Zach LaVine remains a Bull after agreeing to a $215.2 million five-year deal to return to Chicago after his first summer as an unrestricted free agent.
The deal, announced Friday by agency Klutch Sports Group, includes a fifth-year player option.
LaVine’s contract is the largest in franchise history. Before this season, the team had never signed a player for more than $100 million.
Despite offers from teams across the league, LaVine wasn’t much on the NBA rumor mill when the free agency opened Thursday night. The guard emphasized his loyalty — sticking to losing programs in Minnesota and Chicago to lead the long-term rebuild — during his media exit interview in April.
LaVine has been the heartbeat of the Bulls roster since he was acquired in a 2017 transaction with the Timberwolves. Averaging 24.4 points per game over five seasons in Chicago, LaVine provided most of the highlights during four brutal seasons before the arrival of DeMar DeRozan. With a prodigious scoring partner and an improved supporting cast, LaVine helped lead the Bulls to their first postseason berth in five years — his first trip to the playoffs.
This off-season was marred by a well-known concern for LaVine — arthroscopic surgery for a left knee injury, which sidelined and delayed the guard for most of the second half of the season. LaVine tore the ACL in the same knee in 2016 and injuries have dogged him his entire career.
LaVine’s health will remain a focus as the Bulls build into the season. Executive vice president of basketball operations Artūras Karnišovas said the surgery and recovery have been a smooth process for LaVine, and the team expects him to be fully available for next season.
“I think he will be healthy and he is making great progress now,” Karnišovas said.
The Bulls made several other moves to ramp up their secondary rotation after the free desk window opened, acquiring Andre Drummond as a backup center on Thursday night.
The team has Derrick Jones Jr. also re-signed to a $6.6 million two-year deal. according to multiple reports† Jones was one of the most used rotational players for the Bulls last season, averaging 5.6 points and 3.3 rebounds, while delivering some of the team’s most explosive dunks from the bench.
Following Jones’ re-signing, the Bulls have 14 players under contract. Teams may only have 15 players on the roster during the regular season, but will be given 20 off-season seats.