Chicago Bulls, NBA Trade Rumors, Orlando Magic

Bulls swing for the fences, pull off huge trade for Nikola Vucevic

The Chicago Bulls appear to be done playing it slowly. They’ve engineered a huge deal to land Nikola Vucevic from the Orlando Magic.

Not too deep in the season, trade rumors had the Chicago bulls considering trading both Zach LaVine and Thad Young. But LaVine has continued to impress, earning his first career All-Star appearance and now the Bulls have pivoted to buying instead of selling.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Chicago Bulls have traded Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr. and two first-round picks to the Orlando Magic for Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu. The two picks are 2021 and 2023 first-rounders with this year’s pick top-four protected, meaning the Bulls won’t miss out on a (longshot) chance of nabbing Cade Cunningham if they were to miss the playoffs.

Can Nikola Vucevic make the Chicago bulls a competitor in the Eastern Conference?

The Bulls are currently 10th in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games out of a playoff spot. Vucevic is a huge upgrade who could help not just chase a playoff spot this season but potentially turn that appearance into a deeper run. Vucevic has been having a career year, averaging 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game, shooting 40.6 percent from beyond the arc on more than six attempts per game. He’s one of the most polished offensive big men in the game, capable of making a difference from a variety of spots on the floor. He’ll anchor a frontcourt that had yet to coalesce around the seemingly complementary upsides of Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.

Carter Jr. is still finding his feet in the NBA but he’s proven to be a reliable finisher, passer and defender from the center position and should absolutely have a role on a now rebuilding Magic team. This deal also likely signals future trades for both teams. Vucevic’s departure makes it more likely the Magic deal Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier and potentially even Terrence Ross. Meanwhile, Chicago is reportedly listening to offers on Lauri Markkanen as they look to complete an overhauled frontcourt.

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