Nikola Vucevic Reportedly Plans to Sign 4-Year, $100 Million Contract with Magic

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 30, 2019

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23:  Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic shoots the ball during Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the  Toronto Raptorsat Scotiabank Arena on April 23, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Orlando Magic free-agent center Nikola Vucevic is reportedly staying put.

According to Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic, Vucevic "plans to commit to a four-year, $100 million deal to return to the Magic."

Vucevic, who turns 29 in October, posted 20.8 points and 12.0 rebounds per game for the 42-40 Magic.

Orlando made the playoffs for the first time since 2012 thanks largely to Vucevic and even won a game versus the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors before losing in the first round.

The seven-foot big man earned his first All-Star appearance and also finished ninth among qualified NBA players in player efficiency rating, per Basketball Reference.

Re-signing Vucevic is a positive step toward making back-to-back playoff appearances. He fared so well last year that Andy Bailey of the Hardwood Knocks podcast and Bleacher Report even compared him to ex-Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Garnett during his 2003-04 MVP season:

Andy Bailey @AndrewDBailey

If you read the article, you'll see how I settled on 76.6 possessions, which seems ridiculous without the explanation. Anyway, Nikola Vucevic's numbers were wild this season. 2004 KG's the only player in NBA history who matched his per-possession avg's. https://t.co/oYqpAgSrFX https://t.co/z78IkFV6Wp

However, the team still needs to answer a few questions.

First, Orlando finished 21st in offensive efficiency, per ESPN. The Magic made just 45.4 percent of its field goals, which was only good enough for 19th in the league.

Namely, the Magic need more scoring production from their guards, who ranked fourth-last in points per game among their position group, per NBA.com.

Related, can Markelle Fultz return anywhere close to the collegiate form that made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers?

Fultz, who averaged 23.2 points per game during his one season at Washington, has seen his NBA career get off to a slow start because of injuries. The 76ers traded him to the Magic in February.

As Josh Robbins of The Athletic noted, he has been rehabbing from thoracic outlet syndrome. A productive and healthy season can go a long way toward improved offense from the guards.

Furthermore, star sixth man Terrence Ross is a free agent. Ross helped catapult Orlando into the playoffs by pitching in 15.1 points on 42.8 percent shooting off the bench and even finished tied for third on the team in scoring.

Ultimately, with Vucevic planning to sign, Orlando should stay competitive next year.


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