The Chicago Bulls announced late Wednesday afternoon that they had signed veteran center Nikola Vucevic to an extension. The deal is reportedly worth three years and expected to be $60M. Though, the most important thing will be the deal keeps Vucevic off the free agent market.
The Bulls acquired Vucevic from the Orlando Magic at the 2021 trade deadline. Since arriving in Chicago, the 32-year-old has averaged 18.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game with a .492/.342/.812 shooting line in 181 total regular season appearances (33.2 MPG).
Though, the big man might not be an elite defender. He is a talented scorere and rebounder who has been very consistent during his time with the Bulls. Nikola Vucevic had become extension eligible this past offseason, so he didn’t have to wait til the free agency market opened on Saturday if the goal was to re-sign with the team.
The Bulls payed a hefty price in order to get the two-time All-Star, so letting him walk into free agency would have been a questionable move. Not to mention, they would have been over the salary cap with or without Vucevic and wouldn’t have been able to afford a replacement. Now, that they have their big man locked up the Bulls can shift their focus to free agency. The Bulls project to be about $27MM below the luxury tax line after signing Vucevic, though that could be more or less depending on the structure of the extension.
For teams looking to get a center in this years free agency, the already thin group took another hit with both Vucevic and Naz Reid both signing deals with their respective teams.
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