Zach LaVine explains why he couldn’t turn down Bulls: ‘that would have been disrespectful’

Zach LaVine has been in Chicago for the past five years. He’s now locked in for five more on a max contract, and the star guard couldn’t see it going any other way.

In fact, he would have seen it as disrespectful on his part. At least, that’s how it would have felt to him after Chicago basically rolled out the red carpet to keep him around.

LaVine got five years and $215 million in hard-earned cash from the franchise that helped him become not just a known commodity in the NBA, but a marketable star. Though he did admit to starting the free agency period with an open mind, what Chicago brought to the table for him was far too much to pass up.

Again, it would have been disrespectful.

“Once I was able to meet with [Bulls general manager] Marc [Eversley] and [executive vice president of basketball operations] AK [Arturas Karnisovas] and they came to me with everything that I wanted, there was no other reason for me to go outside and look at any other teams.

‘‘I think that would have been, for me, disrespectful on my end because they gave me everything that I asked for,” Lavine told Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago had no desire to play hardball with its star and LaVine rewarded the Bulls with loyalty on the free agency market. It was more than just about money for LaVine, though.

He feels like he’s of the fabric in Chicago, and the Bulls giving him everything he was looking for moving forward confirmed that.

‘‘Being able to come back as a cornerstone piece and allowing them to get some of my insights, some of my input in pretty much constructing the roster to help me and help us win was really big for me,’’ LaVine said. ‘‘Chicago is my home.’’

LaVine averaged 24.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in 2021. He’ll need help to bring Chicago back to the top of the NBA mountain, but the Bulls have to feel great about the fact that, barring injury, they have player they can count on to be a playmaker and leader night-in and night-out for at least the next five years.

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