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Report: Bulls prepared for Western Conference team (Kings?) to purse RFA Zach LaVine

JaKarr Sampson, Zach LaVine, Zach Randolph, Garrett Temple

CORRECTS TO SECOND QUARTER INSTEAD OF FIRST QUARTER - Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, center, goes to the basket between Sacramento Kings’ JaKarr Sampson, left, Zach Randolph, third from left, and Garrett Temple during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

AP

There have been mixed signals about the Bulls’ willingness to pay Zach LaVine in restricted free agency.

Enter the Sacramento Leverages Kings.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

The Bulls are expected to make a good-faith, proactive offer to LaVine, but if he seeks a maximum contract, he likely will need to get an offer sheet. The Bulls are prepared for at least one Western Conference team to make a run at LaVine, for whom they can match any offer.

Overpaying LaVine – a good 3-point shooter whose athleticism hasn’t translated into a strong all-around game, especially defensively – would be very on brand for the Kings. But so would a player using Sacramento for leverage.

The Kings get no benefit of the doubt. It’s quite believable they’ll try to lure LaVine, which plays to his advantage.

Would Sacramento actually pursue LaVine? They have Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield at shooting guard, but neither is good enough to justify ignoring other options. LaVine would add young talent, and the Kings could always use more of that.

Is Sacramento a real or contrived threat to sign LaVine? Chicago must evaluate the possibilities when determining its own initial offer, but at least the Bulls have matching rights as a safety net.