Nikola Vucevic Gets ‘9’ and Patrick Williams Accepts New Jersey Number

Getty Nikola Vucevic

The Chicago Bulls appear to have been the big winners at the NBA Trade deadline on Thursday. The team made two major deals on the day. The most significant trade landed All-Star center Nikola Vucevic from the Orlando Magic.

Vucevic has worn the No. 9 jersey his entire career, but that’s also the number prized Bulls rookie Patrick Williams has been wearing. What gives? The rookie, of course.

Per the Bulls’ official Twitter account, Vucevic will be wearing No. 9 with the Bulls, and Williams is switching to No. 44.

Based on pro experience and Williams’ attitude, you had to know Vucevic would get the digits. Williams hasn’t done enough in the league to feel justified in standing on his number or even charging Vucevic a fee to get him to switch.

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Who are the best players in Bulls history to wear 9 and 44?

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The Best Bulls 9s

There have been ten players in Bulls history to wear the No. 9 jersey. Quite frankly, Vucevic won’t have to play well for too long to surpass most of them. 

The best No. 9s ever in Bulls history? You can debate whether or not Ron Harper’s three NBA championship rings in the Windy City are enough to push him past Luol Deng’s longer tenure and superior statistics.

Either way, those two are at the top of the list. 

Rajon Rondo and John Starks were significant villains of the Bulls while members of the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, respectively. Both played a single season in Chicago. Rondo made more of an impact, but again, he only played with the Bulls for a year.

Here’s a complete list of all the players in Bulls history to have worn No. 9, per Basketball-Reference.

  • Johnny Baum
  • Antonio Blakeney
  • Rick Brunson
  • Luol Deng
  • Ron Harper
  • Don Kojis
  • Rajon Rondo
  • John Starks
  • Ken Wilburn
  • Patrick Williams
  • Dedric Willoughby

The Best Bulls 44s

Williams has an incredibly high ceiling, and he’s shown some flashes in his rookie season. That said, he’ll have to put together at least three or four strong seasons before he can surpass Nikola Mirotic as the greatest No. 44 in Bulls history.

Some may even consider the talented scoring guard Quintin Dailey equal or ahead of Mirotic on this list. The only others worth a mention in Club 44 are Trenton Hassell and Adrian Griffin. 

Here is a look at all of the other players in Bulls history who have worn No. 44.

  • Dalibor Bagaric
  • Mario Bennett
  • Corie Blount
  • Quintin Dailey
  • Adrian Griffin
  • Trenton Hassell
  • Tom Kropp
  • Nikola Mirotic
  • Paul Ruffner
  • Brandon Sampson
  • Andre Wakefield

When’s the Next Game?

In addition to Vucevic, the Bulls also added Al-Farouq Aminu, Daniel Theis, Javonte Green, and Troy Brown Jr. at the deadline while shipping out Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford, Otto Porter Jr., and Chandler Hutchinson. 

The new Bulls, except Theis, who is tending to a family matter, per NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson–will make their Chicago debut on Saturday on the road against the San Antonio Spurs.

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