Bulls’ Former All-Star Turns Heads With Notable Offseason Appearance [LOOK]

The Chicago Bulls have just one playoff appearance in the last seven seasons.

Their big move in 2021 to get into contention was quickly and soundly outdone by their Eastern Conference rivals. The Bulls’ fortunes have also trended downward.

They won one fewer game than last season, giving them their lowest mark since that 2020-21 campaign that led to their sweeping roster changes. One of those moves was trading for two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic.

Vucevic, who has been honest about this Bulls core’s future, made a head-turning appearance.

“OMG LOOK WHO IS HERE,” a fan captioned a video on X during Game 3 of the Orlando Magic’s first-round playoff series versus the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 25. “VOOOOOOOCH.”


🫶VOOOOOOOCH pic.twitter.com/dLVcsXa9fi

— Fuchsia (@fyoosha) April 25, 2024

“The stars are out tonight,” Magic-centric podcaster “The Sixth Man Show” captioned another photo. “Vooch in the house!!!!”

It is not uncommon for players to take in games when their season ends. More prominent stars have popped up and caused a stir only for nothing to come to fruition. Vucevic also lives in Orlando, where he spent eight-plus seasons and earned his two All-Star selections.

Vucevic has entertained the idea of returning to the Magic before his career ends, though.

“I think it’s only right it happens,” Vucevic said on “The Sixth Man Show” in January 2023. “That’s something for sure that’s on my mind. I can’t say it’s not.”

Bulls Trade for Nikola Vucevic Continues to Look Worse

The Bulls traded multiple valuable players and draft assets for Vucevic at the trade deadline during the 2020-21 season. Their package included former top-10 pick Wendell Carter Jr., current rising star Franz Wagner, and 2023 No. 11 overall pick Jett Howard.

They re-signed Vucevic to a three-year, $60 million contract before free agency last summer.

Many around the league panned the deal. Vucevic proceeded to have his worst season from beyond the arc in 2023-24, connecting on 29.4% of his deep looks.

He still averaged 18.0 points per game – his best mark in three full seasons in Chicago – and averaged a double-double for the sixth straight season. Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karniasovas has defended the trade.

“If Vooch were to go away, how would you replace him?” Bulls general manager Marc Eversley said on the “Bulls Talk Podcast” in August 2023. “Those options were just not appealing to us, so retaining him became the No. 1 goal of the offseason.”

The Bulls are 128-129 with Vucevic on the floor since the trade. He has only missed six games over the last two seasons, notching the only 82-game season for a center in 2021-22.

They are 8-7 without him in the lineup over the last three seasons.

Conversely, the Magic endured back-to-back 20-win seasons, one with Vucevic for the majority and the next without him. But they experienced significant leaps in the win column over the last two seasons going to 34 games in 2022-23 and the 47 wins this past season.

The Magic snapped their four-year playoff drought this season and are tied with the Cavs at 2-2 in the series.

Many have urged the Bulls to contemplate a rebuild for the second straight offseason.

Nikola Vucevic Called 2023-24 Season Critical

“We know we can do better, and we have to do better,” Vučević said, per Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer on August 31. “And we know it’s kind of our last chance as this core of guys to do something.”

The Bulls dealt with various injuries this season. Many of them were season-ending with Zach LaVine and Patrick Williams both lost during the campaign.

And they have trended downward since Lonzo Ball’s catastrophic injury in January 2022.

Karnisovas vowed to bring changes this offseason. And while the Bulls have already shaken up the coaching staff, Karnisovas also insists on bringing DeMar DeRozan back in free agency this offseason as the veteran continues to produce on the court and helps guide the youngsters.

With DeRozan and Vucevic – and potentially LaVine if they cannot find a taker in a trade this offseason – all on the roster next season, a vastly different outcome could be difficult to achieve.

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