Bulls Mail Bag: Can Portland Land Zach LaVine? Is Pat Williams back?

It’s May. Let the rumors about Zach LaVine’s free agency start.

Pretend to be Zach LaVine (you two have similar verticals). Is the opportunity to go closer home and play with Dame Lillard more appealing than staying in Chicago and getting that extra money? What should Portland sell? — Tim G.

Everyone has either jokes or rumors. Everyone knows that my vertical is higher than LaVine’s.

The first of many, many, many, many rumors comes thanks to Brian Windhorst of ESPN on his podcast “The Hoop Collective”. In a broader conversation about how he believes the perception of the entire league has shifted a bit from LaVine who has definitely re-signed with Chicago bulls to perhaps be available at an unlimited free agency, Windhorst raised the Portland Trail Blazers as a team that may have “ears raised”. ESPN teammate Bobby Marks described in detail the steps the Trail Blazers would need to take to create a maximum salary that would still be less than $ 50 million compared to the five-year $ 213 million contract the Bulls can offer.

Give up on Josh Hart, one of the central parts of the CJ McCollum store. Give up on Eric Bledsoe. Give up holding a free agent on Jusuf Nurkić and Anfernee Simons.

To answer the specific question of what Portland should sell LaVine to, the answer is, apart from the maximum contract that LaVine said was “important” to him, the chance to win the title. Next could be a three-hour drive home to Seattle.

LaVine himself created this change of perception across the league with his last media session after an exit meeting with management.

“I plan to enjoy free mediation with what is in general. I think you will have to experience AZ without making quick decisions, ”LaVine said in late April. “I think it’s something that (Agent) Rich and I (Paul) go through and experience.”

Speaking on the same day as LaVine, Executive Vice President Artūras Karnišovas said he hoped the Bulls would sign LaVine again.

“I hope he’s been here a long time,” Karnisovas said, adding that the troublesome knee problems of the All-Star quarterback this season will not be a factor in the negotiations. “We have a very good relationship with him. The last two years have been the best years of his career, so we’ll see what happens. “

This is an echo of what team president and COO Michael Reinsdorf told NBC Sports Chicago in late February.

“I hope he will be here for years to come,” Reinsdorf said at the time. “And Zach knows how we feel about him.”

Reinsdorf added that the Bulls, who have only once paid a luxury tax in the franchise’s history, are willing to do so to build a competitor around LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.

It should be noted that Reinsdorf uttered these words AFTER LaVine had already visited an expert for his ailing knee. An MRI done in early February found nothing structurally wrong with the knee, which LaVine will address this offseason.

Things can change. So stay with us. Free mediation is never over until the contract is signed.

I want healthy LaVine back. But if he doesn’t, I don’t see him signing a contract with a team that currently has room for that. I think he would like to go to a big market competitor, called the Lakers, who don’t have room to perform for now. Do you think that sign-and-trading could bring us a good player or at best we would get a draft pick and a one-year stake rental? I want to get the core back. But if LaVine wants to leave, it can’t be at our expense. The other team has to give up something. We have no incentive to exchange it for coins. — Fred B.

Well, that may be at the expense of the Bulls because he is unlimited. So, on LaVine and its representatives.

Pistons, Spurs and Magic plan to have maximum space for caps. Selected other teams, as in the situation described above in Portland, can come there. But it’s not a competition in the market with competitors, which is why many league observers still expect LaVine to re-sign a contract with the Bulls.

If LaVine decides to leave, what I would say is where relationships come into play. The Bulls management team is known to be well connected and valued in the league. So while LaVine certainly has a right to go in vain, the Bulls should try to work with him and his representatives to devise a sign and trade. It doesn’t seem so prudent to me to let him walk strictly because of the hat space because the Bulls still wouldn’t have room for maximum pay. Depending on other moves, the Bulls would have $ 15-20 million in cap space if LaVine walks in vain.

What is your experience working around LaVine? How does it rank in terms of professionalism, work ethic, etc. compared to other NBA players? I wonder because most of the “concerns” about LaVine seem to come from outside, but among players and people in the league, it seems to be highly regarded.

In the past, some max contracts quickly became toxic (John Wall, etc.). Zach doesn’t seem to be the type to stop working as soon as the ink on his contract dries. Is this your experience with him?

The label “injury concern” seems unfair because even though he has had a catastrophic injury in the past, he seems to be committed to taking care of his body and has a great work ethic. As an outsider, he actually seems like a “safer” bet for a guaranteed contract. If I were Reinsdorf (or any employer), he seems like the type of person I would feel comfortable giving guaranteed money to. — Betsey C.

And you see Michael Reinsdorf’s comments about LaVine above.

As for my relationship with LaVine, first please know that beat writers are pretty low in the chain of command in terms of importance. In addition, I agree with your overall “external” impression of LaVine. He’s worried. He works. And he’s about winning and the team. In my dealings with him, he is a very low maintenance star.

I would share with you the assessment that he would not stop working or trying to win at any cost just because he was paid.

Why does the Bulls seem to have bought a “small ball” game when our competitors (e.g. the Bucks) have a clear advantage in height? Wouldn’t it be helpful to add a little size to the front box?

