Friday, July 6, 9:55 p.m. ET Update: According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bulls will match Sacramento's offer sheet.
Bulls have 48 hours to match the offer sheet and fully plan to do so before deadline. Offer sheet includes some prior injury protection on LaVine's left knee, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/ldgpcaMMvN— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 7, 2018
According to Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania, free agent guard Zach LaVine signed a four-year, $80-million offer sheet from the Sacramento Kings. Michael Scotto of The Athletic adds that the deal is fully guaranteed with no options. Since LaVine is a restricted free agent, his original team -- the Chicago Bulls -- have up to 48 hours to match the deal or he will go to Sacramento.
RFA Zach LaVine has agreed to a four-year, $80M offer sheet with the Sacramento Kings, league sources tell Yahoo. The Chicago Bulls have 48 hours to match.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 6, 2018
LaVine was one of Sacramento's prime offseason targets as recently as July 5. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski noted on his podcast that the Kings were "pretty serious" about acquiring the former UCLA Bruin. Sacramento was one of three teams, which included the Bulls, that had the necessary cap room to give LaVine a substantial offer. The Bulls made an offer, but -- according to ESPN's Marc Spears -- the financial figures didn't come close to matching Sacramento's.
Kings could have an above the rim dynamo
The Bulls attained LaVine during the 2017 NBA draft in a deal that also gave them the draft rights to seven-foot sharpshooter Lauri Markkanen in exchange for two-way star Jimmy Butler. LaVine missed most of the season while recovering from an ACL tear. He ultimately played 24 games for the Bulls, averaging 16.7 points per game with a .383/.341/.813 shooting line. For his career, LaVine has tallied 14 points per game with a .540 true shooting percentage. Of course, many people remember LaVine most for his breathtaking performances in the 2015 and 2016 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, including a scintillating duel with the Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon.
What this means for both teams
This seems to run counter to the Kings' reported plan of using their cap space absorbing other team's bad contracts along with other teams prospects and draft picks. At 23-years-old, LaVine has some upside, but I wonder how good he's going to get in the years to come. He can fill up a score sheet when healthy and has unreal athleticism, but he is also a defensive liability and has never averaged more than 17 points per game. This signals that the Kings will try and compete for a playoff spot since they don't own their 2019 first-round pick and have no incentive to tank. I don't know how much better he will make them, assuming the Bulls don't match the offer.
Since LaVine only logged 24 games for the Bulls, his potential loss won't sting that much. They probably weren't going to make the playoffs with LaVine, so his departure only serves to improve their draft stock for next year. Additionally, the team is looking toward the 2019 free agent class, so inking LaVine to a lucrative deal would've hindered those lofty plans. We'll see how much Chicago values LaVine in the coming days.
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