The upcoming season is an important one for the Chicago Bulls. After missing the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, many are expecting the Bulls to be back in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference after a busy offseason. Plus, the Bulls need to convince All-Star guard Zach Lavine that they’re moving in the right direction. LaVine is set for unrestricted free agency next offseason after he and the organization failed to reach an agreement on an extension, so the team has one more chance to show him that staying in Chicago long-term would be worthwhile. Winning would help in that regard.
“At the end of the day it’s a business,” LaVine said of his future, via ESPN. “They did what was best for the team and I will continue to go out there and do what’s best for the team as well. This season going forward is going to be extremely crucial not just for me but for everybody. Winning would take care of everything.”
“It showed they’re all in to win and we’re transforming the team to be competitive,” LaVine said of Chicago’s offseason additions. “We have a whole new team … we’re going to hit the ground running. I was very happy with the offseason.”
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LaVine is especially eager to play alongside Ball, whose passing prowess will likely generate some open opportunities for LaVine during the season. “He’s one of the best passers in the game, one of the highest IQ players,” LaVine said of Ball. “He gets up and down the court fast. I don’t see how our games can’t mesh.”
LaVine will be one of the bigger names available on the market next summer, and as such he will inevitably be the subject of consistent rumors and speculation throughout the year. He’s well aware of that, but he’s approaching the season with a ‘control what I can control’ approach.
“I can’t control any of those narratives, any of those thoughts or opinions,” LaVine said. “What I can control is what I do on the court. That’s what I do best, I take care of business. I’ll come into camp ready to be a good teammate and be a better leader every day and help my team win. I think that shows my value and I’ll let my business part speak for itself when the time comes.”
The uncertainty surrounding LaVine’s long-term future in Chicago — and the resulting pressure to perform that’s on the team — will make the Bulls an extremely intriguing team throughout the ’21-22 campaign.