NBA superstar LeBron James once admitted that the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t have an answer for Nikola Vucevic. At the time, the Montenegrin big man was playing for the Orlando Magic. It was in 2018, which was James’ second season with the Purple and Gold. The Lakers had a torrid time against Vucevic as they struggled to contain him. This was before the Lakers landed superstar center Anthony Davis. So they were left with Tyson Chandler and JaVale McGee to guard Vucevic. And he went to work.
The Magic swept the season series over the Lakers with a 108-104 win. And Vucevic scored a game-high 31 points with 15 rebounds. The 2018-19 NBA season was a breakout season for the big man. For the first time in his career, Nikola Vucevic averaged 20.8 points, 12 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. That year also marked his first ever All-Star appearance.
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Then he joined the Chicago Bulls in 2020. Now, fresh reports suggest that the Bulls are expected to discuss a contract extension with Vucevic. This could be a sigh of relief for the Bulls fans after recent rumors about Vucevic being traded away.
Report: Nikola Vucevic and Chicago Bulls expected to discuss contract extension https://t.co/Yvq1jPKs6M
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) August 8, 2022
Last season, the towering center averaged 17.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. The Bulls played well last season and clinched the 6th seed in the Western Conference. But they were beaten by former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.
LeBron James talks about Vucevic
After Vucevic’s continuous dominance against the Lakers in 2018, James had some words of praise for the Montenegrin. He said, “He just had our number this year, that’s all you can say. Very good player. He does it both inside and outside. He just had our number.”
Furthermore, Lakers head coach at the time, Luke Walton gave him the tag ‘a nightmare to match-up with’.
Talking about the game, Vucevic said that the Lakers go with a small lineup at times and the Magic tried to take advantage of that. He added that the way the Lakers played and match up worked for the Magic. That season, Vucevic helped the Magic seal a playoff spot as the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference. However, they lost in the first round against the Toronto Raptors.
The next season, the Magic superstar struggled a bit with consistency. However, he came back strong the year after as he averaged 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. He also made an all-star appearance for the second time that year. This made a lot of teams interested in the versatile big man.
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And the Chicago Bulls are one among them. After joining the Bulls, Vucevic has been one of the important players for them. Even though his season averages have dipped a bit, he is still an important asset. And the Bulls want to extend his contract.
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