The Bulls on Sunday formally matched the four-year, $80 million offer sheet LaVine signed with the Sacramento Kings, a move that was expected almost from the instant the restricted free agent got the offer.
LaVine is one of only six free agents to get deals worth that much so far this summer, joining Chris Paul ($160 million), LeBron James ($153 million), Nikola Jokic ($148 million), Paul George ($137 million) and Aaron Gordon ($80 million). Phoenix’s Devin Booker signed a $158 million deal as well, his coming in the form of an extension and not through a foray into free agency.
LaVine has missed 91 of a possible 162 games over the past two seasons because of injuries, and the Bulls will have some language in this contract protecting them if his surgically repaired left knee remains problematic.
”Zach showed a relentless work ethic in rehabbing his ACL injury to return to the court, and he has a visible passion for the game of basketball,” Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said. ”We know that those attributes, along with his honed skills, will make him an impact player in this league for years to come. We’re thrilled to keep Zach on this Bulls team moving forward.”
LaVine appeared in only 24 games for the Bulls last season
”We’re excited now that we get to keep him,” Paxson said.
Deals have continued coming at a relatively slow pace since the July 1 opening day of free agency, when basically $1 billion in new contracts were agreed to in 24 hours – and only $400 million or so more in deals have been struck since.
Paul’s four-year, $160 million deal to stay in Houston was officially signed Sunday. He announced that he agreed to the terms of that contract right at 12:01 EDT on July 1, when free agency was officially beginning.
Also Sunday, a pair of veteran centers found new homes.
Zaza Pachulia is signing a one-year, $2.4 million contract with the Detroit Pistons after starting 127 regular-season games over the last two seasons with the Golden State Warriors – helping them win championships in both seasons. And Brook Lopez has agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, after spending last season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Both deals were confirmed to The Associated Press by people directly involved in the negotiations, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because neither had been formally announced by the clubs involved.
The three rookie receivers of the Green Bay Packers had a mixed debut.
J'Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown had their moments, but also showed room for improvement in the Green Bay Packers' 31-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.
Brown, a sixth-round pick from Notre Dame, had four catches for 61 yards, including a slick 28-yard catch-and-run to help set up Valdes-Scantling's touchdown.
Moore, a fourth-round pick from Missouri, had the toughest game of the three, catching three passes for 27 yards and dropping what would have likely been a long touchdown pass. Valdes-Scantling also dropped a pass.
"I thought they did a really good job getting off the line of scrimmage," coach Mike McCarthy said Friday.
"I thought their releases and attacking leverage, the young guys, frankly
As has been the case throughout camp, the young receiver who stole the show was Jake Kumerow.
He isn't a rookie. He's in his fourth training camp after two years on the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad and after spending time on the Packers' practice squad at the end of last season.
Kumerow, who has drawn praise from star quarterback Aaron Rodgers throughout camp, put an exclamation point on the game with a 52-yard touchdown catch from Boyle.
But while the 26-year-old Kumerow came from Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, he's had the advantage of NFL camp experience and has avoided the inconsistency the three rookie draft picks have exhibited.
That inconsistency drew Rodgers' ire late in the week after a particularly sloppy practice on Tuesday that McCarthy called "our worst practice of the year."
After that practice, Rodgers, who ran the scout-team offense because he wasn't going to play against the Titans, listed players who were doing things the right way, but left the three rookie receivers off that list.
While he never mentioned them by name, he left little doubt which players he was referring to for making repeated mistakes.
Valdes-Scantling had a leaping 51-yard catch on a deep pass by DeShone Kizer in the third quarter. He also made a nice in-the-air adjustment to pull down Boyle's pass on the touchdown, which gave the Packers a 24-10 lead with under four minutes left.
"Definitely. That's our leader
Moore's biggest disappointment came in the second half, on a deep ball from Boyle on third-and-8 from the Green Bay 35-yard line. While Moore did a terrific job of getting open on the go-route, he dropped the ball at the Titans 29-yard line. Had he caught it, it likely would have been a 65-yard touchdown.
"I'm going to move forward for sure," Moore said. "But it's definitely going to put a fire up underneath me and definitely have me dig deeper."