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The Chicago Bulls finished the 2021-22 season 46-36, their best record the 2014-15 season when they won 50 games and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Losing in the first-round of the playoffs to the Milwaukee Bucks this year was not ideal for the Bulls, but this season as a whole was a massive success for them as a franchise. 

DeMar DeRozan finished second in the league in total points (2,118), Chicago learned a lot about their young talents and Zach LaVine continued to stake his claim as a real All-Star threat in this league.

Heading into the offseason though, there is a level of concern within this Bulls organization about Zach LaVine. His knee issues are one thing, but the main concern right now is the fact that LaVine is an unrestricted free agent.

Throughout the 2021-22 season, many speculated that this is going to be a no-brainer decision for the All-Star shooting guard and he will re-sign with the Bulls rather immediately once free agent begins, but now, things have appeared to shift in the opposite direction.

It truly does seem like Zach LaVine is “on-the-fence” about where he wants to play moving forward and while he does have interest in the Bulls, being an actual free agent is something he has said he would like to experience.

A week or so ago, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst mentioned on his Hoop Collective podcast that while LaVine was once thought to be “off the market,” the sense around the league is that he is much more willing to listen to new offers from other teams than many had imagined.

Zach LaVine has not said that he is leaving the Bulls or having thoughts about leaving Chicago, but Windhorst mentioned that the way the All-Star has approached his pending free agency is changing the picture of what he will do this summer.

“I plan to enjoy free agency,” LaVine said following the Bulls’ loss in the playoffs to the Bucks. “We're going to have to experience A through Z without making any fast decisions. I think that's something me and [agent Rich Paul] are going to go through and experience.”

The Portland Trail Blazers had been mentioned in recent weeks as a possible suitor for the Bulls’ All-Star guard and now the Los Angeles Lakers are being brought up in the conversation for LaVine in free agency.

LaVar Ball, father of NBA guards Lonzo and LaMelo Ball, stated recently that he thinks LaVine should and will sign with the Lakers in the offseason.

How much truth there is to all of this is definitely highly questionable, but the question of whether LaVine is having doubts about Chicago is very real right now.

K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports reported recently that Zach LaVine returning to the Bulls in free agency is “no longer considered the slam dunk it once was.” There are quite a few teams this offseason that will give the ability to open up a max contract slot on their roster and with this year’s free agent class being weaker than usual, LaVine stands out as the best available talent, putting a ton of pressure on the Bulls.

This situation has suddenly turned into one of the “must-see” events in the NBA offseason this summer, as Zach LaVine is fully expected to give every team that approaches him the time of day to present their pitch of why he should join them.

Again, the Chicago Bulls are still very much in play to retain their All-Star and they are planning on making an aggressive offer to keep him, but at the end of the day, LaVine is going to get what he wants in terms of a new contract.

If he wants a max contract in free agency and the Bulls are unwilling to offer him said money, then it is not hard to believe that Zach LaVine has played his final game in a Chicago Bulls uniform. 

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