Bulls rookie Dalen Terry introduced, but Zach LaVine talk steals show

The purpose of the press conference at the Advocate Center on Monday was to officially introduce No. 18 overall draft pick Dalen Terry.

It didn’t take long for Zach LaVine free agency talk to hijack the afternoon, however.

And it isn’t going away for the Bulls anytime soon.

Yes, there was a lot to like about Terry and his excitable personality since the team selected the Arizona product in the first round last week, but this remains the “Summer of Zach’’ and the decision that the two-time All-Star guard can make about his future as early as 5 p.m. this Thursday, when teams can begin negotiating free-agent deals.

Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has been very consistent in taking the stance for the organization that they do in fact want to keep LaVine in Chicago, even if that takes the five-year, nearly $215 million max deal to do.

He tripled down on that stance Monday.

“We’ve been very open that we hope Zach is here for a long time, and nothing has changed,’’ Karnisovas said.

When pressed about the confidence in LaVine’s left knee holding up after he had a clean-up surgery on it a few months back, Karnisovas responded, “I think he’s going to be healthy and he’s now progressing great. Like I said, looking forward to free agency.

“I’m confident. I’m confident in approaching this free agency, you know the next couple of days sitting down with our group, looking at a lot of things. And June 30, 6 p.m. Eastern Time, that’s when the conversations start.’’

They already have amongst LaVine’s teammates, who remained confident that he would be re-signing with the Bulls, according to a source.

That doesn’t mean LaVine won’t go through the process of listening to other teams and being wined and dined, but in conversations with teammates recently LaVine has insisted the Bulls were his first choice.

If LaVine doesn’t have a change of heart, that would mean a core of LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, and DeMar DeRozan for at least the start of the 2022-23 season.

“I think the last two years we’ve built – the way you can build your roster is three ways, right? Through your trades, through free agency and the draft,’’ Karnisovas said, when asked about keeping the core intact. “We’re tapping into all three of them. Continuity? Yes, because this group has been here only since October, so we’re still trying to get used to how to play with each other. The start of the season last year was really, really positive and how exactly we want to play.’’

That’s where Terry comes in. The defensive-minded wing isn’t necessarily a game-changer for the starting unit, as much as another piece to building a foundation of a collection of competitive players.

“The one thing that I respect that AK and [general manager] Marc [Eversley] and his staff are doing is it’s like the same situation with Ayo [Dosunmu] last year with the competitive mentality,’’ coach Billy Donovan said, when discussing Terry’s role. “And I think the one thing that stood out with people you speak to [about Terry] is just his energy, his enthusiasm, his eagerness to get better and grow.

“It’s hard to say right now what his role would be because we’ve got to get the whole group together, but like we’ve spoken a couple times – draft night and over the weekend – I think he’s very eager to learn and to improve, and as long as he keeps that mentality than his talent level will continue to get better. That’s what we want to continue to do here is bring in guys like that, that have that same spirit and mentality. [Terry] has a great deal of that.’’

Source : https://chicago.suntimes.com/bulls/2022/6/27/23185123/bulls-dalen-terry-introduced-zach-lavine-talk-steals-show

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