Nikola Vucevic’s future with the Orlando Magic became uncertain when the team used the No. 6 overall pick to acquire young center Mo Bamba in the 2018 NBA Draft. However, instead of moving him for young players and draft picks before the February NBA trade deadline, the Magic chose to keep Vucevic for the rest of the 2018-19 NBA season, making some people wonder if they still consider him as part of their long-term plan.
Nikola Vucevic is currently playing the best season in his NBA career, averaging 20.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.0 steal on 52.0 percent shooting from the field, and 37.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. With his explosive performance on both ends of the floor, the 28-year-old is expected to have plenty of suitors when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July. According to Pat Welter of Spectrum News 13, Vucevic’s future with the Magic is a “two-way street.”
His free agency decision will likely depend on whether he wants to stay in Orlando and what type of contract the Magic are willing to give him next summer. Vucevic is definitely worth every penny, but it will be unwise for the Magic to spend a huge chunk of their salary cap space to re-sign him if they still see Mo Bamba as their center of the future. As of now, Vucevic hasn’t made up his mind regarding his plan in the 2019 NBA offseason, but he said that he’s happy with the direction the Magic are taking, especially with coach Steve Clifford leading the team.
“I like where we are going,” Vucevic said. “I think the best thing that the front office did was bringing in coach Cliff. Someone that’s tough-minded, someone that knows exactly what he wants of players that’s very organized. I mean the whole coaching staff you can just see how tight they are how very well organized they are. They are all on the same page and I think that translates to the players.”
Aside from coach Steve Clifford, Nikola Vucevic said that he likes what he sees with their young players, including Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, and Mo Bamba. Vucevic believes that the Magic have some good pieces that could be “interesting for the future.”
As of now, Nikola Vucevic is focused on helping the Magic end their six-year playoff drought in the 2018-19 NBA season. The Magic are currently in the No. 9 spot in the Eastern Conference, only one win behind the No. 8 seed Miami Heat.