The Chicago Bulls remain hopeful All-Star guard Zach LaVine will choose to re-sign with them rather than join another team as an unrestricted free agent.
Executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas has been consistent in saying publicly the organization wants to keep LaVine. And he did it again on Monday.
“We hope Zach is here for a long time, and nothing changed,” Karnisovas said at a news conference to introduce first-round draft pick Dalen Terry.
LaVine’s situation is obviously the biggest story hovering over the Bulls, with the free-agent negotiating period opening Thursday evening.
Karnisovas wants to keep intact a core that helped Chicago reach the playoffs for the first time in five years.
LaVine averaged 24.4 points and made his second straight All-Star team last year. It ended with his first trip to the playoffs in his eighth year as a pro. The Bulls lost in the first round to Milwaukee in five games.
LaVine’s four-year, $78 million contract is up and he said after the season that he plans to explore the market as an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career after five years in Chicago. He did not rule out returning to the Bulls, who can offer a max contract worth about $212 million. The most he can get from another team is approximately $157 million over four years.