Bulls Urged to Trade Nikola Vucevic For Playoff Push

Nikola Vucevic

Getty Nikola Vucevic #9, Chicago Bulls

In a January 2 Bleacher Report story, Andy Bailey listed one player from each NBA team that needs to be traded. When he got to the Chicago Bulls, he explained why the Bulls should trade Nikola Vucevic.

“He’s 32 years old and hasn’t fit in Chicago the way anyone hoped he might (during his two-plus seasons there, the Bulls are minus-2.6 points per 100 possessions with Vučević on the floor and plus-2.0 without him), but there may be an organization out there intrigued by his combination of passing and three-point shooting from the 5.

“And if the Bulls are still interested in pushing for the playoffs this season, moving Vučević and prioritizing defense around DeRozan and LaVine is probably the way to go.”

In this scenario, the Bulls wouldn’t trade Vucevic to rebuild but rather to re-tool for a possible playoff run. The question remaining is, should it come to that, what kind of re-tooling package would the Bulls get for the two-time all-star?

The Bulls are 16-20 and are currently fighting to stay in the play-in picture.

Goran Dragic Defends Vucevic

Goran Dragic defended Vucevic while talking with Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, comparing his production to NBA Hall-of-Famer Chris Bosh when he had to adjust from his role with the Toronto Raptors to one he had with the Miami Heat.

“People don’t get it,’’ Dragic told Cowley. ‘‘They don’t. They only see the numbers. That’s not fair. I know CB [Bosh], and CB talked about that a lot. When he was in Toronto, he was averaging 22, 24 points a game. Getting touches. Then when he goes to Miami, he had seasons where he averaged 16, and then everybody, the media was bashing him. Fans, too. But he was doing so many little things for the team so that [James and Dwyane Wade] could jell. Things you don’t see in the stats, things that people don’t understand.

“That’s why when I talk about sacrifice . . . it’s easy to talk about sacrifice if it’s not you. And if it’s not you, who’s doing the sacrificing? When your time comes to sacrifice, everyone can see what you’re really about.’’

Dragic then detailed how the situations are similar to one another.

“When you have to do what Chris or ‘Vooch’ is doing, it’s not possible to live up to previous expectations,’’ Dragic said. “There’s only one ball and three guys that can score. Each guy can score in different ways from a different position. At the end of the day, it should be just about winning. Miami conquered that.

“A guy like CB that sacrifices like that, that might be one of the biggest keys to them getting those championships.’’

Bosh won two consecutive championships with the Heat in 2012 and 2013 while making four consecutive NBA Finals appearances from 2011 to 2014. Bosh prematurely retired from the NBA in 2019 due to recurring blood clots in his lungs.

Bulls Urged to Keep Ayo Dosunmu

In a Jan 1 NBC Sports Chicago story, Bulls insider K.C. Johnson explained why he believes it’s in the Bulls’ best interest to keep second-year guard Ayo Dosunmu.

“Dosunmu looks poised for a double-digit year career. He’s tough, versatile, and contributes whether he starts or comes off the bench. While he still can improve his shooting and ability to run a team, he’s reliable and relentless. In-game failure doesn’t deter him.

“As a player who fell to the second round, Dosunmu signed a modest, two-year $2.5 million deal. He stands to earn a significant raise. Would a three-year, $30 million deal get the job done? Time will tell. But the Bulls should make every effort to make this negotiation a smooth one.”

Dosunmu is slated to hit restricted free agency this season. Unless the Bulls make it crystal clear that they don’t want him back long-term, they can match whatever offer he gets this coming offseason.

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