TOKYO -- Zach LaVine will be eligible to sign a contract extension with Chicago Bulls within the next few days. He stated Monday that he still wants to be recognized for his All-Star play, but he will also work with the front office to help it use cap space to find new talent.
LaVine, who was practicing for the quarterfinal match against Spain on Tuesday, said that he just wanted his respect.
"I outplayed the contract. Chicago has been a great place to live. Chicago is my favorite city. I want your respect. Whether it's now, or later, that's something we have to do internally."
LaVine's unique situation is remarkable. The Bulls are believed to be looking for a point guard and have the potential to create substantial salary-cap space. They expect Lonzo Ball, a restricted free agent from New Orleans Pelicans to be one of their top targets.
LaVine, 26, still has one season on his $19.5 million contract. Based on this number, the Bulls have limited options for how much they can extend his contract. It could be a deal of up to $105million over four years. However, this figure is likely to be lower than LaVine’s market value.
Sources said that LaVine is unlikely to agree to an extension if the Bulls invoke a seldom used provision which allows them to use cap space to raise LaVine’s salary for next season and then create a new extension based on that number. The so-called "renegotiation" and extension.
The Bulls are now faced with a dilemma: whether to upgrade their roster through free agency or secure their franchise player.
Another option is to make deals to reduce salary and free up cap space. This is the ideal situation, but it can also be challenging, especially since the Bulls recently traded two picks in the first round, which are often required to reduce salaries, in order to acquire Nikola Vucevic.
LaVine, even though he is playing for Team USA will be closely watching the situation. LaVine stated that he would keep in touch with Marc Eversley, general manager of the Bulls, and Arturas Karnisovas, Bulls president.
LaVine stated that free agency will play a role in an extension with other players and building a roster. "We will have some discussions going forward."
The Bulls will not extend LaVine's contract this summer. However, they have the right to sign him to a contract next year. He would be available for sale as an unrestricted, free agent.