Nikola Vucevic has not worked out for the Chicago Bulls so far. When the Bulls traded for Vučević, it seemed to be an absolute win for Chicago. When Vučević came in, the Bulls were 19-24 and looking to make that push to make themselves a threat in the playoffs. However, this absolute bargain has left the Bulls with buyer’s remorse.
The Chicago Bulls Will Regret the Nikola Vucevic Trade
Most people thought that Chicago was an outright winner of deadline day. Sending out Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter, and two first-round picks, while receiving Al-Farouq Aminu, and Vučević. It appeared to be a very successful deadline for a squad looking to establish themselves as a playoff team. Vučević is having the best season of his career, once again named an All-Star. The perfect counterpart to blossoming superstar Zach LaVine. So, what is going wrong for the Bulls and Vučević, and what does it mean for the future?
What is Going Wrong for the Chicago Bulls and Nikola Vucevic?
Since Vučević joined the Bulls, they have a disappointing record of 5-10. In those 15 games, despite averaging 22.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists, Vučević is a combine -97 in plus/minus since joining the Bulls. On March 24th, Chicago was the 10th seed and just three games back of the fourth seed. Now, less than a month later, they sit as the 12th seed, one game outside the play-in tournament. On the court, the issue with the Bulls is the consistency of their defensive efforts and turning the ball over. LaVine and Vučević are offensive all-stars, but both of their defensive talents leave something to be desired. Along with LaVine missing time among other players, the Bulls are in for a tough road ahead, and decisions need to be made.
If the battle for the Eastern Conference play-in spots finishes as it stands, the Bulls would lose out to the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards. However, the Bulls have won two out of their last three games, so the play-in tournament is definitely not out of the realm of possibilities. Whichever route the Bulls choose, they need to commit to it, otherwise, it could drastically hurt their future. This is because of the picks in the Vučević trade. The two first-round picks that Chicago sent are for 2021 and 2023. If Chicago is not careful, they could be sending a top ten pick to the Orlando Magic. However, there is a safety net. Both are conditional picks with top-four protection. Either Chicago needs to gather some momentum and find some determination to make some kind of playoff run, or they need to get their pick into the top four.
If Chicago plays this wrong and finishes as the 11th, 12th, or 13th seed, they could be risking an extremely valuable draft asset in an incredibly high-quality draft. And no one knows what that 2023 first-round pick might turn into. Either way, Chicago isn’t quite looking as smart as they were on deadline day and Orlando may have just pulled off the sneakiest trade of the 2020-2021 season.
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