Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley will have their hands full this offseason as the fanbase demands an explanation as to why the Chicago Bulls are being mismanaged and submitting substandard performances on the court. With no pick to spend in the upcoming draft, our eyes turn to free agency instead, where negotiations are set to officially begin on June 30.
Now, it seems the front office is attempting to be proactive in solving these issues long before we even reach the official start of free agency. Instead of letting him test his value on the open market, the Chicago Bulls are allegedly working toward a multi-year contract extension with former All-Star center Nikola Vucevic.
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the front office intends to stay the course and commit to the vision they saw when originally constructing this roster in the summer of 2021.
"“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. Big swings aren’t in the summer forecast.”"
Reports indicate the Chicago Bulls are looking to extend Nikola Vucevic to a deal that would expire when he turns 35 years old.
Although Cowley has built up a negative reputation with many Chicago-based sports fans for his overall pessimistic demeanor and negative commentary on the Bulls, this doesn’t seem like an unfounded report here. After Shams Charania reported earlier in the week that the Bulls were actively working to re-sign Vucevic, it should come as no surprise that we’re beginning to see the details of this deal leak in advance.
After massively improving on his efficiency and shooting percentages this past season, I can certainly understand why Arturas Karnisovas would be unwilling to let the big man walk for nothing. Vucevic was at times the Bulls’ most consistent player this year and is arguably the most talented center in this year’s free agency class, losing him while having very little cap flexibility to find an adequate replacement could very well end in disaster.
Still, I can’t help but find myself agreeing with Cowley here, in that this is a “dangerous mindset” for the front office to have in regard to the way this team has been set up to win. There has not been, and likely never will be, a team that won a championship while led by three offensively-oriented players. This much is especially true when no player on the Bulls roster is currently a top-20 talent in the league.
We’re witnessing what true superstar talent can achieve with Nikola Jokic and Jimmy Butler in the NBA Finals right now. By committing to a subpar core of players, the Bulls are only delaying the inevitable here. Vucevic’s minutes and money could be put to better use if allocated to a more seamless fit for this team moving forward, but it looks like we fans may be staring down another mediocre season next year.