Executives across the NBA have begun to think Zach LaVine could possibly leave the Chicago Bulls this offseason.
LaVine recently said he plans to "enjoy free agency" in what could be the final major contract of his career. LaVine was previously a restricted free agent and returned to the Bulls after they matched an offer sheet he signed with the Sacramento Kings.
"Zach LaVine gave an interesting interview," said Brian Windhorst. "Executives in the league kind of thought Zach LaVine was kind of off the market. [He] was going to stay in Chicago. They really thought that after Zach, at midseason, got checked out for three or four days in southern California. He left the team right before the All-Star break and had this cocktail of stuff done. He had PRP. He had the knee drained. He got a couple of things done. He pretty much admitted he probably needed knee surgery, but he was hoping that midseason refresh was going to help him get through the season.
"Executives in the league thought, 'well, if the Bulls and Zach are on the same page about him playing on a hurt knee, they must haven an understanding he's going to get a contract.'"
Windhorst added that the fifth-year Chicago could offer to LaVine would hold tremendous sway on his decision. The Bulls could sign LaVine to a five-year, $213 million deal.
"That was the operating theory, at least amongst agents and executives that I talked to. But then Zach came out at the end of the season and he said, I'll just use this quote: 'I plan to enjoy free agency. We're going to have to experience A though Z without making any fast decisions. I think that's something me and agent Rich Paul are going to go through and experience.'
"Subsequently, as I've talked to league executives, there's now some belief and maybe only Zach knows, but there's some belief that Zach could be in play. That what a lot of people thought was a foregone conclusion of Zach staying in Chicago on whatever deal it was going to be might not be the case."
Windhorst later added that the Portland Trail Blazers are a team who could pursue LaVine with a max offer. The Detroit Pistons are another team who have been linked with LaVine.