By Greg Cassoli
The Chicago Bulls retained the services of Zach LaVine this week. The springy shooting guard and former restricted free agent signed a 4-year, $78 million offer sheet with the Sacramento Kings, which the Bulls exercised their right to match on Sunday.
The new deal is a substantial financial commitment for a player that has flashed plenty of potential, but never made a substantive impact for a winning team. LaVine was paid handsomely enough for many to wonder if his new deal was something of an overpay.
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There’s some sound reasoning to that line of thinking, but the contract is far from indefensible. The Bulls gave up a lot to get LaVine, who was a centerpiece in the trade that sent out franchise star Jimmy Butler. To simply let him walk in free agency would have been a lot to stomach.
There’s also plenty of time for LaVine to grow into a more consistent version of the type of effortless scorer he’s shown himself to be at times. His blend of elite-athleticism and shooting is...