Nikola Vucevic Reportedly Isn’t Happy About the “Finger Pointing” Going on with the Bulls
As if this Chicago Bulls season wasn’t dramatic enough, one report now puts Nikola Vucevic’s happiness into question.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley, the Chicago Bulls’ big man has had an issue with the way his teammates have dealt with some of this season’s adversity.
According to a source close to the situation, Vucevic has not been thrilled with some of the recent finger pointing going on, and this wasn’t the first time he was unhappy with the tone in which he — and other teammates — were spoken to.
While the source said it wasn’t just a “Beverley-Vooch thing,’’ it does put in question the exact leadership hierarchy with this roster.
These words come less than 24 hours after Vucevic and recent roster addition Patrick Beverley got into an awkward exchange mid-game. Pistons rookie Jaden Ivey blew by Beverley along the perimeter for an easy finish at the rim, which led to Beverley immediately turning around and calling Vucevic out for not sliding off his man to protect the rim.
Vucevic was clearly frustrated with Beverley’s feedback, so much so that DeRozan stepped in to try to stop the two from chirping.
In case you missed it, the video of the brief incident can be seen here:
First things first, Beverley is likely correct. While he might be able to also get on DeRozan’s case for not showing help, it made the most sense for Vucevic to make the play. Not to mention, it’s a problem that Vucevic didn’t even seem aware of where the ball was.
At the same time, that was Beverley’s man. I totally understand that guys get beat, but perhaps Vucevic took issue with the fact that Beverley’s first instinct was to seemingly call him out rather than take responsibility for allowing Ivey to blow right by him.
The details of the argument don’t matter, though. What does matter is that we now have a report that claims Vucevic is frustrated with the “finger-pointing” going on behind the scenes. And, as Cowley notes, this isn’t just a problem Vucevic has with Beverley.
I’m not exactly sure how much I truly believe this is a significant issue, but it is hard to ignore. Vucevic will hit unrestricted free agency in a few short months, and re-signing him became a priority once the organization decided not to deal him at the February trade deadline.
Whether or not Vucevic would be interested in staying with the organization has become a more legitimate question as the season has dragged on. Not only have the Bulls been struggling to put together a truly competitive product, but the 32-year-old center has also put together a nice bounce-back campaign. If the Bulls aren’t willing to pay up for his services, there could be several other teams eager to do so this summer.
Now, on top of all that, we have to worry about potential locker room tension. Yippie!
If this is true, I can understand – at least a little – where Vucevic is coming from. The big man has arguably put together the most consistent year of the Bulls’ three All-Star-caliber players. Not to mention, he’s long been a no-nonsense type of guy, so maybe all the drama from this season is just finally catching up to him.
I also worried from the beginning about the kind of impact Beverley could have on the locker room. While I do think this team needed somebody who wasn’t afraid to push buttons, adding that somebody mid-season (particularly a role player) can always come with its bumps.
I don’t know. At the end of the day, this isn’t something I want to put much stock in right now. I guess we might as well file it away as Vucevic’s free agency approaches, but my expectation is that he’ll put this stuff behind him and simply make the best decision for his career and family (which is what he was always going to do).
You can read Cowley’s full report here: