Bulls Insider

Reinsdorf: Bulls ‘absolutely' will pay tax for contender


Jerry Reinsdorf said it in the past. Michael Reinsdorf is saying it for the present and future.

If the Chicago Bulls have a title-contending team, ownership will sign off on paying the luxury tax.

“Absolutely. All you have to do is go back and look at the last number of championship teams, how many of them were in the luxury tax? With the nature of the NBA and having a soft cap, if you want to compete for championships, you have to be willing to spend into the tax,” Michael Reinsdorf said on the latest edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast. “I think most people will tell you, ‘I don’t want to spend into the tax if we’re not competing for championships, if we’re not good enough. I don’t want to be the 8th seed or out of the playoffs and go into the luxury tax.’

"But when it comes to a team like this (the Bulls), and if we can take the necessary steps next year that allow us to compete for a championship, then for sure we’ll go into the tax. It’s part of the nature of the NBA.”

One of those necessary steps is signing unrestricted free agent Zach LaVine to a long-term contract. If LaVine makes All-NBA, he’ll be eligible for a supermax contract. But either way, he’s looking at a multi-year deal worth north of $200 million.

“My hope is that he’s here for years to come,” Reinsdorf said. “And Zach knows how we feel about him.”

The Bulls have paid the luxury tax once in franchise history. They were on target to do so for a second season but traded Luol Deng, who was set to be a free agent, in January 2014 after Derrick Rose tore his meniscus for his second season-ending knee injury.

“That was a particular circumstance. You’re not going to see us make trades like that when we’re competing for championships,” Reinsdorf said. “That doesn’t make any sense.”

In general, the Bulls have acted like the big-market team they are in Karnišovas’ tenure. They’ve hired new management and coaching staffs. They’ve built out the player development and scouting departments. They’ve carried 15-man rosters and, just recently, used part of their biannual exception to win the buyout market for Tristan Thompson.

“We’re going to spend the money because you have to invest in your team,” Reinsdorf said. “I’m looking forward to it, because if we’re spending in the tax, that means we have a really good team.”

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