CHICAGO – The Chicago Bulls and center Nikola Vucevic agreed on Wednesday to a three-year, $60 million extension, keeping the two-time All-Star out of the free agency market.
The move is hardly surprising given that executive vice presidents of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and Vucevic have expressed a desire to reach an agreement. The consistently productive 6-foot-10 center back averaged 17.6 points and 11 rebounds – both similar to his average a season earlier – while playing all 82 debuts career first.
“I’m excited to continue my journey as a Chicago Bull,” Vucevic said in a statement. “Since I arrived in Chicago, everyone in the organization has been extremely welcoming to my family and me. I am more motivated than ever to achieve our common goals as a team.”
Vucevic, who will turn 33 in October, has averaged 17 points and 10.5 rebounds in 12 seasons with Philadelphia, Orlando and Chicago. The Bulls signaled they were serious about being a candidate and attracting top free agents when they acquired him from Magic in March 2021 for Wendell Carter Jr. and two first-round picks — their first major move under Karnisovas.
Chicago added DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso ahead of the 2021-22 season and reached the knockout stages 46-36 after four consecutive losing seasons. But last season they fell behind with a score of 40-42 and lost in the play-in round.
Ball has not played since January 14, 2022 because of a left knee injury that could keep him out for the rest of next season. The Bulls will need to settle for the position defending the point of view. But they solved one problem by locking Vucevic.
“He has produced at an elite level since we acquired him and will remain an integral part of our platform going forward,” Karnisovas said in a statement. “Nikola’s willingness to do whatever is required to help us win, and as a longtime veteran leader for our team, makes him a valuable component of the team. culture of our organization.”
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