Finally, if you were the main character, would you interrupt the experiments of Troy Brown Jr., Tristan Thompson and Matt Thomas? I don’t want to be harsh — and I realize they could be good staff in the locker room — but they just don’t use teams from a fan standpoint. — Abdul M.

Well, the Bulls signed Tony Bradley. The decision of the coaching staff to kick him out of rotation is what prompted the little ball. But, yes, protection and rim size are certain off-season needs from my perspective.

As for the three players you list, it would be an absolute surprise if Thompson or Thomas return. I personally predicted in my end-of-season list analysis article that Brown Jr. he also won’t return, but he’s probably closer to the call. The Bulls have until June 29 to make a qualifying offer about him.

The draft day is approaching. What do you think the front office is thinking? Do we want to use our 18th pick and collect it for exchange or do we want to get a “D and 3” player to grow in our team? I feel like with a healthy Zach, Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan and the actors it’s a win now. — Tavo V.

Carnisovas specifically questioned whether the need to keep the 18th election has increased given how much capital he has used to build this current census. Here is what he said:

“It depends on who comes there, whether you like it or not. I think there will be players we like. There are different options if there is a player we like. We’ll take a look at everything. Apparently a lot of capital has gathered this team. There have been a lot of good and positive things this year. To bring in players, you have to do it. But we will be flexible. As you described, the front office is quite aggressive. So, we’ll take a look. “

That covers a lot of terrain, right? I am used to the fact that the previous ruling regime piled up and rewarded the elections in the first round. It was a change in culture when this regime used three peaks from the first round in the acquisitions of DeRozan and Nikola Vučević. Karnišovas potentially made up for one of Portland’s three-team Lauri Markkanen sign-and-trade; it is protected by a lottery until 2028 or transferred to another player.

Win it now or not, I guess the Bulls will take advantage of this choice in the first round. They owe them a choice of Magic next year.

Is Nikola Vučević the champion caliber center in today’s NBA league? Or should the Bulls ask to buy it out of season? — RoadDawg

I found out that he says how much Karnišovas strongly supported Vučević in his session with journalists at the end of the season.

“He was one of our most resilient players. And I think if you think about rotations, guards coming in and out, wings coming in and out, I think it would be the hardest thing to replace, ”Carnisovas said. “But he remained available and was a vital part of what we are leading in the attack.”

Now, Karnišovas has avoided the question of Vučević’s status as a player entitled to an extension. However, Karnišovas paid a significant price for acquiring Vučević. I would be surprised if he replaced it after just one season and a change.

Lately, I have been seeing some slander about the Vučević craft. While I agree that there is something left to be desired from productivity on the ground, I think the trade was still great for the organization and I would do it again in an instant. I believe that without Vooch you will not get DeMar, and potentially not Alex Carus or Lonza Ball. I’m interested in your opinion on the value the Bulls got from the trade, whether it paid off and if you think the Bulls could have fought for higher profile free players like those guys without Vooch. — Jack B.

I think trade was important to establish the management’s commitment to victory and what that said to the rest of the league. The Bulls were unimportant. The trade suggested that management would be aggressive in trying to get it back, which it is.

I do not completely agree with the effect it had on free action. DeRozan spoke openly about his game with the Lakers. When that failed, the Bulls far outperformed the competition, although I don’t think Vucevic playing with DeRozan in college hurt the equation. The management was focused on Ball from the same trading deadline in which it acquired Vučević onwards. And Caruso had an easy choice when the Lakers couldn’t match the Bulls who offered a complete mid-level exception.

As for the value of the trade, I’m less preoccupied with what Wendell Carter Jr. and Franz Wagner work because I think Carter Jr. he would not have achieved the same results here — things seemed to have been done for him mentally– -and there is no guarantee that Wagner’s administration would have drafted. But as mentioned above, I was used to covering a governing regime that valued its elections in the first round. And sending two is a high price. It’s an All-Star price for a team that needs to establish relevance, but it’s a high price.

Do you think that the offer of Patrick Williams, Nikola Vučević and the chosen Portland is enough to agree with Rudy Gobert? And do you see this as an upgrade for the Bulls? Or is Patrick Williams ’potential too great to let him trade? — Kevin Lancor

First answer in one word: Maybe. Not. And not.

Next longer thinking: If Utah decides to replace Gobert, they will be looking for an All-Star caliber player, at least a first-round pick, but probably multiple and young talent. I don’t think Portland’s choice is influential enough as it will likely carry over as a mid-round choice. And Williams has some value as a trading chip, but not so much.

While Williams ’potential isn’t too significant to make him untouchable, I think the Bulls need to prepare for LADD. Life after DeMar DeRozan. And Williams and that Portland selection represent two of their most attractive potential building blocks. DeRozan is also a big Williams fan.

What would the Bulls have to do to consider the off-season a “success” in your opinion? I know they talked about continuity, but what are the chances of making a big move? If they make a big move, who do you think will follow him? — Jon M.

They need to add firing, reserve depth and rim protection. Assuming they’re able to keep LaVine, I trust them when they talk about continuity.

Thanks for all the questions. Talk to you soon and keep up the good content.

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