2018-19 Orlando Magic Player Evaluations: Nikola Vucevic

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 09: Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic takes a shot during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum on February 09, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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 Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 09: Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic takes a shot during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum on February 09, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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 Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 5
Next
Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic
ORLANDO, FL – DECEMBER 30: Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic makes his entrance before the game against the Detroit Pistons on December 30, 2018 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

2020 Outlook

There is no denying that Nikola Vucevic has set himself up well for unrestricted free agency. He signed a four-year $48 million contract that seemed to be a discount when the Magic inked it with him. He lived up to that contract and then blew it away this year.

Now, Vucevic is in the prime of his career and the height of his powers. He is in a position to command the most money he will get for the rest of his career. And he should absolutely get it.

Vucevic is one of the most versatile offensive centers in the league. Steve Clifford was absolutely right at the beginning of the season. Vucevic is the guy at the top of the scouting report and someone who can test defenses in multiple ways.

Related Story. 2017-18 Orlando Magic Player Outlook: Nikola Vucevic. light

The question then becomes how much will the Magic — or any other team — pay for him.

The question for the Magic is how much are they willing to invest in him — both in terms of dollars and years — when they have their future center in Mohamed Bamba waiting in the wings.

It is clear Bamba is not ready to step into the starting lineup. And the Magic clearly need Vucevic to make even their modest offense going. It is quite the pickle for Jeff Weltman.

For Vucevic’s part, he has earned a contract that will exceed $20 million per year. That number feels low for an All-Star center in his prime. And in a summer where several teams have large amounts of cap space, it feels like there will be plenty of teams chasing after him.

The Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings are already rumored to be interested. But nobody is quite sure how real their interest is.

It does not feel like a max will come Vucevic’s way. But the Magic certainly have to have a limit they will not pass before they move on.

Knowing Vucevic, I believe it is safe to assume that if the money is equal, Vucevic would prefer to stay in Orlando. But that may not be an opportunity he gets. The Magic are more likely to walk away and let him leave than they are to do whatever it takes to keep him.

At this point, it feels like a 50/50 shot Vucevic returns to the team.

He should keep up much of his production of the last year. He is still in the prime of his career. But the question remains whether that puts a ceiling on your team ultimately. Even if we now know that ceiling is a playoff berth.