Zach LaVine agrees to return to Bulls with max contract originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Zach LaVine said early in the 2022 offseason that he plans to approach his first-ever unrestricted free agency with an open mind.
“I plan to enjoy free agency with what it is as a whole,” LaVine told reporters during his post-season interview in late April. “I think you’re going to have to experience AZ without making quick decisions. I think that’s something that me and (agent) Rich (Paul) have to go through and experience.”
Ultimately, this process brought him back to the Chicago Bulls.
On day two of free agency, LaVine agreed to a five-year, $215.2 million contract with the team, representing the maximum number of years and monetary value he was eligible for. NBC Sports Chicago confirmed Friday morning. The fifth year will be a player option.
This contract will start with a first-year salary of approximately $37.1 million, a considerable increase from the $19.5 million he earned annually on his previous contract, a $78 million contract over four. years originally signed with the Sacramento Kings as a restricted free agent and later matched by the Bulls.
LaVine signed that contract six months after returning from rehab with a torn ACL, and moved past it pretty quickly. Over the next four seasons, he became one of the league’s most dynamic three-tier scorers, earning All-Star nominations in 2021 and 2022.
His rise motivated the Bulls’ new front office to ramp up the team’s contention schedule, swinging big moves for Nikola Vučević, DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso between the 2021 trade deadline and the offseason.
In 2021-22, the Bulls went 46-36 and returned to the playoffs for the first time in five years, falling to then-defending champion Milwaukee Bucks in five games in the first round.
LaVine averaged 24.4 points on 60.5 percent true shooting but battled lingering knee pain from January late in the campaign. At the end of May, he underwent a mild knee endoscopy to treat the condition, which is not considered a long-term problem.
With LaVine in tow, the Bulls have 13 players under guaranteed contracts for 2022-23. His freshman salary doesn’t move the team above the luxury tax line, which means they still have the remainder of their non-taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum exceptions available to them to do. other additions.
But the Bulls can now tick off their biggest offseason priority.
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