The Chicago Bulls have found themselves recognized for being part of one of the 15 best in-season trades of the last five years in a recent article, but still managed to get a backhanded compliment out of that honor. “This is how you start a rebuild,” writes the Athletic’s James Edwards.
Unfortunately for Bulls fans, the praise Edwards has for the deal is directed at the other party involved, the Orlando Magic. Edwards refers to the trade that brought Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu to Chicago for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., a 2021 first-round pick and a 2023 first-round pick.
“While Vucevic was a good player in Orlando — he made two All-Star appearances as a member of the Magic — this is a great haul for a player who never proved to impact winning at a high level,” suggests the Athletic analyst.
— Bulls Wire (@Bulls_Wire) January 17, 2024
“Finally deciding to rebuild and by trading Vucevic, Orlando used the 2021 pick from the Bulls, which was No. 8 overall, to get Franz Wagner and were still bad enough and lucky enough to land Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 pick in 2022,” notes Edwards. “Those two are the pillars of a Magic rebuild that has propelled the team to a 22-18 record as of Tuesday evening.”
“Orlando is widely considered the league’s second-best young team behind the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Bulls have done nothing of significance since adding Vucevic.”
A brutal last sentence though it may be, it reflects the increasing level of concern regarding the direction of the organization around the league’s media corp. Or rather, the lack of one.