Nikola Vucevic’s big purchase hints at future with Bulls

Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

In a surprising turn of events, Nikola Vucevic made headlines today with his decision to put down a hefty sum and purchase a four-story house in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. Although Vucevic has enjoyed a financially fruitful career to date, this is an unexpected decision considering his future with the Chicago Bulls still remains unclear.

Although the big man posted 17.6 points and 11 rebounds per game last season, the numbers don’t tell the full story here. Vucevic struggled offensively and had his least efficient scoring season since 2016-17, deservedly earning the ire of many Bulls fans. If Chicago is going to make a deep run next season, they’ll need Vucevic playing at his best.

Perhaps a new home will help him finally settle in, as he’s prepared to doll out $4.75 million on his new property on the North Side. Investing in real estate might make a lot of sense for Vucevic, as rumors spread that the Bulls are preparing to re-up their own investment in him through a potential contract extension.

By purchasing a four-story home in Lincoln Park, Nikola Vucevic may be signaling an intent to remain with the Chicago Bulls following this season.

With Vucevic’s contract set to expire after making $22 million with the Bulls this season, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the team’s intentions with him moving forward. The Bulls would likely be interested in bringing him back on a team-friendly deal, but Vucevic may not be interested in such a scenario with only a few years of his athletic prime left to maximize his earning potential.

Just this past offseason, four centers signed hefty deals in excess of $10 million or more per year. The first of which was Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton on a maximum four-year extension ($33 million annually), while Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic ($17.5 million annually), New York’s Mitchell Robinson ($15 million annually), and Orlando’s Mo Bamba ($10.3 million annually) all extended their contracts with their former teams.

While Vucevic may be a better player than all of those aforementioned players besides Ayton — and truthfully, he has an argument that his production and availability could put him above Ayton as well — I doubt the Bulls would be comfortable paying Vucevic in excess of $20 million again after this season concludes.

Perhaps a two-year deal in the $30-35 million range would work exceptionally well for both parties, keeping him as a cost-effective option while still compensating him fairly according to his value. Already over the salary cap, the Bulls will not be able to replace Vucevic’s production in free agency moving forward and would do well to retain him as an asset if possible.

Even after a down year, Vucevic is still easily a top 15 center in the NBA. When he’s on his game, his name even belongs with those in the top 10. For the first time in as long as I can remember, the Chicago Bulls are loaded up on talent at every position. Allowing Vucevic to walk now before lining up an adequate replacement would be a big failure on the front office’s end.

I’d hope that Chicago’s own merits and playing winning basketball would be enough to convince Vucevic to stay, but if that’s not enough, a multi-million property tying him down to the city certainly couldn’t hurt either.

Vucevic extension talks feel premature. dark. Next