After being traded to the Bulls in an all-in move in 2020, Nikola Vucevic has not quite had the impact Chicago had hoped. He’s continued to post solid averages (17.6 points, 11 rebounds, 3.2 assists per game in 2022-23), but has seemed like a bit of an odd fit with Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.
That said, having given up a pair of first-round picks and Wendell Carter Jr. to get him, the Bulls entered this offseason needing to bring him back unless they planned to blow things up completely. With LaVine trade rumors subsiding and no draft night moves, the expectation was for them to bring Vucevic back to try one more time to coax the All-Star caliber play back out of the 32-year-old center. Sure enough, on Wednesday afternoon, word broke that Vucevic was returning to the Bulls on a deal worth $60 million over three years.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 28, 2023
Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic is finalizing a three-year, $60M contract extension, his agents Bill Duffy and Rade Fillipovich tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 28, 2023
With Vucevic back, it seems the Bulls hope is simply that things click in a way they haven’t since Lonzo Ball’s injury — Ball, it should be noted, is expected to miss all of next season. The problem for Chicago is there wasn’t a good alternative. Vucevic may not be playing at the All-Star level he was in Orlando when they traded for him, but he’s still highly productive and with a very light center market this summer, there weren’t many alternatives.
The questions about this deal will revolve around any sort of options or partial guarantee as it goes on, and of course, if Chicago will be able to move Vucevic should the team decide to go in another direction. But as of now, one thing is clear: Nikola Vucevic will remain a Bull.