Zach LaVine is the centerpiece of the Bulls' rebuild. This is indisputable.

What is open to discussion is how much that is worth.

Monday brings the deadline to extend LaVine's rookie-scale contract. And while talks between management and LaVine's representation have been cordial, there's a growing sense that that value will be determined next summer. LaVine would be a restricted free agent then, allowing the Bulls to match any offer he receives.

Deadlines have a funny way of forcing progress, so things can change over the final hours. However, initial talks have revealed the Bulls may prefer to wait until next summer, when their financial flexibility can be manipulated around whatever LaVine ultimately re-signs for and injury concerns are allayed.

The Bulls have made clear that, barring an unexpected setback in LaVine's return from left ACL surgery, re-signing him is a matter of when, not if.

"I want to be here for a long period of time," LaVine said at media day Sept. 25. "If (an extension is) now or later, I know it's going to be done either way."

LaVine projects to be cleared for contact in November, nine months after his left ACL tear. His rehab has gone smoothly. He is watching practice and casually dunked as coach Fred Hoiberg addressed reporters before Sunday's practice.