Bulls Notes: Vucevic, LaVine, Offseason Approach, Inactivity

Bulls executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas believes the team will be able to reach a contract agreement with center Nikola Vucevic, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes. Vucevic is headed to unrestricted free agency this summer unless he signs an extension.

“He’s having an unbelievable year,” Karnišovas said. “And you know we want him to be here.”

Vucevic said he’s willing to sign an extension but doesn’t feel the need to get something done before the season ends.

“If they want to talk extension, obviously we’re open to it,” he said. “But if they want to wait until summer, that’s fine too. We’ll see. Obviously, I’d be interested in re-signing here if we can work everything out.”

We have more on the Bulls:

  • Zach LaVine said he wasn’t fazed by a report that the Bulls and Knicks had discussions about him prior to the trade deadline, according to Johnson. “Those speculations don’t come out with winning teams,” LaVine said. “Didn’t happen last year, so I think being one of the leaders of the team and understanding your positioning and the position of the team, your name is going to get thrown in stuff like that.” Johnson downplayed the Chicago Sun-Times report, with his sources suggesting that those talks either never occurred or that they happened weeks earlier.
  • The Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley stuck by his LaVine story and said the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on which players to include in the deal, even with the Bulls also getting back draft capital. A source told Cowley the Bulls aren’t as committed to LaVine long-term as some may think, and they could test the trade market for him once again this summer.
  • While the Bulls — expected to be very active before the trade deadline passed — wound up doing nothing, that won’t be the case this offseason, Johnson adds in a separate story. The franchise won’t go into a full rebuild, but the rest of the season will determine Karnisovas’ approach this summer. The Bulls have to give the Magic this year’s first-round selection unless it’s in the top four and they also have key contract decisions to make on Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu and Javonte Green, as well as Vucevic.
  • The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg heavily criticized the front office for its inactivity, labeling it a debacle and shameful that changes were not made to a roster that has failed to show signs of taking a big step forward.
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