With a little under an hour remaining before the trade deadline, the Bulls have made another minor deal, acquiring Noah Vonleh from Portland.
Portland has traded Noah Vonleh and cash to Chicago for the rights to Milocan Rakovic, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2018
Stil only 22, Vonleh was the ninth overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, then traded to Portland in the Nic Batum deal, and overall has averaged 3.9 points and 4.5 rebounds in four NBA seasons. But Gar can say they have another lottery pick.
Contractually, Vonleh is owed $3.5 million this season and will enter restricted free agency with a potential $4.75 million qualifying offer this summer. Essentially, the Bulls took a flier on a young player in need of a fresh start without giving up much in return. They also got cash in the process, and though the amount is unreported so far both the payer and payee were still eligible to exchange the maximum $5.1m.
For Portland, they are just dumping Vonleh for nothing in order to get under the luxury tax this season. This was hoped for earlier in the day: where the Bulls could get some kind of asset for their cap space.
As for that asset: while still young, Vonleh had fallen out of the Blazers’ rotation. Here’s brother-site Blazers Edge earlier this year in summing up Vonleh’s status there:
I do not hold high hopes for Vonleh’s long-term future with the franchise or the league. He looks like a stretch four but plays more like a traditional, ground-bound forward. With height and a fantastic body, he still plays like a tweener, which is bad news.
Ricky O’Donnell summed it up eloquently.
Noah Vonleh has long arms, huge hands and no idea how to play basketball— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) February 8, 2018
(I actually like taking a chance on him for the Bulls)
For those wondering, the Bulls obtained the rights to Milocan Rakovic in 2014 when they traded Anthony Randolph to Orlando. Randolph came to Chicago after the draft-night trade that landed the Bulls Doug McDermott.
Also notable for this acquisition is that Vonleh, joins a crowded Bulls frontcourt. Presumably, he’ll file in behind Bobby Portis and Lauri Markkanen at the power forward spot. If Robin Lopez gets traded, maybe that opens up additional playing time for him.