After an uninspiring 40-42 season and an exit in the play-in tournament, the Chicago Bulls could have used this offseason to overhaul a core that appears to have its limits.
Instead, they doubled down on what they have re-signing center Nikola Vucevic to a three-year, $60 million contract (plus retaining Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu) — and that’s exactly what the team wanted GM Marc Eversley said on the Bulls Talk Podcast with K.C. Johnson.
“I’m excited for Vooch. There’s not many starting centers in the NBA. So if Vooch were to go away, how would you replace him? Those options were just not appealing to us. So retaining him became the No. 1 goal of the offseason.”
The contract is a fair price for a quality center such as Vucevic, who averaged 17.6 points and 11 rebounds a game, shooting 34.9% from 3. Vucevic also played in all 82 games last season, durability that should not be overlooked. Eversley also talked about retaining White and Dosunmu, and bringing in Jevon Carter to help at the point.
While some fans called for these Bulls to be broken up because of their ceiling, Chicago management did nothing but talk about retaining the core whenever asked. Then they backed up those words with actions.
The Bulls will be without Lonzo Ball for the season due to another knee surgery, which means Carter/White/Dosunmu have to step up and fill the point guard role. In a top-heavy East with a handful of outstanding teams and then a drop-off, a healthy Bulls team certainly can rack up a few more wins and finish higher than last season’s 10th in the East. However, there is a ceiling with this group.
The Bulls got their guy and executed their plan this summer. How good a plan it was we will start to see come October.