When they drafted Mo Bamba as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, most people believed that the days of Nikola Vucevic with the Orlando Magic were already numbered. Vucevic is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 NBA season, and the presence of Bamba made bringing him back in Orlando less likely. However, the fate of Vucevic changed when he started showing an impressive performance on both ends of the floor.
Nikola Vucevic played the best season in his NBA career, averaging 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 1.0 steal on 51.8 percent shooting from the field and 36.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. His performance didn’t only enable him to capture his first NBA All-Star selection, but it also helped the Magic earn a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Vucevic may have failed to carry the Magic to the Eastern Conference Semifinals but in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, team president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman revealed that re-signing the All-Star center will be a “priority” in the 2019 NBA offseason.
“Bringing Vooch back is a priority,” Weltman said.
“That being said, Vooch is going to have a lot of teams who will make him a priority for them, too. We will meet with his representatives at the appropriate time. Hopefully, we can get something done. It’s the NBA, and I always say there’s a lot of real estate between the intentions and what gets done.”
If they want to compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference next season, bringing Nikola Vucevic back makes a lot of sense for the Magic. However, keeping him on their roster could make Mo Bamba the odd man out in Orlando. The Magic had lots of expectations from Bamba when they drafted him last June, but the 20-year-old center wasn’t given enough opportunity to showcase his talent after suffering injury and receiving limited playing time.
Orlando Magic: Jeff Weltman would like to bring back Nikola Vucevic, Terrence Ross https://t.co/dpm3h2aAeL
— Sportando (@Sportando) April 27, 2019
It’s definitely a nice thing to hear for Nikola Vucevic that the Magic still consider him as part of their long-term plan. However, it seems like the 28-year-old center is not yet ready to commit with the Magic. Before making a decision, Vucevic first wants to see what type of contract the Magic and other NBA teams are willing to offer him in the 2019 NBA free agency.
“Obviously I’ve had a great seven years here, but at the same time, we’ll see what happens,” Vucevic said. “It’s a mutual decision, and it’s not just me. They have to decide what they want to do. Based on that, we’ll go from there.”