LaVine ahead of possible extension: I 'want my respect'

Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Zach LaVine is coming off the best season of his seven-year career, and the Chicago Bulls star wants to be compensated accordingly.

LaVine is eligible for a contract extension when the NBA's free-agency period kicks off Monday night at 6 p.m. ET, and the 2021 All-Star's request is straightforward.

"I just want my respect, that's the main thing," LaVine told ESPN's Brian Windhorst while with Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics.

"I outplayed my contract. I've been very loyal to Chicago. I like Chicago. I just want my respect. If that's now or later, it's something we've got to work out internally," he added.

There's one year left on his current $19.5-million deal, and based on that figure, the most the Bulls can offer the 26-year-old is a four-year, $105-million contract. That's below LaVine's market value, leaving the team's front office in a unique situation.

The Bulls could use cap space to trigger a "renegotiation and extension" tactic that would increase LaVine's salary this coming season, raising the figure they would build off for an extension.

But that cap space could also be used for a free agent, and the Bulls are in the market for a point guard. New Orleans Pelicans restricted free agent Lonzo Ball is among those strongly linked with a move to the Windy City.

Team president Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley could instead clear cap space, though that's a tough ask after the Bulls shipped two top assets - a pair of first-round picks - to the Orlando Magic for Nikola Vucevic.

LaVine is focusing on the Olympics right now, but he said talks with the Bulls' front office will take place soon.

"Free agency is going to play a part (in an extension) with other players and constructing a roster," LaVine said. "We'll have some conversations going forward."

The 26-year-old set career-best marks for per-game points (27.4), rebounds (five), and assists (4.9) last season.

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LaVine ahead of possible extension: I 'want my respect'
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