The Chicago Bulls have decided to match the Sacramento Kings four year $78 million offer sheet to Zach Lavine

The slow, methodical approach of the Chicago Bulls has quickly sped up. The Kings signed Zach Lavine to a four year, $78 million offer sheet Friday.  But sources said the Bulls will move expeditiously to match the offer before the 48 hour window closes.

ESPN reported that the offer sheet has language that protects the team against Lavine’s surgically repaired knee.  Don’t consider this move to be a forcing of the hand of Bulls GM John Paxson.  The Bulls indicated through a source that their intention was to resign Lavine anyway.

That doesn’t mean there weren’t any hurt feelings in the process.  Lavine expressed frustration at the Bulls offer which was $8 million less  than what the Kings initial offer was.  He was quoted in the Undefeated as saying, “I’m disappointed that I had to get an offer sheet from another team. But Sacramento stepped up and made a strong impression. It appears that Sacramento wants me more than Chicago.’’

The low ball number has less to do with Lavine’s worth and more to do with the cost of a rebuild.  The Bulls aren’t at the stage in their rebuild where letting a highly targeted asset like Lavine walk away would make sense.

Lavine, after all, was the key trade piece that saw the Bulls trading Butler, one of the best two way players in the franchise’s history.  There were some in the Wolves organization that even wanted Wiggins attached to the deal instead of Lavine.

Lavine recognized and embraced his role as the face of the franchise.  He also understood his role in being the key figure in the trade that landed them Dunn and Markkanen.  He is a hard worker and wants to address the criticism of his game as a weak defender.

With such positive vibes flowing through the franchise why would the Bulls want to stop their momentum?

Lavine has been all in and very receptive to coaching since he arrived.  In coach Fred Hoiberg’s offense, LaVine is the kind of secondary ball-handler who can score and make plays for others.  The uber athletic guard showed flashes of just how talented he could be, particularly with his 35 point game against his former team.

Pairing him with the defensive prowess of Dunn, the scoring ability of Markkanen, along with two high caliber draft picks presents a bright future.

And it was a future that the Bulls felt they couldn’t afford to let go of.

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