Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic has accomplished a lot in his NBA career. He's made the league's All-Star team twice and has averaged a double-double in each of his last five seasons. But while Vucevic is an incredibly talented scorer and rebounder, he's little more than a league-average defender, and his ineptness on that end reared its ugly head at times during the Bulls' 2022-23 campaign, which ended in the play-in tournament.
The Bulls' front office seemingly isn't concerned about Vucevic's flaws as a defender, though. Chicago has begun contract extension talks with the center, per The Athletic's Shams Charania, but Bulls Twitter isn't very happy to hear this news:
THIS JUST IN:
The Chicago Bulls have started contract extension talks with Nikola Vucevic, per @ShamsCharania.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) May 30, 2023
Why? This is a horrible move
— Justin Grubl (@j_mercy1) May 30, 2023
Better be a sign and trade
— zay bulls fan (@IDTwoZero20) May 30, 2023
Nikola Vucevic, 32, has played 12 years in the NBA and three as a member of the storied Bulls franchise. He averaged 17.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.7 blocks, 1.7 turnovers, and 2.2 personal fouls per game across 82 appearances this season (all starts).
The Swiss native shot the ball with great accuracy from the field in the 2022-23 campaign — Vucevic's 52.0% field-goal percentage was the second-highest of his entire pro career.
For the right price, Vucevic is worth re-signing. After all, there's no denying that his scoring, rebounding, and passing abilities are up there with the best big men in the NBA. But Vucevic is also not a max player, or even close to one, for that matter. If the Bulls can sign Vucevic for under $25 million per year, then they should. But if Vucevic wants more than that, the Bulls should explore the trade market and look to move him.