Friday, August 12, 2022

Bulls linked with Euroleague MVP as potential Lonzo Ball replacement

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The Chicago Bulls have reportedly been interested in Euroleague MVP Vasiljie Micic in recent years, but his contract situation with the Turkish League’s Anadolu Efes and the Oklahoma City Thunder, who hold his NBA rights, is likely something of a stumbling block.

Recent serious Lonzo Ball-related injury news suggests the Bulls may be as set on point guard as they planned. The 6ft 5in mic could be an even more attractive option for the Bulls right now.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently tweeted about Micic’s desire to get into the NBA and how, at 28, he doesn’t fit into the current recovery plan the Thunder are pursuing.

NBC Sports’ Mark Schanowski mentioned Micic as a possible option given Ball’s weak knee.

Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas recently announced that Ball’s injured knee didn’t respond as quickly as the team had hoped, but they still hoped he would be ready for the start of the NBA season.

This could explain why the bulls failed to trade Coby White. If Ball can’t start the season healthy, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan may need to turn to White as a starter, or at least someone capable of playing key minutes off the bench.

Micic could be the lead guard the Bulls need, with or without the ball. For his career, he’s a .369 percent shooter from three-point range. He makes less than 84% of his free throws and is a solid goalscorer overall. In last year’s Euroleague game, he averaged 18 points per competition. He also grabbed 4.5 rebounds and dished out 4.5 assists per game.

Here’s a look at a recent highlight reel about Micic from last season.

The Thunder might not want or need Micic given his age, but could they use something from White? A deal that sends White and maybe the rights to Devon Dotson to the Thunder for JaMychal Green and the rights to Micic would work for both teams.

Keep in mind that White is still only 22 years old. He has averaged 13.7 points per game, made 38% of his three-pointers, 85% of his free throws, and conceded 3.5 assists per game over his three-year NBA career.

Statistically speaking, few young guards in the league have a better record. White could come in and compete with Theo Maledon, Jalen Williams and Tre Mann for playing time behind Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. White makes $7.4 million and green is $8.2 million on the books. The addition of Dotson would be there to provide some financial balance as well as another young potential asset for the Thunder.

Green is an experienced power forward who could potentially back up Patrick Williams. Meanwhile, a deal to sign Micic could be worked out with Chicago and the Bulls would have serious talent willing to fill in for Ball or play the role of sixth man driving the reserves with Alex Caruso.

The addition of Micic and Green would put the Bulls closer to a legitimate contender for the Eastern Conference. However, a lot of things would have to happen before this scenario could become a reality.

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