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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How much will it cost to re-sign Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls
Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls will have more leverage than you might expect when it comes to re-signing Nikola Vucevic.

In all contract negotiations, leverage is essential to being able to push forward an agenda and get a favorable deal done. On the one hand, it seems like the Bulls have next to no leverage with Vooch given that it was only two years ago that the team traded Wendell Carter Jr., the pick that became Franz Wagner and a top-4 protected first this year for Vooch. If Vooch were to walk away in free agency, leaving the Bulls with nothing in return, that would be perceived as a catastrophic failure for the Bulls’ front office. It’s from this perspective that Vooch and his representation are really going to be able to hold the Bulls’ feet to the fire.

The Bulls front office has two good responses they can make to this. First is the sunk cost fallacy. Just because the Bulls invested a lot of resources into Vooch in the past does not mean it is still a good idea to continue investing resources in him. A past decision, perhaps a bad one, is never a good justification for continued investment.

The second, and more compelling argument, would be for the Bulls to ask Vooch and his team who they are bidding against. In other words, what teams around the league are looking to win now (Vooch is on the other side of his prime), don’t have someone at the center position, and have cap space to potentially bid on Vooch this summer?

I am going to run through every team in the league and evaluate whether or not they’re a legitimate threat to sign Vooch. The following 20 teams have major money committed towards a center already and won’t even think about putting a deal together for Vooch.

Teams that already have a star big man:

  • Bucks (Giannis/Lopez)
  • 76ers (Embiid)
  • Nuggets (Jokic)
  • Lakers (Davis)
  • Timberwolves (Towns/Gobert)
  • Grizzlies (Jackson Jr./Adams)
  • Kings (Sabonis)

Teams with a promising young big man:

  • Cavaliers (Mobley/Allen)
  • Suns (Ayton)
  • Celtics (Williams III/Horford)
  • Hawks (Okongwu/Capela)
  • Magic (Carter Jr.)

Teams who have already committed big money to the center position:

  • Wizards (Porziņģis)
  • Pacers (Turner)
  • Knicks (Robinson/Hartenstein)
  • Trail Blazers (Nurkíc)
  • Pelicans (Valančiūnas)

That leaves the following teams: the Hornets, Pistons, Thunder, Mavericks, Jazz, Spurs, Rockets, Nets, Heat, and Raptors. These teams can be broken up into a few distinct groups, starting with the first of which I’ve named, “Wemby Land”.