The 2018-19 season was an encouraging one for the Orlando Magic and Nikola Vucevic was at the center of it all. Despite modest preseason expectations and a 20-31 start, the Magic flipped the script to the tune of 42 victories and a playoff berth, all with Vucevic as the team’s offensive centerpiece. While that performance was key in improving the mood around the organization, Vucevic’s breakout season did come at an interesting time overall, as Orlando invested lottery picks in Jonathan Isaac in 2017 and Mo Bamba in 2018, just as Vucevic himself was hitting unrestricted free agency.
But before he could hit the open market, a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic indicates that Vucevic isn’t going anywhere. Vucevic will reportedly return to Orlando on a four-year deal that will pay him $100 million.
As noted above, Vucevic put together a career-best season in 2018-19, averaging 20.8 points and 12.0 rebounds per game. Beyond the raw production, the 28-year-old center also saw a distinctive uptick in efficiency (25.5 PER, 57 percent true shooting) and, while his overall effectiveness took a hit in a playoff loss to the Toronto Raptors, Vucevic showed more upside than many believed was possible.
Moving ahead, it will be intriguing to see how Vucevic capitalizes on this newfound success, particularly as the NBA seemingly moves from away from his player archetype. Still, there is a market for highly impressive offensive centers at any position, and Vucevic certainly qualifies at the center spot.