The Chicago Bulls have a few positions of need this summer. They could use a better point guard, some depth at the forward position, but perhaps most importantly, an improved center depth chart. Two years ago, Chicago traded for Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline, and he’s played well for the Bulls since then. However, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and Chicago could be better off going in another direction.
At 32 years old, Vucevic’s next contract will likely take him into his mid-30s, and his game may not age well. Instead of re-signing Vucevic, Chicago could target a younger center who could grow with their current core. Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report suggested Jakob Poeltl as a potential target in free agency.
Poeltl was traded to the Toronto Raptors at the trade deadline this past season, but Chicago could attempt to lure him away this offseason. His defensive presence and pick-n-roll game could give Chicago a new look at the center spot.
“He blocks shots, he rebounds and he can survive a perimeter switch when needed,” Buckley wrote. “He plays sound defense and could be a tone-setter for this team at that end. On offense, he doesn’t need touches and sets solid screens, both of which would help him fit a Bulls offense that had the second-highest percentage of offensive possessions finished by pick-and-roll ball-handlers, per NBA.com.”
The 27-year-old big man may be a bit too expensive for the Bulls, but it would be worth it for them to at least make an offer. Buckley also noted that Poeltl is a better fit than Vucevic.
“Add in the fact Poeltl is only 27, and he’s someone who could hang around the Windy City for a while,” Buckley wrote. “You can debate whether he’s more talented than Vučević, but Poeltl pretty clearly is the better fit for this roster.”
Toronto will likely look to bring him back, but the Bulls should definitely be interested.