Bulls’ history with restricted free agents is well documented. They make a proactive offer they feel is the right value and tell the player to go beat it if he feels he’s worth more."

After the 2018 NBA Draft in which the Kings took Marvin Bagley III with the No. 2 pick, they are projected to have around $17 million in salary-cap space. However, the Kings can create more room to spend by trading away some of their young talent. Specifically, players like No. 6 overall picks Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein could draw interest on the market, seeing as many teams may feel that the Kings have not developed the pair of 24-year olds up to this point. The two will make around a combined $8.5 million next season, and moving one or both of them would allow Sacramento to offer up a max-contract to free agents.

Real GM, referring back to Johnson, stated that the Bulls are hoping to sign LaVine for a figure between $14-to-$16 million. Interestingly enough, this figure is just under the threshold of what the Bulls reportedly want to offer LaVine.

And if you look at the teams outside of the Kings, the also rebuilding Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and even the (now) title-contending Philadelphia 76ers could send sizeable offer sheets to LaVine. This would force the Bulls to truly show if they feel that he is a central part of the rebuild.

But as of now, Sacramento is the only team outside of the Bulls who are reportedly interested in LaVine.

With a core of De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Bagley, LaVine’s fit with the Kings is questionable, seeing as he has never played a large share of minutes at the small forward spot. But he certainly would add to their overall talent and “risk profile”.

One thing that is certain, July 1 promises to be a crucial point in time for the future of Chicago Bulls basketball.