Reports: Zach LaVine, Bulls agree to 5-year max contract

The two-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist said on Friday that he has agreed to a new deal with the Bulls.  According to a person with direct knowledge of the words, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, LaVine will sign a five-year maximum contract worth approximately $215 million, as the deal cannot be signed until next week by league rule.  Huh.

And with it, another top free agent came off the market — solving the biggest roster issue hanging over the Bulls this summer.  The Athletic first reported the deal between the Bulls and LaVine.

The Bulls' executive vice president of basketball operations, Arturas Karnisova, said the team hoped to re-sign Lavin rather than lose as an unrestricted free agent.  He wanted to retain the core that helped Chicago reach the playoffs for the first time in five years.

Meanwhile, LaVine had said that he plans to explore the market as an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career after five years in Chicago.  If he looked around, he might not have looked for very long – LaVine announced his decision nearly 18 hours after the league's free-agent negotiation window for this season began.

There are many benefits to living in LaVine, including a clear financial edge.  Chicago had the potential to give LaVine $56 million more than any other team offered him this summer.

LaVine averaged 24.4 points last season in a four-year final season deal worth $78 million.  The high-flying guard made the playoffs for the first time in his eighth year as a pro, losing five games to Milwaukee in the first round by the Bulls.

But it was a year of clear progress for Chicago, who won 46 games with Lavin, Demar DeRozan and Nikola Vusevic.  The Bulls enjoyed their best record in seven years and are now gaining clear momentum this coming season.

Last season wasn't exactly an easy one for LaVine.  He suffered a thumb injury at the start of the Chicago season, then was in and out of the lineup for the final few months due to a left knee injury.  The knee often requires treatment, and may eventually require arthroscopic surgery.

On Friday, all that seemed to be forgotten.  Soon after the deal was struck, LaVine's wife posted a photo of him on Instagram – the $215 million man enjoying a celebratory cigar.