In a trade idea designed to give the Chicago Bulls some much-needed scoring punch alongside Zach LaVine, Bleacher Report recommended a deal that would send Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic to the Windy City in exchange for three key rotation players and a future draft selection.
As explained by the outlet’s Zach Buckley, Chicago’s “insufficient” firepower was the main reason why the team finished 29th in the NBA in offensive efficiency, given that LaVine was the only Bull to average at least 15 points per game. Second-year big man Wendell Carter Jr., on the other hand, was the only player in the organization to shoot at least 46 percent while scoring in double figures.
“If the Bulls, who haven’t sent anyone to the All-Star Game since Jimmy Butler made the trip in 2017, want to give their offense some oxygen, putting it in the hands of Vucevic isn’t a bad idea.”
The hypothetical trade, as explained, would involve sending Carter, veteran forward Thaddeus Young, point guard Tomas Satoransky, and a 2021 second-round draft pick to the Magic in exchange for Vucevic. According to Buckley, it’s highly likely that the 6-foot-11-inch center would end up playing second fiddle to LaVine if the deal becomes a reality, though he might nonetheless be the player who successfully jumpstarts his new team’s offense.
The Bleacher Report writer further speculated that Chicago might end up having a “top 10” offense if power forward Lauri Markkanen rebounds from a subpar 2019-20 campaign and rookie guard Coby White builds off his strong finish to the season.
Per his Basketball-Reference page, Vucevic is currently averaging 19.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists, with shooting percentages of 47.7 percent from the field and 33.5 percent from three-point range. Buckley noted that the 29-year-old’s averages make him one of only four players — along with Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets), and Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves) — to produce at least 19 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and one three-point conversion per game in each of the last two seasons.
As for Orlando, Buckley wrote that the 21-year-old Carter could be the prize catch if the transaction pushes forward, as he is a good defender who could eventually develop the same shooting and passing skills that Vucevic has. Satoransky was touted as a potentially effective playmaker, while Young was described as a player who could either contribute immediately or be offered to “win-now” teams looking for someone with years of NBA experience.
The above trade idea is the latest in recent months to involve both the Bulls and the Magic, and not the only one to suggest Vucevic as a potential target. It was also suggested last month that the six-time NBA champions could move LaVine to Orlando for young center Mo Bamba, veteran wingman Terrence Ross, and a first-round selection in this year’s draft.