2. Nikola Vucevic
Like most players currently on the Bulls’ roster, I don’t actually expect Nikola Vucevic to be on the move in February. League-wide demand for Vooch’s services is probably at an all-time low, and selling low him now right when he’s just started picking things back up feels a little foolish. As long as the team keeps winning, I expect them to maintain the course. But if they do start to falter, Scotto does make a few good points.
"“When I talk to executives around the league, they think – barring a trade – that he (Nikola Vucevic) would remain with Chicago because it almost feels like they have to keep him long-term, given all the assets they gave up for him. In theory, could a team like the Lakers use him? He played at USC in college. There are some other potential storylines and teams that would have interest in a guy like him, but you’d think all the ducks would line up where he’d return.”"
If the Bulls do decide to pull the trigger in either direction — either to make moves to compete now or to blow up the roster to rebuild — Vucevic would undoubtedly be one of the first pieces to be moved in either scenario. It’s for this reason then, that Vooch finds himself placed high on this list.
After failing to secure an extension in the preseason, Nikola Vucevic’s place on the Chicago Bulls is becoming increasingly tenuous.
Despite his performance picking up as of late, including a career-high 43 points against the Warriors a few days ago, it’s impossible to ignore the fact he’s simply a bad roster fit. As the third star on the roster, his offensively-oriented game is simply redundant alongside the superior threats in DeRozan and LaVine.
Chicago would likely significantly improve as a team if they had a player that could anchor the low post on defense, even if that player was a downgrade in a vacuum. Brooklyn’s Nic Claxton and Boston’s Robert Williams are great examples here, each of whom has helped their team surge to the top of the Eastern Conference.
In fact, no other serious contender besides Denver has a player that fits Vooch’s mold at center; bad defense at the five is simply an unacceptable flaw amongst the NBA’s elite teams. For that reason, it makes sense for the Bulls to fish for a better fit at the trade deadline if they can find an equitable deal.