Nikola Vucevic Trade Rumors: Magic 'Reluctant' to Part with Star Before Deadline

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2021

Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The Orlando Magic reportedly remain "reluctant" to consider offers for All-Star center Nikola Vucevic ahead of the 2021 NBA trade deadline next Thursday.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported Friday that "teams have called" the Magic with interest in Vucevic, but have so far been turned away.

Vucevic is the biggest bright spot for a Magic squad that's in the midst of a nine-game losing streak. They rank 14th in the Eastern Conference with a 13-27 record in large part because of a constant stream of injuries that have made it difficult to find consistent success.

The 30-year-old USC product has averaged 24.8 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.7 threes while being one of just two Orlando players, along with guard Dwayne Bacon, to play in all 40 games. He's also shooting 48.8 percent from the field, including 41 percent from three-point range.

That individual success earned him his second career All-Star Game appearance earlier this month.

Vucevic isn't a traditional deadline trade candidate since he's under contract through the 2022-23 season as part of a four-year, $100 million deal, so there's no pressure on the Magic front office to move him like there would be if his contract was set to expire.

That said, it's no surprise other teams are checking in on his potential availability as the Magic's playoff hopes fade and they trend toward seller status ahead of the deadline.

Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported Monday the Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets and San Antonio Spurs are among the interested teams, but the asking price is predictably high with Orlando seeking a starter-level player and multiple first-round picks as the foundation of any offer.

"They'd have to get a motherload for him," a source told Fischer.

The Magic aren't as far away from being a playoff-caliber team as their record would suggest. Injuries to Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony have just made it hard to keep pace.

Trading a franchise cornerstone like Vucevic would likely yield an impressive return of assets, but it would also further cloud the team's outlook in the near future.