The Orlando Magic look as though they are going full speed ahead with their desire to rebuild through youth. According to the Athletic’s Michael Scotto on Wednesday, the Magic are expected to make center Nikola Vucevic available on the trade market after drafting Mohamed Bamba out of Texas with the No. 5 pick of the 2018 NBA Draft.
With Bamba expected to take over starting duties ahead of Timofey Mozgov and Khem Birch, an offensively talented center is about to be available.
At 27 years old, Vucevic is in the midst of his prime, the seven-year veteran averaging 14.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in his career. His finest spell came between 2015-2017 when he averaged 18.8 points per game.
However, durability has been an issue as he’s appeared in 75 games or more just twice in his career. Last year, which saw him post 16.5 points per game, was limited to just 57 starts due to a broken hand.
Regardless, this is a talented big man that can put up close to a double-double per night and is attempting to develop a three-point game should get plenty of interest on the trading block, especially because his contract will be expiring at the end of the 2018-19 season. That means he could be had on a discount.
Here are two teams that could take a look at him:
Nikola Vucevic to the Los Angeles Lakers?
There is a possibility that the Los Angeles Lakers could implement LeBron James at center throughout the season, which is all you really need to know about the state of the team’s position at the moment. Granted, it could be a strategy in order to get Kyle Kuzma more time at power forward instead of strictly coming off the bench behind James.
In terms of true centers though, JaVale McGee does not bring a well-rounded game to the Lakers depth chart while the book is obviously still out on rookie Moritz Wagner.
Vucevic could come in and bring an established low-post game with an offensive arsenal that will only bring more options to a Lakers offense that will be plenty dangerous with James at the helm.
Nikola Vucevic to the Atlanta Hawks?
Dealing for Vucevic wouldn’t necessarily be a move that holds up with the Atlanta Hawks’ rebuild, but there is a definite need for a center in the Peach State.
John Collins could possibly be a center of the future, but Mason Plumlee and Alex Len don’t provide much while Dewayne Dedmon is more of a 4 moonlighting as a 5 for the time being.
Vucevic would allow Dedmon to return to his natural position while experimenting with Collins at both the 4 and 5.