Well, this NBA Trade Deadline didn’t take long to get nutty. The Orlando Magic are trading All-Star center Nikola Vucevic to the Chicago Bulls for a package that includes C Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter Jr., ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday afternoon. It had been reported not too long before the trade that the Magic were still listening to offers for Vucevic. I guess they heard the right one and jumped on a deal with Chicago. Here are the full details of the trade, via Woj:
The first-round picks the Bulls are sending to Orlando are 2021 and 2023. The 2021 pick is top-4 protected while the 2023 has “light protection” and the Bulls believe the pick will convey to the Magic, which is good because then the pick going back to Orlando would have the potential to be unprotected.
The Bulls are sending the Magic 2021 and 2023 first-round picks in the deal, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
So the Bulls make a huge splash and honestly don’t give up a ton to land the All-Star. The Bulls still have Zach LaVine, Coby White, Patrick Williams, Lauri Markkanen .... I mean, this is a huge move for Chicago, which is currently trying to get into the playoff picture. Vucevic gives them an element at center that they haven’t had since Joakim Noah — a player who pass out of the post. Vucevic is also a lot more complete a player than Noah.
The Magic, on the other hand, are now looking to off-load Aaron Gordon, per Woj. Orlando is going full-blown rebuild mode and resetting what appears to be the entire roster. The Magic are outside the playoff picture and really weren’t going to contend anyway. The Magic can move forward into the 2021 NBA Draft and try and secure a top 5 pick to add to a core of Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz? Orlando has a ton of work to do ...
In terms of fantasy basketball, this is a bit of a downgrade for Vucevic owners. He won’t be the main focus of the offense in Chicago with LaVine and Markkanen also there. Still, Vucevic should be able to continue to rip down plenty of rebounds and his passing ability will be welcomed. Expect more rebounds and assists while the points could be less consistent. This should improve everyone on the Bulls who is involved in the offense — LaVine, White, Markkanen, even Williams. Vucevic is a huge upgrade at center over WCJ.
The Bulls sit 1.5 games outside the 8-seed in the East at 19-24. You’ve got to think this improves their chances of making at least the play-in game by a wide margin. The Bulls odds to reach the playoffs were yanked from DraftKings Sportsbook. Chances are if they do go back up, they will lean pretty heavily toward “yes” in the short term. We still need to see what else the Bulls do before the deadline at 3 p.m. ET.