Is Nikola Vucevic a viable trade target for Celtics prior to deadline?
We have seen signs that Brad Stevens is not a huge fan of big lineups. He favors small ball, but it is increasingly clear that the Celtics could use a big, strong, inside-outside threat in the upcoming playoffs. That man may be 7', 240-pound Nikola Vucevic.
Vuc is only 28 years old and is having a career season, averaging 20.5 PPG, 12.1 RPG and 3.7 APG. He hits 53% on field goals, 38% on threes and 82% from the free throw line. He is in the final year of his contract, earning $12.7 million. The Orlando Magic seem to be going nowhere this season with a 16-19 record and seem to be focused on Mo Bamba as their center of the future (per CBSSports' Cordell Long):
With all of the young assets that the Magic have stockpiled in the front court, it seems almost certain that Vucevic will be moved. With his contract ending this year and his unique ability to play down low as well as outside, he will be a valuable asset for any playoff-bound team looking to add a useful piece. His averages this year are impressive (20.2 points, 11.8 rebounds), and due to his affordable contract ($12.8 million) expect him to be a popular target as we approach Feb. 7.
Potential Suitors: Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs
Make no mistake here. If Danny Ainge truly sees the addition of Vucevic as crucial to a Title this season, he will make a move. Boston often loses the rebounding battle to bigger, stronger teams, and Nikola would correct a lot of that. And his ability to score in close or out to the arc is invaluable. Granted, he may be a half-season rental, but a greater shot at a Championship would be the bait for Danny to bite. The biggest question, though, is whether Brad Stevens sees his preferred small-ball lineups winning it all.
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