Former Magic center Nikola Vucevic was aware that he could be dealt prior to the blockbuster than sent the All-Star big man from Orlando to Chicago, he told Alex Kennedy of Basketball News in a Q&A session.
“It wasn’t out of nowhere, we’d had discussions prior to it, so it was kind of mutual; it wasn’t just out of nowhere,” Vucevic said. “They pretty much just let me know that the trade was happening and said, ‘You’re going to Chicago.’ Honestly, even though I had an idea that it could happen, it was still a big shock to me.”
The Bulls are 3-5 in games that Vucevic has played since the deal. He’s averaging 22.9 PPG, 10.3 RPG and 3.6 APG for Chicago, which currently holds the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference, the last postseason berth under the new play-in format.
Vucevic had more than an inkling that he could be headed to the Bulls.
“I knew that there were a couple (of interested teams), but I didn’t know where I’d land or all of the details because that’s something that the front office was handling,” he said. “But I knew of the teams that were interested; I knew that part.”
Here’s more from Kennedy’s interview with Vucevic:
- Vucevic is impressed by the Bulls’ roster and believes they’ll be contenders in short order. “That’s one thing I’m very excited about: the team has great potential. It has very good structure, and we’re built to be successful for years to come, which is very important in this league. “
- Vucevic played with some talented guards in Orlando over the years but he says Zach LaVine is better than any of them. “I’ve never played with anyone who’s as good of a scorer as Zach is, so I think it’s going to be great for me to have a guy like that on the ball a lot. In some of the games, it’s shown already in some of our two-man game action, although we haven’t played together a lot. It’s going to be hard to defend.
- Vucevic believes that the trade showed potential free agents that Chicago is intent on becoming relevant again in the East. “I think by making these moves, the Bulls already sent a strong message to the rest of the league that they really want to win now, but making the playoffs would send a strong message, too. And when you make that step and have some success, it also attracts other people to want to play for a team like that.”