For a while, veteran big man Nikola Vucevic was one of the few All-Star caliber players to show loyalty to the Orlando Magic.
For 9 whole seasons, he stood as their beacon of hope, averaging 17 points and 10.8 rebounds per game during his tenure with the team.
Last season, Vuc was traded to the Bulls in a blockbuster offseason trade. Since then, the 2x All-Star has enjoyed a level of success he has rarely seen over his career.
Ahead of his first trip back to Orlando as a Bull, Vucevic spoke on the big move and mentioned that he holds no bitterness at all about how things went down.
“Yeah, it wasn’t a situation where they traded me out of nowhere,’’ Vucevic told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It was something that we discussed a lot and it was mutually agreed. It wasn’t a situation where they told me I wasn’t going to get traded, and then I get traded. A lot of it came from my communication with them, so it wasn’t a surprise for me."
"Never will I ever have any bad feelings toward Orlando. It will always be positive. It was time for the team to go in a different direction. It was time for something new to happen. It wasn’t working the way we wanted it, and I think it worked out for both parties in the end.’’
Vucevic, 31, has been key for the Bulls this season, providing a solid inside presence on both ends of the floor.
He was all-in from the very beginning and even helped recruit DeMar DeRozan to the team this past summer.
"It really came from Vucevic. That was my man, and for years, even when he was in Orlando, we always was tryna figure out 'We need to play together, we need to play together.' A lot of the times it'd be like bs.
We had a conversation during the season, when we played them late in the season, he was like 'Look you're a free agent, let's see what we can do.' I was like 'I'm gonna keep that on my radar.'"
The Bulls still have some work to do if they want to capture a title, but they are closer to achieving their goals now than they've been in years.
Chicago currently stands 3rd in the East with a 12-7 record so far this season.