Bulls Star Touts ‘Really Cool’ Link to Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic After Finals Win

Chicago Bulls

Getty Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets.

What’s in a name? For Chicago Bulls big man Nikola Vucevic, it’s one connection to Denver Nuggets star – and, now NBA Champion and Finals MVP – Nikola Jokic.

“There is something really cool about the name Nikola,” Vucevic tweeted on June 12.

Jokic, 28, averaged 30.2 points, 14.0 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 1.4 blocks during the NBA Finals. His 30.0/13.5/9.5 line in the postseason has only been broached by Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, per Stathead.

With the Nuggets’ win, the Bulls’ future has come into a bit of focus with executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas coming from Denver to overhaul the Bulls in that image. It has not produced quite the same results, to say the least, but the idea of what they want to do is in place.

Vucevic, 32, is the Bulls’ version of Jokic if only in that he is a multi-faceted offensive hub.

The two-time All-Star Vucevic is able to be a scorer, passer, or rebounder and, when he’s been utilized correctly, things have tended to happen for the Bulls.

Shot attempts are never the end-all, be-all of a player’s impact on an offense or game. But the Bulls went 16-9 in 2022-23 when Vucevic took at least 16 shots from the floor and 24-33 when he did not.

Vucevic averaged 17.6 points and 11.0 rebounds this past season with 3.2 assists while shooting 52.0% from the floor and 34.9% from beyond the arc. It was just the sixth time in NBA history that a player has produced such a line and Vucevic is the only player on the list – which includes Jokic – twice.

Nikola Vucevic’s Future With Bulls Still Up in the Air

Vucevic is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Both he and Karnisovas have expressed a willingness to work out an extension and have even begun having talks to that end with Chicago eyeing a three-year deal, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Time.

They have good reason since he’s been one of the most reliable players in his career.

“Vucevic, one of the more durable centers, turns 33 in October,” wrote ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks. “He has played three straight seasons of 70-plus games, including 82 this year. His 225 games played ranks eighth among all centers. Vucevic had a career-high 57.6% effective field goal percentage and averaged at least 10 rebounds for a fifth straight season.”

Vucevic is coming off a four-year, $100 million contract and could see a short-term bump in pay after being so consistent. He has said the Bulls would have priority in negotiations so their early talks are a show of good faith if nothing else.

He has also said he will explore his options in free agency.

Nikola Vucevic, Wife Welcome Third Child

Vucevic noted at the start of his exit interview in April that his wife was due with their third child and, on June 11, the Bulls pivot welcomed baby Lazar to the world, introducing the baby to social media the following day.

Vucevic still owns a home in Orlando and has said that he would play for the Magic again someday. However, not only might the timing not be right with Orlando, but he could also be eager to sign that deal to gain some stability with the new addition to the family.

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