Bulls' Nikola Vučević on trade deadline: ‘We have enough' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Zach LaVine has been traded before. So has DeMar DeRozan. And next month marks the three-year anniversary of when Nikola Vučević’s world got turned upside down in Artūras Karnišovas’ first big personnel move as the Chicago Bulls’ executive vice president of basketball operations, moving on from Orlando.
So the Bulls understand the business of basketball.
It’s why Vučević joined the chorus started by DeRozan and Alex Caruso over the weekend about how he’s focused on what he can control and not Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
“I think when you’re younger, it affects you a little more. You think, like, ‘Oh, I’m not good enough. They don’t like me.’ You put too much thought into it,” Vučević said. “I think as you get older you just understand it’s part of the business side. Teams are going to make the best decision it feels for them. That’s their job. And your job is to go on the court and play to the best of your ability to help the team win.”
Vučević is in the first season of the three-year, $60 million deal he signed before hitting unrestricted free agency last offseason. His name hasn’t been linked to any rumors.
“I like it here,” Vučević said. “I want to be here.”
But in the wake of LaVine’s season-ending foot injury that’s scheduled for this week, many league observers are curious what Karnišovas’ next move is. And while DeRozan, unlike Caruso, hasn’t been linked to any specific talks yet, he, like Vučević last season, could be headed to unrestricted free agency this offseason.
So expect to hear speculation about DeRozan, Caruso and Andre Drummond all week. Like Caruso, Drummond has known interest, with league sources indicating that multiple teams have called to discuss possible trade scenarios.
“Those are things that are out of my control. We feel we have enough,” Vučević said. “We have a lot of stuff we can do better on the court. We’ve also had some stuff, like injuries, that’s unfortunate to deal with. But I believe we have enough.”
Dalen Terry returned to full practice on Monday after spraining his right ankle on Jan. 30. Torrey Craig returned last game after missing 22 with a sprained right plantar fascia. But Patrick Williams remains out and coach Billy Donovan said the Bulls held Caruso and Coby White out of Monday’s practice with various aches and pains.
White is listed as probable and Caruso as questionable for Tuesday. But the Bulls are now definitively without LaVine for the remainder of the season and sit at just 23-27, in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. And they face the best defensive team in the NBA on Tuesday at home in the Minnesota Timberwolves, LaVine’s former team.
“We all know how much he wants to be out there with us and play and how much time he puts into this. Injuries are the worst for a player. You have to sit out and can’t help your teammates,” Vučević said. “When I missed those five games early on, it was hard for me. And that was only five games. I can’t imagine something like this for him where there’s extended time.”
Donovan said the Bulls are a professional group that’s focused on the tasks at hand like practices and games rather than injuries or the trade deadline.
“We had a good practice,” he said.