Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic has succeeded to make himself fit in the modern NBA by adding three-point shooting in his set of skills. He’s currently playing his best season, averaging 20.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 1.0 steal on 52.8 percent shooting from the field and 38.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc. As of now, there is no doubt that Vucevic is the Magic’s best player.
However, most people believe that Nikola Vucevic’s days in Orlando are already numbered. Despite Vucevic’s explosive performance, the Magic aren’t in a strong position to contend for the NBA championship title in the 2018-19 NBA season. When they selected Mo Bamba as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, there is a growing belief that the Magic will consider moving Vucevic before the February NBA trade deadline.
Per Spotrac, Nikola Vucevic is already on the final year of the four-year, $53 million contract he signed with the Magic in the summer of 2015 and set to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Trading him now will be the Magic’s best option than losing him in free agency without getting anything in return. According to Cordell Long of CBS Sports, playoff-bound NBA teams like the Boston Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs could express interest in acquiring Vucevic once the Magic officially make him available on the trading block.
“With all of the young assets that the Magic have stockpiled in the front court, it seems almost certain that Vucevic will be moved. With his contract ending this year and his unique ability to play down low as well as outside, he will be a valuable asset for any playoff-bound team looking to add a useful piece. His averages this year are impressive (20.2 points, 11.8 rebounds), and due to his affordable contract ($12.8 million) expect him to be a popular target as we approach Feb. 7.”
After slow (1-for-7) start, Lauri Markkanen hits four three-pointers, dunks on Nikola Vucevic with a stare-down and scores 32 points to lead Bulls past the Magic, 90-80 at the UC. Story: https://t.co/XNDay9OImY— Mark Potash (@MarkPotash) December 22, 2018
Nikola Vucevic may not have publicly said it, but at this point in his NBA career, he will surely love to play for a legitimate playoff contender like the Celtics and the Spurs than staying with the rebuilding Magic. Vucevic won’t have a hard time sharing the frontcourt with LaMarcus Aldridge in San Antonio or Al Horford in Boston since both big men can play at the power forward position.
As of now, it remains unknown what type of trade assets the Spurs and the Celtics are willing to give up for Nikola Vucevic. With his current performance, the Magic could demand a young player and a future draft pick in return for their veteran center.