The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has extended center Nikola Vučević. In accordance with team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“During his time in Chicago, Nikola has proven that he is a special player both on and off the court,” said Artūras Karnišovas, Executive Vice President – Basketball Operations. “He has produced at an elite level since we acquired him and will remain an integral part of our foundation moving forward. Nikola’s willingness to do whatever is asked of him to help us win, while also being an established veteran leader for our group, makes him a valuable component of the culture of our organization. He is a consummate professional and tremendous teammate, which plays a big role in making us an attractive destination for other players. We are excited to have him continue to be part of our journey.”
“I’m excited to continue my journey as a Chicago Bull,” said Vučević. “Since I have arrived in Chicago, everyone in the organization has been incredibly welcoming to my family and me. I am motivated more than ever to achieve our mutual goals as a team. I want to thank the Reinsdorf family and Artūras for continuing to believe in me. I also want to thank Bulls fans for the constant support, you guys are the best part about playing in Chicago. We will work harder than ever to bring success to the city of Chicago.”
Vučević, 6-10, 260, averaged 17.6 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 33.5 minutes while playing in all 82 games (82 starts) for Chicago in 2022-23. He finished third in the NBA in double-doubles (51) a year ago, becoming the fourth player in Bulls history with 50-plus double-doubles in a season (A. Gilmore, C. Oakley, P. Gasol). The Montenegro native and former USC product was the only NBA player to make at least 100 three-pointers (121) and grab 800-plus rebounds (903) last season and is the only Bulls player to ever do so. Vučević ranked second in the league with 903 total rebounds, while leading the NBA with 744 defensive rebounds. His 744 defensive boards marked the sixth-highest season total in Bulls history, including the highest since 1997-98 (D. Rodman).
Vučević matched a career high in scoring with 43 points while adding 13 rebounds, four assists and four steals against the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 15 and he became the fourth Bulls player in the last 20 years (J. Noah, P. Gasol, J. Butler) to tally a game with minimums of 15 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists after totaling 19 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists at Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 6. Both games were part of an 11-game double-double streak, making Vučević one of five NBA players to record as long of a streak in 2022-23 (G. Antetokounmpo, N. Jokic, J. Randle, D. Sabonis). It was Vučević’s second double-double streak of at least 10-straight games while in a Bulls uniform, becoming the second player in Bulls history (A. Gilmore – 4x) with multiple such streaks. Vučević led Chicago in rebounds in 63 games, was the team’s high scorer in 10 contests and dished out the team’s high assist mark in 13 games a season ago.
Since being acquired via trade from the Orlando Magic on Mar. 25, 2021, Vučević holds clips of 18.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks in 33.2 minutes per game through 181 games (181 starts) for Chicago. In 2021-22, Vučević helped lead the Bulls to their first NBA Playoffs appearance since 2016-17.
Throughout his 12-year career, Vučević has suited up in 823 games (762 starts) for Philadelphia, Orlando and Chicago while averaging 17.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.9 blocks in 31.1 minutes. The two-time NBA All-Star has posted a top-10 rebounding total in seven of those 12 seasons, including each of the last five seasons (2018-23), and he carries the fifth-highest career rebounding total (8,634) among all active players. Since entering the NBA in 2011-12, Vučević has 469 career double-doubles, the most by any NBA player during that span.