How much will it cost to keep Nikola Vucevic on the Bulls?

Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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This offseason, the Chicago Bulls have three key players they will need to consider re-signing, Coby White, Ayo Dosumnu, and Nikola Vučević. Earlier this week, we covered how much the Bulls will have to spend to keep Coby White so it seems appropriate to create a full picture of the Bulls’ offseason projections.

The salary cap always feels like it should be easy to understand, the league says teams have x amount of dollars to spend and the Bulls have y amount on the books next year so the Bulls have x-y to spend, but it always finds a way to become more complicated on closer inspection.

The long and the short of the salary cap for the Bulls is that next season we have about 43 million to spend. I believe that 43 million should be more than enough to re-sign both White and Vučević, and get another player in free agency because Vooch’s market value may be lower than one might expect.

The market for centers in their 30s helps grant a clearer picture of what the Bulls can expect to pay to re-sign Nikola Vucevic.

There are lots of ways to try and figure out how much a player is worth. You can base your estimate on their previous contract, you do it based on their current production, their predicted future production or you can attempt to value the contract based on the market. It is that final approach, of comparing Vooch to other similar players, that I will use to estimate how much he is worth to the Bulls.

In October, Vooch turned 32 years old. Here is a list of all the centers aged 30 and over that average 15+ minutes per game this season and how much they are being paid:

  • Rudy Gobert– Five years, $205,000,002– $41,000,000 AAV (average annual value)
  • Al Horford–  Two years, $19,500,000 – $9,750,000 AAV
  • Brook Lopez–  Four years, $52,000,000 – $13,000,000 AAV
  • Jonas Valančiūnas–  Two years, $30,135,000 – $15,067,500 AAV
  • Kelly Olynyk–  Three years, $37,195,122 – $12,398,374 AAV
  • Mason Plumlee–  Three years, $24,662,500 –  $8,220,833 AAV
  • Dwight Powell–  Three years, $33,240,375 – $11,080,125 AAV

If we toss out Rudy Gobert, who is a four-time All-NBA player and a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, we start to see a pretty clear range for centers in their 30s: $8-15 million. Now Vooch’s representation would come back and say the obvious, his production has been way better than everyone on that list aside from Gobert and Brook Lopez. Vooch’s representation would most likely point to the following contracts:

  • Jusuf Nurkíc– Four years, $70,000,000 – 17,500,000 AAV
  • Mitchell Robinson– Four years, $60,000,000 – $15,000,000 AAV
  • Clint Capela– Two years, $46,000,000 – $23,000,000 AAV
  • Myles Turner– Two years, $40,000,000 – $20,000,000AAV

The only catch is that all of those guys are in their prime or about to enter their primes, each with their deals expiring before they turn 32 (all before 30 except Nurkíc). Despite that, let’s still make an edit to the range in light of this information, 10-20 million AAV for Vooch.