Attention Windy City hoops fans; Fire up NBA 2K21, refresh your cable or streaming services deals. The Chicago Bulls‘ front office has pumped some life back into their organization.
On Thursday morning, just hours before the NBA trade deadline, the Bulls agreed to a massive four-player trade that has landed them two-time All-Star center Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu from the Orlando Magic.
In exchange, the Bulls sent Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr., a Top-4 protected 2021 and 2023 first-round pick.
Nikola Vucevic (3 yr / $72m)
Al-Farouq Aminu (2 yr / $20m)
2021 1st Rd Pick (Top 4 Protected)
2023 1st Rd Pick (Top 4 Protected) pic.twitter.com/NoxaML2z7i
— Chicago Bulls Rumors (@chicagobullsbot) March 25, 2021
That high-screen-and-roll action with Zach LaVine is going to look a lot different.
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Twitter Reaction to the Bulls’ Major Deal
Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley recognized the need to change the team’s culture, and they acquired Vucevic to help assist in that change.
Chicago's leadership — Arturas Karnisovas, Marc Eversley and Billy Donovan — wanted to bring on productive, serious-minded veteran player to be a cornerstone for the Bulls. They get one with All-Star center Nikola Vucevic, who's been a pillar with Orlando.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Bulls just got a center capable of doing something no one in team history has ever done.
Nikola Vucevic is one of four players averaging 24 PPG and 10 RPG this season (Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid).
No Bulls player has ever reached those marks in one season. https://t.co/771Bs4Azcl
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 25, 2021
FanSided’s Daniel Greenberg marvels at this front office’s ability to move in silence.
The Chicago Bulls weren't even mentioned in the trade rumors for Nikola Vucevic.
Love this front office. We got the right guys in charge.
Love this move. Just love it.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) March 25, 2021
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor seems to love the deal for the Bulls.
I love this for the Bulls. Nikola Vucevic can give them today what they hoped Wendell Carter someday would as a perimeter playmaking hub. Zach LaVine will get even better with Vucevic as his partner in pick-and-roll and handoff actions. LaVine-Vucevic will be a potent duo. https://t.co/9MQ6Dzj0uu
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) March 25, 2021
StatMuse offered yet another encouraging post on the Bulls’ newest acquisition and fresh dynamic duo.
There are four players averaging 24+ PTS, 40+ 3P%, 6+ 3PA per game this season.
Two of them play for the Bulls. pic.twitter.com/PhCYBmtGRd
— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 25, 2021
Did the Bulls Fleece the Magic?
The answer to that question is complicated, but I’ll say no, for now. Did Chicago get the better of this trade as of today? Without question, the answer is yes.
The Bulls sent Orlando a talented but inconsistent big man in Carter Jr., an oft-injured, overpaid veteran in Porter Jr., and two first-round picks that are both Top-4 protected.
In return, they got a center who is arguably one of the five-best at his position in the NBA, which immediately gives the Bulls a scoring presence they have badly needed to go alongside LaVine.
On the flip side, the Magic, who are embracing a complete rebuild (they also traded Evan Fournier to the Boston Celtics and Aaron Gordon to the Denver Nuggets), did procure what could be precious draft picks. Orlando will be awful for the rest of this season, which will improve their chances of landing a player like Cade Cunningham or Jalen Suggs in the upcoming NBA Draft.
Because of these dynamics the presence of Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony and the oft-injured Jonathan Isaac, it could be argued Orlando’s future is bright.
However, the Bulls’ pick is Top-4 protected, so they can’t double down on the probability of getting one of those prospects. Still, if Chicago grinds their way into the playoffs, which it appears they should be able to do thanks to the new acquisitions, the Magic should be getting their pick(s) which could be anywhere from 17-21 in June.
If Orlando hits on the 2021 pick and the one in 2023, they have to come away satisfied with the deal in the long-term.
Vucevic is 30 years old. While he’s still in his prime, he’s a little too old for the direction Orlando is headed, thus moving him was a good idea for the Magic.
However, the onus is now on that front office to make something out of Carter and the two new first-round picks they are likely to gain.
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