NBA Trade Deadline: Bulls still in on Lonzo Ball after Nikola Vučević move

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  • Chicago Bulls
    Chicago Bulls
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  • Orlando Magic
    Orlando Magic
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  • Lonzo Ball
    Lonzo Ball
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Bulls still in on Lonzo Ball after Nikola Vučević move originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bulls own the 2021 NBA trade deadline's loudest move so far with news Thursday morning that they are acquiring Nikola Vučević from the Orlando Magic in a trade involving Wendell Carter Jr. and first-round picks.

And they may not be done yet.

Per NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson, the Bulls' move for Vučević doesn't take them out of the chase for the New Orleans Pelicans' Lonzo Ball, who's been linked to the team in trade talks for weeks.

With two first-round picks (2021, 2023) out the door in the Vučević deal, the earliest first-round pick the Bulls could flip in any other trade would be in 2026 because of the Ted Stepien Rule, which prevents trading first-round picks in back-to-back seasons. Both picks sent by the Bulls are top-four protected, meaning if the Bulls land top four in the lottery either 2021 or 2023, the Magic wouldn't receive the pick until the next year.

A Lauri Markkanen-for-Ball swap has long been rumored and lines up financially. Whether that construction, or a different one, comes to fruition remains to be seen. Ball, like Markkanen, is due for restricted free agency this offseason.

In 38 appearances for New Orleans this season, Ball is averaging 14.2 points, 5.6 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 38.5 percent from 3-point range.

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