Bulls take center stage at trade deadline by acquiring All-Star Center Vucevic


NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 16: Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic looks to pass during the first half against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on January 16, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The Bulls’ new regime is all-in trying to make the Bulls relevant and shake the franchise out of the state of non-playoff purgatory that it’s been in for so long.

Thursday before the trade deadline the Bulls made three trades. In the first they acquired All-Star center Nikola Vucevic and forward Al-Farouq Aminu from the Orlando Magic for center Wendell Carter Jr. and forward Otto Porter Jr.

Vucevic immediately gives the Bulls a second All-Star level player to go with Zach Lavine. This season he’s averaging 24.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. He can also pass the ball. He’s averaging 3.8 assists per game. And he’s become a legitimate three-point threat making 40.6% of his shots from behind the arc. Vucevic is 30 years old.

Al-Farouq Aminu is a throw-in in the trade to help salaries match-up. He’s averaging 5.5 points per game this season. He’s been bothered by knee issues the past two seasons.

The Bulls were more than happy to unload Porter Jr. and get out from under the remainder of his $28 million salary that he’s owed this season. He’ll become a free agent after the season. Carter Jr. has not blossomed like the Bulls hoped he would when he was drafted seventh overall in 2018. He has shown flashes though. He’s averaging 10.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and he’s still only 21 years old.

In the second trade the Bulls gave up two more disappointing former draft picks. Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchison were sent to the Wizards for forward Troy Brown and center Mo Wagner. Brown averaged 4.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Wagner, the former Michigan Wolverines standout from Germany averages 7.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Both players are only in their third NBA seasons, so they both have room to grown.

Gafford was averaging 4.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. The Bulls were expecting to see more upside from him when they took him in the second round of the 2019 draft. Hutchison has been an even bigger disappointment after being taken in the first round of the 2018 draft. He was averaging 1.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in only seven games played this season.

In a third trade right before the afternoon deadline the Bulls flipped Wagner to the Celtics for 6-8 center Daniel Theis. Theis is averaging 9.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game this season.

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