Orlando Magic Rumors: Nikola Vucevic ‘motivated’ to stay with Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers to pursue

Nikola Vucevic and the Orlando Magic are a nondescript team seeking attention. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
Nikola Vucevic and the Orlando Magic are a nondescript team seeking attention. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic’s biggest decision this summer involves Nikola Vucevic. It appears both sides want to find a deal, but other teams are getting ready.

With the NBA Draft over, teams will be excited to introduce their newest players and speak optimistically about the upcoming season. The draft for a lot of teams is simply about asset accumulation. Filling needs can be secondary and it is more important to find talented players to bolster depth in the short term — as it seemed to be with the Orlando Magic.

The attention turns quickly though to free agency. And this year’s free agency, as everyone expects, will be a doozy.

With roughly 40 percent of the league entering free agency this offseason, there are plenty of teams with cap room and the expectation there will be several players — big name players — changing teams.

That includes Magic All-Star center Nikola Vucevic.

A lot of ink has been spilled in the last year trying to figure out if the Magic should retain Nikola Vucevic.

On one hand, he was absolutely the reason the team made the playoffs this year, providing consistent scoring and solid defense to boost the team every night. On the other hand, he is still a flawed player, limited defensively, who does not quite fit the direction this team appears to be building toward.

Debates about whether to re-sign Vucevic have consumed the Magic fan base. And there has been precious little information on what his plans actually are.

It is widely assumed the Magic will make an offer on Vucevic but have a limit to how high and how long they are willing to go. If Vucevic demands or gets something greater than that amount, the team seems comfortable walking away and pursuing other avenues.

What Vucevic’s market looks like is difficult to decipher. But recent actions around the league have opened up some doors and perhaps added new teams.

Toward the end of Thursday’s NBA Draft broadcast on ESPN, Adrian Wojnarowski commented briefly on Nikola Vucevic’s free agency after the Orlando Magic traded the 46th overall pick (Talen Horton-Tucker) to the Los Angeles Lakers.

He said the Magic and Vucevic are motivated to get a deal done, but the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are circling should a deal not get done.

Shams Charania of Stadium added the Celtics’ move to deal Aron Baynes was done to free up cap space to chase after Nikola Vucevic. With the prospect of losing Al Horford as their starting center, the Celtics seem to be chasing a center on this market too.

Boston has long been interested in Vucevic in trade deals with the Magic. It is not the first time Vucevic’s name has popped up in discussions involving the Celtics. This might be the right time for them to get him at long last.

The Lakers are in need of some center help if they want to keep Anthony Davis at power forward, his preferred position. And Vucevic could be a value pick over spending it on another max free agent.

The question remains what amount the Magic are willing to pay to keep Vucevic. That still seems like a mystery.

But the market is redeveloping with some big teams seemingly willing to go for him and put up a hefty paycheck to get him at the end of the day.

Orlando will have its work cut out for it to continue shaping the team. But the team will have to stick to its guns. It will have to understand just how far it is willing to go to sign Vucevic. And if the market gets too rich, the team has to be willing to let him walk at the end of the day.

Magic expected to pursue Bobby Portis in free agency. dark. Next

That seems to be the posture for the Magic. And those things have not changed yet.