Zach LaVine will become a full free agent this summer and some pundits believe he could leave the Chicago Bulls due to the emergence of DeMar DeRozan.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, LaVine may not have enjoyed playing second fiddle to DeRozan, who led the Bulls in goals (27.9 points) and field goal attempts (20.2).
“One specific note was repeated frequently by league figures with knowledge of the situation: The brilliance of the fourth quarter that brought DeRozan into the MVP conversation often had LaVine watching from the corner as DeRozan became isolated in the center post,” Fischer reported. “While Chicago was meant to be LaVine’s team, with new running mates for the Bulls’ all-star heart, LaVine was routinely placed in a complementary role alongside DeRozan.”
The LaVine-DeRozan beef rumors have surfaced in Chicago, but a Bulls player doesn’t believe them.
During an interview with WARR Media’s Joshua M. Hicks, Bulls guard Javonte Green shot the alleged beef between LaVine and DeRozan while attending a Chicago Sky game.
“These are rumours,” Green said. “I pay attention to facts, so if it’s a rumor I’m not going to believe it without hearing both sides of the story. At the moment I’m just working on myself.”
LaVine and DeRozan spoke highly of each other in their exit interviews after the Bulls were knocked out of the 2022 playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks. However, LaVine plans to enjoy the free rein and his return to Chicago isn’t the slam dunk he once was.
Deputized by Klutch Sports’ Rich Paul, LaVine will be meeting with other teams this offseason. The two-time All-Star and two-time Slam Dunk Champion is excited to be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.
“It’s a big decision, not only for me but also for my family,” says LaVine said. “Of course I’ll take my time and check everything, talk to my agent. I think it’s an opportunity that not many people in my situation actually get to take advantage of and I find it exciting. I look forward to it.
“I intend to enjoy the free hand with what it is as a whole. I think you need to experience AZ without making any quick decisions. I think that’s something Rich and I need to go through and experience. … I don’t think I have to go into negotiations. You need to talk to Rich. For me, I can sit back and figure it out from this point.
According to NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson, LaVine’s return to the Bulls “isn’t the slam dunk it used to be.” The UCLA product has been associated with the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks.
LaVine, 27, can sign a five-year, $212 million deal with the Bulls or a four-year, $157 million deal with another team this offseason ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The electric scoring guard successfully underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee May 24 at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles. LaVine is expected to make a full recovery.