Nikola Vucevic will be entering the final year of the four-year, $53 million contract he signed with the Orlando Magic in the summer of 2015. However, the 27-year-old center may not finish the 2018-19 NBA season playing for the Magic. According to Michael Scotto of The Athletic, the Magic are expected to explore the trade market for Vucevic.
Trading Nikola Vucevic makes a lot of sense for the Magic since he is no longer a fit with what the team is currently trying to build right now. As Scotto noted, Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman and General Manager John Hammond want their roster to feature length and versatility.
Despite the departure of LeBron James in the Eastern Conference, the Magic are not expected to compete for a playoff spot next season. In the recent ESPN Summer Forecast, panelists predicted the Magic to finish as the No. 12 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 30-52 win-loss record.
So far, the Magic’s number one priority is to speed up the development of the young players on their roster. Successfully trading Nikola Vucevic will enable the Magic to give more playing time to Mohamed Bamba, whom they selected as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Parting ways with the Magic will be best for Nikola Vucevic’s career. As most people think, it will be unwise for him to waste his prime years playing for a rebuilding team like the Magic. Kareem Gantt of Fansided believes Vucevic will be perfect for a team who needs to boost their scoring off the bench.
“With the drafting of Mo Bamba, and the team putting its magical bucks where their mouths are in Jonathan Issacs and Aaron Gordon, the team has a frontcourt that they can build around, and Vucevic is, sadly, the odd man out in this situation. Vucevic is a nice trade chip thanks to his offensive skills and his ultra-friendly contract. There’s only one year remaining on the four-year contract extension he signed in 2014, which would make him perfect for a team that is looking for scoring help in the middle off the bench (I’m looking at you, Houston).”
Nikola Vucevic is not only a reliable contributor on the offensive end of the floor, but he is also an incredible rebounder and rim protector. In the last two years, he succeeded to add three-point shooting in his set of skills. In 57 games he played last season, Vucevic averaged 16.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks on 47.5 percent shooting from the field and 31.4 percent from beyond the arc. With his performance on both ends of the floor, it will not be a surprise if the Magic find a trade partner for Vucevic before the February NBA trade deadline.