Magic To Make Nikola Vucevic Available?

Having re-signed Aaron Gordon and drafted Mohamed Bamba this summer, the Magic head into the 2018/19 season with a crowded frontcourt. In addition to Gordon and Bamba, the big men seeking roles in Orlando’s rotation will include Nikola Vucevic, Jonathan Isaac, Timofey Mozgov, Jarell Martin, and Khem Birch.

Given the logjam up front, not to mention his expiring contract, Vucevic is “expected to be available on the trade market” prior to the February deadline, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. As Scotto observes, the veteran center doesn’t really fit team management’s desire for “length and versatility,” meaning he’s unlikely to be part of the Magic’s long-term plans.

Vucevic, who made 57 starts for Orlando last season, remains a productive frontcourt player, having averaged 16.5 PPG and 9.2 RPG in 2017/18. The 27-year-old also continues to evolve as an offensive player — he posted a career-high 3.4 APG last year and made an effort to become an outside shooting threat. Vucevic knocked down 64 three-pointers in ’17/18 after making a total of 30 in his first six NBA seasons.

Still, Gordon, Bamba, and Isaac represent the building blocks of the future in the Magic’s frontcourt, making another contract for Vucevic a long shot. The former USC standout will earn $12.75MM in 2018/19 before becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer, so he could appeal to a team that wants to add a big man to its roster without compromising future cap flexibility.

The Lakers immediately come to mind as one club that fits that bill, though there are others that could qualify, especially if teams are hit by the injury bug or if the Magic are willing to take on multiyear contracts in a hypothetical trade.

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24 thoughts on “Magic To Make Nikola Vucevic Available?

  1. acarneglia

    Saw this trade idea on Bleacher Report last week as a way for Charlotte to become more of a serious contender and also keep Kemba.

    Charlotte: Vucevic and Fournier
    Orlando: Batum, Lamb, 1st rd pick


    • bdallen714

      Not a bad thought, I would take Fournier over Lamb any day, though I think Lamb may be better defensively

    • D-NBA

      I wouldn’t want Fournier and Nikola on the Hornets because they’ll both take minutes away from Monk and Willy. Plus the Hornets already have Zeller and Kaminsky in their frontcourt so no thanks, I want to see what Monk can do with starter’s minutes in Borrego’s offense.

        • D-NBA

          Monk will start by February, no way Lamb starts ahead of Monk. Batum will be gone by the deadline, watch Houston get him.

        • GuruGray

          D how do you think Houston would be able to trade for Batum’s contract? Only chance would be if Charlotte were willing to take on Ryan Anderson and I dont really see the point in that

      • FromTheCheapSeats

        There’s not a big on Charlotte’s roster that can hold a candle to Vucevic.

  2. D-NBA

    Orlando is going to be a serious problem with Isaac and Bamba switching onto everyone on defense. Bamba wants to approach the game like Draymmond mentally also which is a super plus considering he’s got an astonishing 7-10 wingspan and has a good 4-5 inches in height on Draymmond.

    As for Nikola, I don’t see anywhere he could start except the Lakers or maybe Clippers since their current centers are McGee and Gortat.

      • D-NBA

        Hornets will win 42-44 games, Borrego’s offense and defense will heavily impact the style they play plus they’ll be better defensively.

        • FromTheCheapSeats

          That’s optimistic.

          They really only have one premium offensive option – and that’s Kemba.

          That Dwight Howard trade might have made long term financial sense, but he was the second best player on that team by a mile. Who replaces his production?

          And they were pretty bad WITH him.

    • x%sure

      Mcgee cannot play starting minutes! Cmon

      That means Wagner, who will stay outside & leave the lane clear.

  3. Chris

    Lakers make too much sense. We really need some center depth beyond McGee. Seems like a good mentor for Wagner as well

  4. It’s a shame he has to go, because right now he is by far the best big in Orlando, but they got Bamba so clearly they wanted to move on from him. Were he can go I don’t know but he would be an improvement on many teams, like Toronto, New York, Brooklyn, Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Houston, Dallas, Portland, Oklahoma, Lakers, & Clippers. So who knows, probably one of the playoff teams, as the trade deadline approaches, they might wanna add something more for the post-season.

    • Luckylefty2

      Vuc has been given YEARS to prove if he were to become the Magic’s next big man of the future, but he couldn’t get them over the hump .

    • GuruGray

      Been there, done that. Couldn’t be on court with Embiid, which leaves him 10-15 mpg for him, considering they’ll probably want to play some small ball

  5. D$!LLKU$H-og

    Lakers don’t have anyone under contract they should trade except Deng until all the guys they signed to 1 years become available. if the Magic are willing to take Deng and a 1st they should do it in a heartbeat. Or wait til KCP or Lance can be traded though they would still likely have to send a draft pick.

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