August 21, 2018
Sacramento’s offer sheet for LaVine probably came in higher than Chicago would have liked, and the sunk cost fallacy surely played some role in their matching; LaVine was the most coveted piece in the Butler trade at the time. Walking away would have hurt.
I vehemently disagree with the idea LaVine was the most coveted piece of the Butler trade. At the time, I wished the Bulls would have kept their draft pick and not taken LaVine. For me, Dunn was the key piece. He didn’t get a lot of opportunity in the Thibs system, but the potential was there. Defensively, he has shown he can hang in this league. Offensively, he still has a lot of room to grow, especially in regards to taking care of the ball.
Obviously, the draft pick was a big deal too. I was pretty down on picking Markkanan at the time, but he has turned out to be the prize in the trade, which should’ve made letting LaVine go easier.
I don’t know if it would have been an option for the Bulls to have kept their own pick, while letting Minnesota keep LaVine and then swapping Butler for Dunn and the Markkanan pick, but a year later, I think I’ve been proven right.
Lowe, in his following piece points out how big of a deal getting off of Butler really was, which only makes me argue more for letting LaVine walk.
➲ The NBA supermax and the price of loyalty
With another All-NBA berth the next season (2017-18), Butler would qualify for a five-year, $220 million supermax — vaulting to a salary equivalent to 35 percent of the salary cap, 5 percentage points more than normal for a player at his experience level. The difference would amount to $25 million or more over the full deal. Add annual 8 percent raises that might outpace growth in the cap, and such a deal could soak up 40 percent of a team’s cap space on the back end. It is as large a commitment as exists in the NBA.