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Heat Rumors: Nikola Vucevic Trade with Bulls for Duncan Robinson Floated by Exec

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 18, 2022

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Once the dust settles on Donovan Mitchell and Kevin Durant, the Miami Heat could reportedly set their sights on Nikola Vucevic.

Sean Deveney of Heavy.com spoke to one league executive who floated the idea of the Heat sending Duncan Robinson and Omer Yurtseven to the Chicago Bulls for Vucevic. The executive said:

“The Bulls had some interest in Duncan Robinson before and if the Heat really wanted Vuc, that could be the basis of a deal, Vuc for Robinson. The Heat would have to add [Omer] Yurtseven, give Chicago a big guy to work with. And the Bulls would probably want them to take back Tony Bradley just to have a little more money under the tax in case they want to add a guy.”

From a pure asset standpoint, this looks like extremely wishful thinking on the executive's part.

Robinson's five-year, $90 million contract is arguably the worst deal signed in the summer of 2021. He spent most of the 2021-22 season struggling with his one high-level NBA skill (shooting) and was jettisoned from the rotation in the playoffs. The Heat likely still owe Robinson $64.4 million; it's hard to imagine his trade value being any lower.

Yurtseven flashed some plus rebounding in limited minutes last season, but he's a 24-year-old former undrafted free agent. It's possible he develops into a net-positive player—he had a minus-1.0 box plus/minus last season, per Basketball Reference—but he tops out as a role player.

The sum of those two players does not come close to scratching the surface of Vucevic's value—especially given what the Bulls gave up to trade for him in 2021. Chicago sent a promising young big in Wendell Carter Jr., a pick that became the No. 8 selection in the 2021 draft and a 2023 first-round pick that carries light protections to land Vucevic.

While he's not quite lived up to the All-Star expectations, Vucevic is still an excellent, versatile offensive center playing for a team with playoff aspirations. There's no world in which trading him makes sense unless the Bulls get a player who serves as a better fit.

Robinson isn't it, given the roster is already laden with guys who can play the 2 and 3. Yurtseven would be a seismic downgrade in every sense.

It would border on front-office malpractice if this deal went down.

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