I was dumb. Some may take it easier on me and say I was being optimistic; gullible perhaps. However, when you get down to it, I was just plain dumb. I knew better. I should have known what happened would happen, but a part of me wanted to believe it wouldn’t. A part of me wanted to believe no team would be dumb enough to offer Chicago Bull Zach LaVine an offer sheet that would drastically overpay him for a number of years. That used to happen all the time, but teams these days are smarter, right? I mean, they pour millions into their analytics departments and have more data than ever to analyze. They hired Ivy league graduates to run their front offices. They make smart and calculated decisions. They have seen firsthand over the years that teams who shell out major dollars to unproven talent almost immediately experience symptoms of severe buyers remorse. Teams are too smart these days. They have too much knowledge at their fingertips not to be.
With all of this knowledge, you would think no team would offer LaVine, a player coming off of an ACL injury who has suspect offensive abilities and Carmelo Anthony-like defensive aspirations, anything over $15 million a year, right? Probably less even, one would think, especially with the lack of activity so far this summer among restricted free agents. I mean, Clint Capela, a far more superior player and restricted free agent himself, was offered a 4-year, $60 million contract by the Houston Rockets. That type of deal had to be the ceiling for LaVine, right? Wrong; so very wrong.
Enter the Sacramento Kings; the punching bag of the NBA. Last Friday, the Kings extended a 4-year, $78 million offer sheet to LaVine, crushing any hopes of the Bulls retaining LaVine at a fair price. The Kings haven’t made the playoffs in 12 years, the longest drought in the NBA by four years. Their lack of ability to assemble a semi-competent team is borderline malpractice. Their ability to evaluate talent is comparable to a burning building. This is the same team that have selected bonafide all-stars like Georgio Papagiannis, Nik Stauskas, Jimmer Fredette, Thomas Robinson, and Ben McLemore. This is the same team that traded away Boogie Cousins, the only star player they have had over the past decade, for pennies on the dollar, even though he ACTUALLY wanted to stay in Sacramento for his career. You read that correctly; he wanted to live in a city that, according to TripAdvisor, ranks going to the California State Railroad Museum as the #1 “Thing to do” in Sacramento. Even a train enthusiast (i think that is an actual thing) would find that to be depressing as LiAngelo Ball’s basketball career . Note to Sacramento; when someone actually wants to stay in your city, you keep them. When the fact that “Ladybird” was filmed in your city is the biggest selling point you have (as well as the Railroad Museum apparently), you keep anybody resembling a star in town.
The Sacramento Kings are a basketball dystopia and our Bulls wasted little time entering the city limits of the chaos which is Sacramento by almost immediately matching the Kings offer. We had 48 hours to make a decision; wouldn’t you use at least like a few hours to sit down and mull this over? Maybe sleep on it? Nope. Take the money LaVine; you earned it?
A lot of people believed we had to keep LaVine or the Jimmy Butler trade would have all been for nothing. Smart people believe that the Bulls shouldn’t be taking personal cues from an organization that makes decisions like a drunken frat boy on $3 dollar Thursday. No one thought LaVine was worth that type of money except the Kings and the Bulls; let that sink in. We are heading in the right direction (how dam good does Wendell Carter Jr. look), but decisions like this makes the Bulls look dumb. Dumb like me.