Bulls Big Man Reaches Out to $73M Sharpshooter

Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls

Getty Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Chicago Bulls celebrates.

We’ve seen this from Chicago Bulls (11-16) star Nikola Vucevic before. The most active Bulls player on Twitter, Vucevic has taken to the internet to chime in on any number of things from innocuous events like concerts featuring his favorite artists to trade rumors sending him out of town.

The latter saw the 13-year veteran joke about failed real estate ventures and how the rumor mill had insight into his thought process.

But Vucevic was also not shy about flaunting his part in the Bulls’ signing of Goran Dragic. He was also instrumental in bringing DeMar DeRozan – his former college teammate – and was the first in a series of moves made by Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas’ master plan to retain Zach LaVine.

Now, Vucevic has reached out to a former teammate through the platform.

Two-Way Read

The Bulls are gearing up for the second of three matchups with the New York Knicks (all in a nine-day span) after dropping the first meeting 128-120 in overtime. Before that meeting, Vucevic caught up with Knicks wing Evan Fournier.

Fournier was seen participating in some light shooting with Vucevic footage of which the latter used to send a shout-out to the former.

Vucevic and Fournier spent six-plus years together with the Orlando Magic before both were traded at the 2021 trade deadline. Fournier was shipped to the Boston Celtics and then was sign-and-traded to the New York Knicks the following season. Vucevic was brought to Chicago in a deal that has since been widely criticized.

“He’s a huge competitor,” Vucevic told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “He plays to win. He gives it all up. For sure it’s difficult for him to not be out there and not be able to play. Especially when he’s into his best years right now and he’s coming off a good season as well.”

Fournier is averaging 6.9 points on a career-worst 49.4% true shooting.

More concerning – considering he still has two years and $37 million remaining on his contract with a club option in the final year – is that the 6-foot-7 swingman is a career 38% shooter from deep but is connecting on just 33.3% of his long-range looks, also a career low.

He has been out of the Knicks’ rotation for the last 15 games which could put Vucevic’s (probably harmless) message in an interesting light.

Was the embattled big man pleading his case to be rescued from the disappointment and scrutiny that has plagued him in Chicago? Or was he once again acting as an intermediary (see: immune to tampering) for a Bulls team that he is at least partly responsible for helping to put together?

Fournier Fits Bulls’ Need

The Bulls are once again bringing up the rear in terms of three-point shooting this season ranking 30th in attempts and 13th in efficiency. It has played a large part in their inability to come through in the clutch this season as they rank 24th in clutch three-point attempts and 26th in efficiency.

Only one team is shooting worse and still boasting a record above .500 in clutch games, the Milwaukee Bucks.

As Vucevic suggested, the 30-year-old Fournier should still be in his prime. The issue is getting Fournier to the Bulls given his exorbitant price tag in addition to whatever compensation the surging Knicks may seek in return.

That could mean Vucevic going to New York is more likely than Fournier coming to Chicago.

The Bulls have not sought to extend Vucevic, who is in the final year of his contract, which could signal they are at least open to dealing him away. But they could be forced to explore other avenues to help sure up their three-point shooting woes if their intent really is to ride it out with this current core.

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