The Boston Celtics are in the market for a quality big man who could play effectively alongside Al Horford, recent NBA trade rumors revealed. One name that comes to mind is Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic.
The 25-year-old Morges, Switzerland native is arguably the most underrated big man in the NBA. Despite posting elite numbers with the Magic, he now finds himself in a very peculiar situation and is being mentioned in NBA trade rumors.
The Magic recently acquired power forward Serge Ibaka in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Many thought the move would help Vucevic blossom into the team’s franchise center. However, the Magic soon reached an agreement with Toronto Raptors center Bismack Biyombo for a four-year, $72 million deal, as per Sports Illustrated.
The arrival of Biyombo would give the Magic another above-average rim protector, but it also raises questions about Vucevic’s future. Will the team’s leading scorer and rebounder last season start at center or will it be Biyombo, who is expected to make $6 million more per year than Vucevic?
Orlando Sentinel indicated that there’s a big chance the 7-foot Swiss would be traded before the start of 2016-17 season. New Magic head coach Frank Vogel is a defensive-minded coach and might prefer the frontcourt tandem of Ibaka and Biyombo.
The Magic can bench Vucevic, but that wouldn’t be a good situation for both parties. It would be best if the team trades away his four-year, $48 million contract in order to get players who fit Frank Vogel’s style of play.
According to Hardwood Houdini, the Celtics could pluck Vucevic out of his misery by trading for him in exchange for one of the team’s surplus talents. The addition of University of California standout Jaylen Brown to the Celtics has turned Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart into tradeable assets.
Having another big man who can score from anywhere on the court, as well as grab double-digit rebounds would significantly improve the Celtics from last season. Brad Stevens can use both Vucevic and Horford to stretch the floor or have one of them play a pick-and-pop game with Isaiah Thomas, while the other is inside the paint.
Both Vucevic and Horford have made a living out of scoring and rebounding. Vucevic put up 14.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game last season, while Horford posted 14.3 points and 8.9 boards per game.