Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic is expected to be one of the NBA players who could be traded before the February NBA trade deadline. Since the Magic selected Mo Bamba as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, most people believe that Vucevic’s days in Orlando are already numbered. With his contract that is set to expire after the 2018-19 NBA season, trading him now will be the Magic’s best option instead of losing him in the summer of 2019 as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return.
Earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season, the Magic looked determined to earn a playoff spot in the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference. Nikola Vucevic has succeeded to turn himself into the Magic’s best player. In the 45 games he played this season, the 28-year-old center has averaged 20.3 points, 11.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 1.0 steal on 51.8 percent shooting from the field and 38.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
However, despite Vucevic’s explosive performance almost every night, the Magic aren’t still considered a legitimate playoff contender this season. Even if they manage to enter the NBA Playoffs 2019, it remains a big question mark if the Magic have what it takes to beat Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, and Milwaukee Bucks in a best-of-seven series.
According to Shane Rhodes of Basketball Insiders, trading Nikola Vucevic before the February NBA trade deadline remains as the “best course of action” for the Magic.
“Vucevic, in the last season of his deal, has a case for best expiring contract/player on the market. And, with Mohamed Bamba waiting in the wings, his future standing in Orlando isn’t very clear. If the Magic hope to one day return to relevancy, trading Vucevic may be the best course of action. Not only could he bring back a premium asset, but the extra playing time afforded to Bamba would be beneficial to his development. The benefits for any acquiring team are obvious; Vucevic is a premium player and could prove a major difference maker come the postseason.”
— Magic Nation (@ORLMagic_Nation) January 21, 2019
Nikola Vucevic may not have publicly admitted it, but at this point in his NBA career, he will surely love to play for a legitimate playoff contender than staying on a rebuilding team like the Magic, who recently drafted their center of the future. Trading Vucevic will be very beneficial for the Magic. Aside from acquiring trade assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process, the Magic could give Mo Bamba more time to develop his game.
Once Nikola Vucevic officially becomes available on the trading block, several NBA teams will surely express interest in adding him to their roster. According to the Ringer, some of the potential suitors for the veteran center include the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, and the San Antonio Spurs.