Nikola Vucevic Rumors: Kings 'Not Expected to Chase' Magic Star in Free Agency

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2019

Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry's arm, left, reaches in to try to stop Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic for getting to the basket during the second half in Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Friday, April 19, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The Sacramento Kings are reportedly not planning to pursue free-agent center Nikola Vucevic despite a glaring need at the position.

James Ham of NBC Sports reported the Kings do not feel Vucevic fits their uptempo style. The All-Star big man is coming off a career year that saw him average 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.1 blocks while hitting 36.4 percent of his shots from three.

"You can always get better, and there's no age limit where you can stop getting better as a player," Vucevic said in April, per John Denton of NBA.com.

He added:

"For me, I really do believe this is the start of my prime, and I have a lot of years in front of me where I can play at a very high level. The game now comes easier for me than ever, and it's only going to get easier with the way that I read the game and read stuff on the court. That's going to help me a lot with my body, and I know this year I felt better than ever. Those are all things that I can build on and improve. So, I can come back as a better player."

The Kings played at the NBA's third-fastest pace during the regular season, whereas the Magic were 24th. Vucevic, 28, has Marc Gasol-like aspects to his game in that he's excellent at scanning the floor and finding the right pass from the big-man spot and can stretch the floor. He's also a bit plodding and does not attack the rim with ferocity.

That said, passing up a talent like Vucevic over a commitment to "pace" seems shortsighted. The NBA's best teams can play at any tempo. Possessions are longer in the postseason, and a guy like Vucevic would bring some versatility to the Sacramento offense. Giving De'Aaron Fox a pick-and-pop partner would also allow him to attack the rim with more space than he had last season with Willie Cauley-Stein at the 5.

Vucevic is arguably the best player the Kings could land in free agency this summer. Adding Dewayne Dedmon and DeAndre Jordan types, as Ham's report suggests, would be limiting the versatility of the roster.