The new Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibits teams from publicly declaring an intent to match all offers for restricted free agents.
But the NBA probably won’t investigate anonymous leaks.
I think both teams are aware that they need to go to max number for them. But the question will be are they going to make them go get a sheet? Are they going to match? They’re going to match. I think the sentiment I’ve gotten from both teams is “Listen, if Zach LaVine goes and gets a max, we have too much invested in him.” “If Aaron Gordon…” That’s kind of the template. That’s the range.
LaVine was the centerpiece of Chicago’s return in the Jimmy Butler trade. But, at this point, that deal is a sunk cost. The Bulls shouldn’t overrate LaVine based on what they gave up for him. That might help the front office save face in the short term, but it’d create far bigger problems.
LaVine missed most of last season with a torn ACL, and he didn’t show much on the court. He wasn’t that good in Minnesota, either – too rarely maximizing his athleticism and too often settling for jumpers. He’s a good dunker and 3-point shooter, and he’s a fine distributor for an off guard (though a bad one for a point guard).
At just 23, Lavine has value, and Chicago should want to keep him. But if he gets a max offer sheet, I’d let him walk – even if it makes the Butler trade look even worse.
Orlando’s front office hasn’t invested nearly as much in Gordon. Jeff Weltman inherited the forward and would probably get a bigger pass if Gordon got away.
But Gordon is a far more valuable player, and likewise, the Magic should want to keep him – maybe even at the max if necessary.
More teams will probably be interested in Gordon, which could press Orlando into this situation.
On the “bright side” for the Bulls, LaVine is less likely to draw a huge offer sheet.