The two first-round picks the Bulls are going to trade to the Magic include their first-round selection for the upcoming 2021 draft (top-4 protected), and their first-round pick for the 2023 draft. Remember, per the Stepien rule, teams cannot trade back-to-back first-round selections, so they had to skip a year in drafts.
The Orlando Magic said going into the trade deadline period they would need an “overwhelming offer” to give up Vučević to any team. NBA teams already knew that Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier were on the table, but the Magic were resistant to giving up their star center.
Arturas Karnisovas, the Bulls’ Vice President of Operations, and Marc Eversley, general manager, shocked the world on Thursday morning with a trade to add a second Eastern Conference all-star to their lineup.
The Bulls finally got the cornerstone piece they need to fulfill the frontcourt. Vučević is a two-time all-star for a reason. This season he is averaging 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. He is shooting 48 percent from the field, 40.6 percent from behind the arc, and 82.7 percent from the charity stripe.
He is not only a great scorer and rebounder, but he is also an excellent interior defender, which is something the Bulls have needed in their lineup. The Bulls give up 50.4 points in the paint per game to their opponents, which ranks near the bottom of the NBA. Vučević has an unbelievable career defensive rating of 105 and averages a career positive defensive box plus/minus.
Another important aspect of Vučević’s game is the fact that he can help the Bulls further improve their pick-and-roll offense. He is versatile from his range to be the roller in pick-and-roll situations and dominate the paint, but to pick-and-pop out to shoot from distance.
The Bulls are giving up Wendell Carter Jr., who has been struggling this season causing him to get benched along with Coby White. Carter is averaging 10.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. Carter is inefficient in defending the paint is in constant foul trouble.
Otto Porter Jr. is taking up around $28 million in cap space and is in the final year of his deal. He has missed nearly 20 games this season and missed nearly the whole season last year due to injury. His age is taking a toll on his body and he’s hardly efficient off the bench, only as a catch-and-shoot three-point shooter.
The concern with this trade is the fact that the Bulls have given away two first-round picks to acquire Vučević, who is now a 30-year old NBA veteran. However, the Bulls have continuously gotten high picks in the draft, from the fourth last draft, and seventh in the two before.
It’s time for the Bulls to bring in savvy veterans that can bring leadership and experience to this extremely young team. Remember, going into this season, the Bulls had a younger average age in their starting five than the University of Wisconsin’s men’s basketball team.
It’s a new era for the Bulls under Karnisovas and Eversley, and the Bulls are still trying to acquire Lonzo Ball from the Pelicans to round out their starting lineup with a true point guard. Stay tuned, Chicago.