The Bulls were the first team to make a splash ahead of the NBA trade deadline today. This team was rumored to be looking at a lot of players ahead of the deadline. Turns out the trade they ended up pulling off wasn’t one that wasn’t even talked about ahead of the deadline.
Orlando is trading Nikola Vucevic Al-Farouq Aminu to Chicago, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
You read that correctly, the Bulls brought in Orlando center Nikola Vucevic and Forward Al-Farouq Aminu. The Bulls did end up having to let go of a few pieces to bring in these two players.
Bulls are sending Wendell Carter Jr. and two first-round picks to the Magic, per sources. https://t.co/MNvJ8GmfeL
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
The Bulls are shipping off their 2018 1st round pick center Wendell Carter Jr. along with forward Otto Porter Jr. To sweeten the deal the Bulls included two 1st round picks. The picks will fall in 2021 and 2023 respectively. Let’s break down this deal a little bit more to see how this will reshape the Bulls.
This trade came out of nowhere
Honestly, this trade kind of came as a surprise. The Bulls weren’t really rumored to be looking at Vucevic. Yet here we are, Vucevic is officially a Chicago Bull.
The Chicago Bulls weren't even mentioned in the trade rumors for Nikola Vucevic.
Love this front office. We got the right guys in charge.
Love this move. Just love it.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) March 25, 2021
This move looks like it’s going to be a big one for the Bulls. Shooting guard Zach LaVine now has a legit partner to play with. He’s got a center who he can rely on and who can shoot the ball.
How will Vucevic fit in?
The short answer, really good. Vucevic is playing quite well this season. He is going to bring offense to the Bulls that they were missing at the center position. The Bulls have been struggling at the center position this season. There is now no concern whatsoever at the center position.
24.5 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 3.8 APG 56 TS% pic.twitter.com/yg5e7JxjF1
— Larry Golden (@_LarroHoops) March 25, 2021
More importantly, LaVine now has a partner in crime. While the Bulls still need a PG to help distribute the ball, Vucevic is a great addition. He can shoot, he can rebound, and he can defend. Both LaVine and Vucevic are playing phenomenally this season and the addition is going to help the Bulls tremendously.
LaVine is on pace to become the first Bull ever to average 25 PPG on 65 TS%.
Vooch is on pace to become the first player ever to average 20/10 and 2.5 threes per game.
These two All-Stars are teammates now. pic.twitter.com/HyJ8tV2nxu
— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 25, 2021
I have no concerns about Vucevic fitting in with this team. This is a HUGE upgrade at center and it’s something that the Bulls shouldn’t regret.
What about Al-Farouq Aminu?
The addition of Aminu is one that shouldn’t go unnoticed in this trade. While he isn’t a flashy star he’s still a solid contributor off the bench. Over his career, he’s averaged 7.6 PPG, 42 %FG, & 6 RPG. He’s a solid contributor coming off the bench. He most likely will be jumping in where Porter Jr. was when he was healthy. Providing some scoring and defense off the bench. This isn’t the most flashy name but he’s a solid bench player and an 11-year veteran. He will be a good presence for this Bulls squad.
Did the Bulls give up too much?
The loss of Carter Jr. and Porter Jr. isn’t much honestly. Carter had just been benched recently as forward Thaddeus Young was taking his place. While Carter certainly had some great games and moments in Chicago it isn’t a huge loss. He was averaging 10.9 PPG, 51.2 %FG, 7.8 RPG, & 2.2 APG. Those are stats you would expect from someone coming off the bench, not the starter of 25 games.
Porter Jr. only played in 25 games this season and averaged under 10 PPG. He had a hefty contract and that’s the reason this deal works. His big sum helped with balancing out the cost of Vucevic. It was time for Porter to move on from the Bulls and this front office knew that.
The biggest pieces they gave up were those first-round picks. It looks like the picks are top 4 protected so if the Bulls royally fall apart they will keep those picks. While no pick is ever for sure giving up two first-round picks is tough. However, the Bulls could get one back down the road depending on any other trades that are made. While this was a big pick-up for the Bulls they don’t seem to be done just yet.
The Bulls may be looking to move more players
Bulls fans everywhere would love to see the team bring in a PG if they can. That is one of the holes the Bulls need to fill. They don’t have a true PG who can distribute the ball as they need. It looks like the team isn’t done looking for more trade options. Specifically, the Bulls look to be trying to move forward Lauri Markkanen.
Per a source: The Chicago Bulls are still looking at Lauri Markkanen trades. Chicago doesn't see him and Nikola Vucevic as a long-term fit next to each other in the frontcourt.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) March 25, 2021
This shouldn’t come as a surprise since the Bulls and Markkanen weren’t able to agree on a long-term contract ahead of the season. The Bulls were rumored to have already made an offer to the Pelicans for guard Lonzo Ball. We will see if anything comes from that. Don’t be surprised if the Bulls move on from Markkanen today. His time in Chicago looks like it will be up now that they added Vucevic.