According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Bulls are looking to keep Nikola Vucevic for the next three years, which could make Bulls fans sad.
The Chicago Bulls made the Play-In Tournament but couldn’t actually break through into the actual playoffs. Despite a disappointing season, they sound prepared to bring back the same core.
According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Bulls are looking to lock up Nikola Vucevic for the next three years. The article does not state how much money Vucevic will make per year but one could guess it is in the $25-30 million range.
"“Project “Blow Up’’ is not an option, according to Karnisovas, who seems fine with staying on the path of continuity. The organization is content to hold out hope for a miraculous Lonzo Ball recovery from three surgeries on his left knee, while beginning negotiations on Nikola Vucevic’s contract extension over the last week. The Bulls are looking to lock up the big man for the next three years.”"
Re-signing Vucevic may be locking the Bulls into the middle of the pack in the East and muddies their future. It seems like the only hope of escaping the Play-In Tournament, in that case, would be the return of Lonzo Ball.
Why would the Bulls re-sign Nikola Vucevic?
Even if Karnisovas doesn’t want to resign Vucevic, the Bulls’ hands are pretty much tied at this point with the number of assets they gave up to trade for him a couple of seasons ago. A new GM could most likely choose a different direction but AK is stuck with playing out the hand he dealt himself. The first pick the Bulls gave up for Vucevic turned into Franz Wagner. The second will be the No. 11 pick in this year’s draft. In addition, Wendell Carter has turned into a solid rotation piece for Orlando.
Vucevic, meanwhile, has put up decent numbers but hasn’t been able to help elevate the core of DeMar DeRozan and Zach Lavine.
It seems like the Bulls are focused on making the play-in and at best losing in the first round to a top seed. This is not much of a change from the previous era of Chicago management. If Lonzo Ball was healthy, maybe this team could make the second round of the playoffs. With Ball out for the future and his big contract on the books, this team is stuck in no-man land.
Check out The Step Back for more news, analysis, opinion and unique basketball coverage. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to our daily email newsletter, The Whiteboard.