Despite posting some of the best numbers of his career in the 2018-19 season, Nikola Vucevic has not grabbed the headlines like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and other prospective free agents. However, the 28-year-old Orlando Magic center appears to be attracting his share of suitors, with the Sacramento Kings reportedly being among the teams hoping to sign him during the 2019 offseason.
In a tweet posted on Thursday afternoon, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 wrote that Sacramento “has interest” in Vucevic, who will be eligible to enter free agency this summer. Considering that the Kings currently have Willie Cauley-Stein as their starting center, Gambadoro added that the team could make him “available” on the trading block if they’re able to sign Vucevic.
As noted by Bleacher Report, Vucevic had a successful 2018-19 campaign for the Magic, as he posted career-highs with averages of 20.8 points and 12 rebounds per game and also shot 51.8 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from three-point range. His strong regular-season play also earned him his first All-Star selection in an eight-year NBA career, while helping the Magic make the playoffs for the first time in six years.
Meanwhile, Cauley-Stein averaged 11.9 points, a career-high 8.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists for the Kings in the 2018-19 season, his fourth in the league after being drafted at No. 6 overall by Sacramento in 2015, per Basketball-Reference. With a roster that also featured guards De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield and forwards Marvin Bagley III and Harrison Barnes, the Kings finished at ninth place in the Western Conference with a 39-43 record.
Although the Kings are just one of several teams that could make a play for Vucevic when the free agency period kicks off this summer, Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said in April that the team is making it a “priority” to re-sign the big man in the offseason. Furthermore, Bleacher Report pointed out that Vucevic was recently quoted as saying that he wouldn’t mind returning to the Magic, though he also acknowledged that there are a lot of things that could affect his chances of staying with the team.
“Obviously I’ve had a great seven years here, but at the same time, we’ll see what happens. 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.”
In addition to Nikola Vucevic, there could be other would-be free agents on the Kings’ radar in the lead-up to the 2019 offseason, including Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The Kings, as further noted, will be entering this year’s free-agency period with about $35 million in salary cap space to spend on new players.