Shams: Chicago Bulls, Nikola Vucevic have opened up extension talks

Two years ago, the Chicago Bulls made a shocking move at the 2021 NBA trade deadline, dealing for Nikola Vucevic. Since then, the big man has been a part of Chicago’s Big Three alongside Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.

In 2022, they snapped the Bulls’ four-year playoff drought. Unfortunately, they took a step back this past season, getting bounced in the play-in tournament.

Now, Vucevic is set to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent. The 32-year-old center is a two-time All-Star, and, while the current Chicago core may not be championship-caliber, he is a crucial piece to the puzzle. The Bulls still have time to sign him to an extension, and according to Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic, those talks have begun.

During a segment on Stadium’s Twitter account, Charania reported Chicago and Vucevic have begun extension talks. A deal must get done by June 30, or Vucevic will enter free agency.

“Sources tell me that the Bulls and Nikola Vucevic have opened up extension conversations,” Charania reported. “There’s mutual interest in getting a deal done. He can sign an extension up until June 30. If there’s no agreement by that point, Vucevic will be entering free agency.”

If Vucevic does hit the open market, he’ll be one of the top centers available alongside Brook Lopez and Jakob Poeltl.

“He’ll be one of the top centers on the marketplace,” said Charania. “He’s obviously been very durable over his career in Chicago and in Orlando before that. He’s had to adjust his role a little bit with DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine here in Chicago, but he did have the third-most double-doubles in the NBA this year. He’s obviously going to be pretty sought-after on the open market.”

The Bulls still have a month to get a deal done, but it’s certainly a situation to keep an eye on.

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Story originally appeared on Lonzo Wire