Bulls, Nikola Vucevic negotiating extension

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Chicago Bulls, Nikola Vucevic negotiating extension

The Chicago Bulls and Nikola Vucevic are negotiating a contract extension, according to sources. Vucevic, 32, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. However, a new deal for the two-time All-Star is on the horizon. Both sides have until June 30 to work out an extension.

Vucevic earned $22 million with Chicago in the 2022-23 season. “The Bulls have opened up extension conversations with their starting center Nikola Vucevic,” reported Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. “Sources tell me there is mutual interest in getting a deal done.”

According to a few NBA betting sites, the San Antonio Spurs are projected to take top prospect Victor Wembanyama first overall in next month’s draft. The Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls each forfeited second-round picks for tampering violations.

Vucevic played a full 82-game season for the first time of his 12-year career. He was the only center to appear in every game. The USC product averaged 17.6 points, 11 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 33.5 minutes per game with the Chicago Bulls. He also shot 52% from the field and 34.9% beyond the arc.

In July 2019, the 6-foot-10 center signed a four-year, $100 million contract with the Orlando Magic. In March 2021, Orlando then traded Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu to Chicago for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter, a 2021 first-round draft pick (Franz Wagner was later selected), and a 2023 first-rounder.

Chicago Bulls have opened up extension conversations with starting center Nikola Vucevic, as the offseason approaches

Additionally, Vucevic finished the 2022-23 season with the third-most double-doubles (51) in the NBA this year and led the league in defensive rebounds (744). He only trailed Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis (973) in total rebounds with 903 as well.

The Chicago Bulls retaining Vooch is imperative, considering Lonzo Ball’s NBA career could be over due to a meniscus tear in his left knee. After multiple surgeries, Ball has struggled to overcome his knee injury during rehabilitation when his physical activity is increased.

Moreover, Vucevic ranked second in defensive win shares (4.4) this past regular season behind Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley (4.8) and third in defensive rebound percentage (30.2%).

Vucevic logged 2,746 minutes in 82 appearances, finishing fourth overall behind Brooklyn Nets’ Mikal Bridges (2,963), Minnesota Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards (2,842), and fellow Bulls teammate Zach LaVine (2,768).

Chicago finished 40-42 and ninth overall in the Eastern Conference standings, missing the playoffs for the second time under head coach Billy Donovan.

In the 2021-22 season, the Chicago Bulls went 46-36 and placed sixth in the East. During the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Bulls lost in five games against the Milwaukee Bucks.

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