The Bulls, who have two days to match it if they want to retain him, have made LaVine a contract offer, but sources say it’s not nearly as strong as the Kings’.
“I’m disappointed that I had to get an offer sheet from another team,” LaVine, 23, told The Undefeated. “But Sacramento stepped up and made a strong impression. It appears that Sacramento wants me more than Chicago.”
The Kings would be the first team this offseason to sign a restricted free agent to an offer sheet.
LaVine averaged 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 34.1 percent shooting from 3-point range in 24 games last season. He loved the City of Chicago, his teammates, and the fan base in his short time since arriving from Minnesota in the Jimmy Butler trade and enjoyed playing for the Bulls.
However, the athletic 6-foot-5, 205-pound guard was disappointed that the Bulls did not step up in the same fashion that the Kings did and believed his parent team was trying to take advantage of him in a tight free agent market.
If the Bulls do not match Sacramento’s offer sheet, LaVine would join a franchise that is attempting to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. However, Sacramento is loaded with young talent in the rookie forward Marvin Bagley III, the No. 2 pick in the June draft, guards De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic and frontcourt players Harry Giles, Willie Callie-Stein, Skal Labissiere and Justin Jackson. The Kings believe that this young core is part of a new brand that includes “exciting, up-tempo, versatile and position-less players,” a source said.
LaVine visited the Kings’ offices and practice facility in downtown Sacramento on Wednesday on Wednesday. He had a conversation with Kings general manager Vlade Divac and assistant general managers Brandon Williams and Peja Stojakovic during the visit. LaVine also spoke with Kings owner Vivek Ranadive. LaVine could be the biggest free agent signing for the Kings since Divac signed a six-year, $60 million contract in 1999. There was a “mutual expression that it was a good fit” from LaVine and the Kings’ brass, a source said.
A source said LaVine will take up the remaining Kings salary cap space available if his signing becomes official, but the franchise will still have flexibility to make more free agency moves next summer. The Seattle native debuted with the Bulls last season after recovering from left ACL surgery. The Kings are confident that LaVine is fully healthy and recovered him his knee injury, a source said.