In his end-of-season comments following the Bulls‘ regular season finale on Sunday, head coach Billy Donovan admitted that he was disappointed his team didn’t make the playoffs. However, he doesn’t believe it’s fair to conclude that the midseason trade bringing Nikola Vucevic to Chicago was a mistake, as Sam Smith of Bulls.com writes.
“The one thing that I’ve seen – and I haven’t been in the NBA that long – when you look at these trades, most of the trades are trades to add. Guys coming off the bench or filling a hole. But this was a trade where immediately a guy comes in and now he’s unequivocally 1A or 1B,” Donovan said. “Those things don’t normally happen in the NBA. The whole entire thing got kind of flipped upside down.”
Donovan, who pointed out that the Bulls didn’t have much in-season practice time to properly assimilate Vucevic and the club’s other newcomers, expressed that he believes the trade will pay off in the long run. That was an opinion that Vucevic shared, as K.C. Johnson of NBA Sports Chicago tweets.
“This trade wasn’t just made for this year,” Vucevic said. “It was made for the future of the franchise.”
Here are a few more Bulls-related notes as the team looks ahead to an eventful offseason:
- As he prepares to enter a contract year, Zach LaVine said today that he loves being in Chicago and is very excited about the team’s future, according to K.C. Johnson (Twitter links). Asked about his next contract, LaVine replied, “It’s a business at the end of the day. I definitely want what I deserve.”
- A recent report suggested LaVine may be willing to sign for less than his maximum salary, but there are several factors that affect what LaVine’s “max” will be at a given time between now and the summer of 2022. Those factors include whether he signs an extension or waits for free agency, whether he earns All-NBA honors this year or next, and – if he signs an extension – whether the Bulls are willing to renegotiate his current deal to give him an immediate raise. It’s possible LaVine would be willing to take a slight discount in some of those scenarios, but not in others.
- Thaddeus Young, who has a $6MM partial guarantee on his $14.2MM salary for 2021/22, said today that he hasn’t been told whether or not he’ll be retained, but added that he’s fully committed to the Bulls and that he has had only positive discussions with management and the coaching staff (Twitter link via Johnson).
- An unrestricted free agent this summer, Garrett Temple reiterated his interest in sticking with the Bulls, tweets Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “I can never say what’s going to happen in free agency. I can only say what I would like to happen,” Temple said. “I really enjoyed Chicago. Even with the snow. Even during a pandemic. The organization, from what I’m hearing, took a turn for the better.”