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Zach LaVine signed offer sheet with Kings, but he ‘wanted to be in Chicago this whole time’

Zach LaVine, Bulls

When Zach LaVine signed a four-year, $78 million offer sheet with the Sacramento Kings in July, the high-flyer told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated he was “disappointed that I had to get an offer sheet from another team.” So even though the Chicago Bulls quickly matched the offer sheet, some thought there was tension between the Bulls and LaVine.

Turns out, that wasn’t the case. The Bulls weren’t willing to let the centerpiece player they acquired in the Jimmy Butler trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves walk for nothing. The franchise had every intention of bringing LaVine back and was likely waiting for the market to dictate LaVine’s value.

LaVine played in 24 games after missing the majority of last season recovering from left ACL surgery. The scoring guard averaged 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 38.3 percent from the field, 34.1 percent from 3-point range, and 81.3 percent from the free-throw line. The two-time Slam Dunk Champion says he wanted to be in Chicago the whole time and is happy things worked out the way they did.

LaVine’s new contract with Chicago includes language that protects the Bulls in case his surgically repaired knee develops further complications. The 23-year-old knows there’s going to be outside pressure for him to stay healthy this season and live up to the money which is coming his way.

Zach LaVine also admits he’s heard the criticism of his poor defense and understands that’s an area he has to improve in. The former UCLA Bruin watched clips of his best and worst defensive moments from last year and is making it a point to be a solid defensive player this season.