Bulls guard Zach LaVine will be eligible for a four-year, $104,832,000 contract extension this offseason.
Which is relatively low compensation for a 26-year-old All-Star who could sign any deal up to the max as a 2022 free agent.
That’s why rival executives anticipate the Bulls will try to lock up LaVine with a contract extension (he will make $19.5 million this season and next) but know he’ll likely let his deal lapse, become an unrestricted free agent and sign what will be a more lucrative multiyear max pact.
The Bulls could uses their cap space this summer to renegotiate LaVine’s current contract, which would allow them to extend his deal for a higher amount. A player-friendly renegotiation-and-extension is certainly possible.
Perhaps, these rival executives know a renegotiation-and-extension isn’t in the cards. This is the type of research teams do. They want to know which players are attainable and when.
If using cap space on LaVine this summer, Chicago would have less room to pursue outside upgrades. The Bulls, as shown by the Nikola Vucevic trade, are trying to appeal to LaVine by winning more. (It hasn’t worked so far, and with LaVine out due to coronavirus protocols, it’s less likely to start working soon.)
Or maybe the rival executives are just guessing about the Bulls’ and LaVine’s plans. That’d be far less significant.
Still, the possibility these other teams know Chicago’s and LaVine’s plans make this worth considering.