Center Nikola Vucevic hasn’t shown the rapid growth this season that he displayed in a breakout campaign last year, but Magic GM Rob Hennigan nonetheless remains high on the 23-year-old, according to Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel (Twitter links). Vucevic is similarly enthused about a long-term future in Orlando, Schmitz also notes, and he’ll be eligible to sign a rookie scale extension this summer.
“I’d love to be in Orlando for a while,” Vucevic said. “I like the direction of the team. We have a lot of good stuff going forward. I’d love to be a part of it.”
Hennigan is similarly hopeful that he can accommodate the client of BDA Sports Management. Vucevic could sign an extension for up to four years, or five if the Magic are willing to make him their designated player, which would restrict them from handing out another five-year rookie scale extension anytime soon. He could get a starting salary worth as much as 25% of the salary cap, or 30% in the unlikely event he triggers the Derrick Rose Rule provisions. The Magic can sign him to an extension any time between the end of the July Moratorium and October 31st this year. He’d become eligible for restricted free agency if the two sides can’t agree by Halloween.
Vucevic, who’s missed most of this month with a concussion, is averaging 13.0 points and 11.0 rebounds with a 17.8 PER, numbers almost identical to the ones he posted last season. A 6’10″ consistent double-double producer is a valuable commodity in the NBA, but it’d be a stretch for him to command the max. He could fit into the $12-13MM range that Al Horford and Joakim Noah make on their deals, though that’s just my speculation.