Magic's Nikola Vucevic Reportedly Drawing Trade Interest from Celtics, Hornets

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2021

Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) runs up the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The Boston Celtics and Charlotte Hornets are reportedly among the teams interested in a trade for Nikola Vucevic ahead of the March 25 deadline, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

If the Orlando Magic do trade the center, though, it would likely take a "massive" haul from an interested team.

Vucevic is heading to his second career All-Star game with averages of 24.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. The only other players currently averaging 24 and 11 are MVP candidates Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic, while Vucevic's 41.2 percent three-point shooting is a career high.

With the Magic struggling to a 13-23 record after five straight losses, it could be time to part with the 30-year-old to help the team rebuild.

The Celtics already have a pair of veteran big men in Tristan Thompson and Daniel Thies, but Vucevic could be a legitimate difference-maker as they try to compete with the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Vucevic averaged 28 points and 11 rebounds per game in the first-round playoff loss to the Milwaukee Bucks last season, including 35 and 14 in a Game 1 win. The center almost single-handedly kept Orlando competitive against the No. 1 seed, showing the impact he could have with more talent around him.

With two more All-Stars on the roster in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Boston could go from middle seed to contender.

The veteran would have a similar impact on the Hornets, providing some balance around perimeter-oriented scorers like Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball. As an obviously massive upgrade over Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo, Vucevic could help get Charlotte past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2002.