There has been a ton of debate regarding this topic as of late, so let's spell it out and dive in. Does Zach LaVine deserve a maximum contract extension? The answer is yes. Sure, there are several subjective factors to consider, the final answer is pretty cut and dry. And LaVine nearing a max contract doesn't mean the Chicago Bulls can't bring in another "max" player to surround him with additional talent.
LaVine's playoff performance isn't what fans wanted to see. Hell, I'm sure it isn't what he wanted to see either. LaVine is playing on a hurt left knee. Some may chalk that up as an excuse or say he's often injured. Let's just take a step back for a moment, shall we? LaVine is a two-time NBA All-Star. He was on track to make the All-NBA Team before tweaking his knee in January.
Want to hear the best part? When another star-level player in DeMar DeRozan joined the Bulls, LaVine's averages didn't really change. Doesn't that prove he can play with another great player beside him?
What Would a LaVine-less Bulls Future Look Like?
If you are in the camp that doesn't want to see the Chicago Bulls offer Zach LaVine a max contract, I challenge you to lay out a plan regarding what the team should do. Do they let him walk? If so, who would they sign to complement DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic? I assure you, those two players aren't enough to get the Bulls to the mountaintop. They need another elite scorer beside them.
Next, we need to look at sign-and-trade scenarios. Dalton Trigg of Sports Illustrated recently shared the following possibility.
I know the trade above doesn't tickle my fancy, but if it does yours, then I guess that's alright. The fact is, the Bulls won't receive a player as good as LaVine in any deal they were to make. Averaging 25/5/5 isn't easy in the NBA, even if that player is on a "bum team."
Additionally, the Bulls also don't have draft picks in 2023 or 2025 due to various trades the front office has made since arriving in Chicago. This means they cannot truly build via the draft until at least the mid-2020s.
Give this group time and see what they are able to do. At the end of the day, Bulls fans want to see the team remain competitive after enduring failed GarPax rebuild. Though there are roster holes that need to be addressed, the Bulls do have a talented core currently in place.
As I conclude this rant of sorts, I'll leave you with this. Are any of the players mentioned above better than Zach LaVine? I think not, but of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.