NBA Rumors: Chicago Bulls' Nikola Vucevic Will Test Free Agency

The Chicago Bulls are gearing up for a potentially tumultuous offseason, and that includes a huge decision on one of their biggest stars. Speaking with the media following the Bulls' elimination from the play-in tournament, two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic said staying with the Bulls remains his priority, but he will nonetheless test free agency this offseason.

Vucevic joined the Bulls in 2021 via a blockbuster trade with the Orlando Magic that included multiple players and first-round picks. He has been a productive and reliable starter for the team ever since, averaging 18.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game over 181 appearances.

Vucevic is wrapping up a four-year, $100 million contract originally signed with the Magic and will be arguably the most coveted free-agent center on the market this year. He may be 32 years old, but he's coming off one of his most efficient, durable seasons as a pro: he played 82 games for the Bulls this season and averaged a career-high .594 true shooting percentage. His 11.0 rebounds per game led the Bulls, and his 17.6 points per game ranked third.

Vucevic may have enjoyed his time on the Bulls, but the team as presently constructed may need to change things up. They finished 40-42 this season and haven't advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs since 2015. With DeMar DeRozan set to turn 34 years old before next season and Zach Levine already 28, the Bulls appear to have plateaued. 

Extending Vucevic for significant money and running back the current roster may be a commitment to mediocrity. The Bulls may be better off accepting some short-term growing pains in the name of future contention, and that might mean Vucevic moving onto greener pastures with a team that has more potential.

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