The Chicago Bulls season came to a fitting end on April 27, with a non-competitive loss to the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. Now, their attention turns to the offseason and at least one person thinks everything hinges on one significant decision.
It is not like the outcome of the 116-100 Game 5 Bucks win that sent the Bulls on vacation but maybe how close the final score was.
Chicago had lost both of the previous meetings at home by an average of 27.5 points per game.
They were also without guards Alex Caruso (concussion protocol) and Zach LaVine who is set to undergo surgery for his balky knee that was at “50%…on a good day” this season and required “all-day” treatment.
Despite the latter’s current health status, Bleacher Report’s Scott Polacek writes the Bulls’ entire offseason needs to be predicated on re-signing LaVine this summer.
The Argument to Re-Sign LaVine is Two-Fold
Polacek addresses LaVine’s knee before he even officially gets into his breakdown saying, “it was clear Zach LaVine was less than 100% down the stretch because of his own knee concerns.”
The 27-year-old guard downplayed the severity of the issue all season. But The Chicago Times’ Joe Cowley reported that, while LaVine was claiming to be at “80%, 70%, whatever it is”, a source said it was severe enough that most players of LaVine’s stature would have shut it down.
He averaged 19.3 points while shooting below 43% in the postseason with 6.0 assists, and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 37.5% from deep.
LaVine was averaging 26.4 points on 49.9% shooting overall and 41.4% from deep up until January 1, per NBA.com. Those numbers dipped to 24 points on 46.2% shooting from the floor and 36.5% from downtown after the All-Star break.
As Polacek notes, it was clear LaVine was battling through something and says losing him would be a “massive blow” to the Bulls.
The 27-year-old is someone the team can build around for the immediate and long-term future, and he has taken massive strides as an overall player who made the past two All-Star Games.