NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
The Orlando Magic are exploring the trade market for center Nikola Vucevic, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. The Magic are looking to flip the 27-year-old for some young talent and/or future draft picks.
After selecting Mo Bamba, a 20-year-old 7-footer, with the sixth overall pick in this past draft, the Magic—who picked center Jonathan Issac in the 2017 NBA Draft—made it clear Vucevic is no longer a part of the team's future. With two young centers on the roster and the franchise in full rebuild mode, Vucevic is better off playing elsewhere.
Vucevic is entering the final season of the four-year, $53 million extension he signed in 2014. He will earn $12.75 million in 2018-19.
Vucevic averaged 16.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists last season. He has played with the Magic in each of the last six seasons after being drafted with the 16th pick in 2011 by the Philadelphia 76ers, who traded him after his rookie season to Orlando in the Dwight Howard blockbuster three-team trade that also featured the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Magic have an abundance of big men in their frontcourt after picking Issac and Bamba in consecutive drafts and signing Aaron Gordon, a power forward, to a four-year extension this offseason. Rather than let Vucevic walk away in free agency next summer for nothing in return, Orlando is wise to seek out a trade partner for the center’s services.
The trade rumors involving Vucevic are another signal that the new front office regime—spearheaded by general manager John Hammond—is trying to soak away the remains of the Rob Hennigan era. Hennigan, the team’s former general manager, struggled mightily to put forth a competitive product as the Magic posted dismal 132–278 record in his tenure—the worst five-year stretch in franchise history.