LaVine, 27, has blossomed into a two-time All-Star in Chicago, where he arrived in the trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2017, and — along with DeMar DeRozan — was the cornerstone of Chicago’s return to the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time in five years this past season.
That also marked the first time in LaVine’s career that he had reached the postseason.
Now, he and the Bulls will look to continue that success moving forward, thanks to the two sides sitting down and hammering out a maximum contract extension to keep LaVine in Chicago through his prime.
Since coming to the Bulls in the Butler trade in 2017, LaVine has become a terrific offensive power at every level. He has averaged at least 23.7 points per game each of the past four seasons while being both a high-volume and quality-percentage 3-point shooter, in addition to his explosiveness going to the rim, steadiness at the free throw line (at least five attempts and over 80% shooting the past four seasons) and ability to create for others (at least four assists per game).
This past season — coming off winning a gold medal with Team USA in Tokyo last summer — LaVine averaged 24.4 points, 4.5 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game, all while shooting 47.6% from the field and 38.9% from 3-point range despite being hampered by a left knee injury that required surgery shortly after the season ended.
LaVine suffered a torn ACL in that same left knee in 2017, before being traded to Chicago later that same year alongside the No. 7 pick in that year’s draft, which became Lauri Markkanen and guard Kris Dunn.
Still, LaVine’s growth since arriving with the Bulls led to him making an All-Star appearance in each of the past two seasons.
And LaVine’s signature on a new deal is the culmination of a year-plus effort by Arturas Karnisovas, the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations, to construct a team around LaVine good enough to make Chicago a factor in the East again — and to persuade the star to remain with Chicago.
As a result, the Bulls were busy last spring and summer. They acquired DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Lonzo Ball via trades and Alex Caruso in free agency and hired former Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan to coach the team.
The sum total of those moves pushed Chicago to the top of the Eastern Conference for much of last season before a series of injuries — notably to Ball, Caruso and second-year forward Patrick Williams — saw the Bulls fall down the standings. They eventually entered the playoffs as a 6-seed, losing in five games to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the East playoffs.
ESPN’s Jamal Collier contributed to this report.
This content was originally published here.