The Celtics aren’t the only team that has Magic center Nikola Vucevic high on its wish list. The Heat, Spurs, and Hornets have also expressed “significant” interest in the All-Star big man, sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
Miami, San Antonio, and Charlotte would all be intriguing landing spots for Vucevic. The Heat presumably envision him playing alongside Bam Adebayo up front; the Spurs have seen LaMarcus Aldridge‘s production decline this season and may view Vucevic as an eventual replacement for the veteran; and the Hornets could use an impact player at the five to complement primary play-makers LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward.
However, O’Connor cautions that front office executives around the NBA are skeptical that the Magic will move Vucevic at this month’s trade deadline, since he still has multiple years left on his contract. After earning $26MM this season, the 30-year-old will make $24MM in 2021/22 and $22MM in ’22/23.
Even if the Magic are open to considering a Vucevic trade, they’d seek a substantial return, according to O’Connor. Shams Charania of The Athletic conveyed a similar sentiment last week, writing that Orlando would want a “massive” package for its All-Star center.
While the Magic seem unlikely to deal Vucevic, there are other solid veterans on their roster whom they could be more open to moving. O’Connor reports that the club is receiving calls on guards Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross, with the Hornets among the clubs inquiring on Fournier, while the Nuggets have asked about Ross.
Aaron Gordon is viewed as a possible trade candidate too, and the Magic have some lower-priced veterans who could appeal to contenders as depth pieces. However, Orlando hasn’t shown much enthusiasm for making major trades in recent years, so it would be a bit of a surprise if the team goes into full-fledged fire-sale mode, despite its record (13-23) and place in the Eastern Conference standings (14th).