Things have not gone well for the Orlando Magic thus far this NBA season. They have been ravaged by injuries, especially in the backcourt. Markelle Fultz was lost for the season and his backup, Cole Anthony, will mist a large chunk of the season as well. Third point guard Micahel Carter-Williams and shooting guard Evan Fournier have both missed large portions of the season as well.
With so many injuries, the team has had to rely on All-Star hopeful, Nikola Vucevic, even more. Vucevic is having another outstanding season, averaging 24.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. The points are a career-high in large part due to his personal best 40.5 percent from the 3-point line and 83.5 percent on free throws.
The former USC Trojan is the kind of player that could swing things for a contender. One team who would love to have him is the Boston Celtics. While fans dream of Vucevic wearing green, don’t expect it to happen any time soon.
According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, executives around the league have said that the Magic have shown no interest in moving Nikola Vucevic in a trade. Even if they were to consider a trade, the package they would ask for in return would be monumental.
Orlando’s refusal to discuss Vucevic trade packages does make sense. While he is 30-years old, it is clear he is their best player. He is someone the younger players can learn from, as Vucevic has worked tirelessly to develop his game. For example, it took seven seasons for him to average at least one 3-pointer per game, and now he is one the best shooting big men in the NBA.
The Magic are also not far out of a playoff spot. With the NBA expanding the postseason to 10 teams in each conference, Orlando currently sits only 0.5 games out despite all of the injuries they have had to battle. While backcourt injuries were mentioned earlier, the frontcourt hasn’t had much better luck with Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu all missing significant periods as well.
It makes sense for the Magic to ride this out and hope for a playoff push. This isn’t the time to trade someone such as Vucevic, who is in the second year of his extension. Adding some pieces to make one final push with him as the centerpiece is a likelier outcome than him wearing new colors after the deadline passes. Regardless, his name will likely remain a staple in NBA trade rumors given his recent play.