'My heart was in Chicago' – Zach LaVine welcomes new Bulls deal and eyes NBA championship

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Zach LaVine is targeting an NBA championship with the Chicago Bulls after the All-Star guard sealed his five-year contract extension with the team.

Not since the Michael Jordan-led glory years of the 1990s have the Bulls reigned above the rest in the NBA.

Their six championships in that decade account for all the NBA titles that the Bulls have won, and there have been lean times since then.

They halted a run of four seasons without a playoffs appearance by making it to the postseason in 2021-22, only to fall in the first round to the Milwaukee Bucks.

LaVine has agreed to a five-season, $215.2million maximum extension, and the former Minnesota Timberwolves man has high hopes for what may lie ahead.

He said: "Individually, I'm wanting to keep pushing myself to reach higher and higher things. If it isn't All-NBAs, if it isn't MVPs, team-wise, it's win a championship.

"I think there's nothing above that. You've heard me say individual things come with winning, and the better and better we get as a team, and I keep pushing myself to get better as a player, those things can match up."

Zach LaVine
Zach LaVine

Acquired from Minnesota in 2017 as part of a draft-day trade that sent six-time All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves, LaVine has emerged as one of the NBA's most consistent scorers during his time in Chicago.

The 27-year-old joined the legendary Jordan as the only players in franchise history to average 23 or more points per game in four consecutive seasons after averaging 24.4 per game in 2021-22.

LaVine also shot 38.9 per cent from three-point range and 85.3 per cent from the free-throw line this past season to earn his second straight All-Star nod and help the Bulls reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016-17.

The Bulls are retaining a core that also includes 2021-22 All-Star DeMar DeRozan, center Nikola Vucevic and playmaking point guard Lonzo Ball. That group led Chicago to a 46-36 finish last season, their most victories since 2014-15, and a sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Speaking about his max contract, LaVine said: "There's no extra added pressure. It's just who I am, and what goals and what things I want to reach, and how much better can we get as a team."

He added: "Chicago is my home. We've built something over the last two, three [years]. Being able to come back as a cornerstone piece and allowing them to get some of my insights, some of my input in constructing the roster to help me and help us win, was really big for me."

LaVine said there was "no other reason for me to go outside and look at any other teams", suggesting that would have been "disrespectful on my end because they gave me everything that I asked for".

He said he still gave plenty of thought to what he wanted.

"But my heart was in Chicago," LaVine said.

After undergoing knee surgery in May, LaVine is optimistic he will be in prime shape for next season.

"I feel way better. I've been rehabbing, working out, playing, lifting, doing all the good stuff and boring stuff, too," he said. "I feel really good, and over the next two months, getting back into the season, I feel like I'm gonna be even better."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting