BOSTON – If you’ve seen the Boston Celtics play this season, no one can blame Danny Ainge for looking around at any potential big men whose strength is scoring and rebounding.
Which brings us to Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, a 7-foot double-double machine throughout most of his career in the NBA with the Orlando Magic.
CSNNE.com has learned that the Celtics have talked with the Orlando Magic about a potential deal involving the 26-year-old center.
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While no deal is imminent, the addition of Vucevic would be a significant boost to the Celtics roster on multiple fronts.
Rebounding, defense and scoring are the Big Three areas the Celtics are looking to upgrade between now and the Feb. 23 trade deadline.
The addition of Vucevic would address at least two of those areas for the Celtics – scoring and rebounding.
He’s averaging a near double-double this season with 13.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game along with 2.8 assists. For the season, he has 19 double-doubles compared to a Celtics team which collectively have just 21.
In his sixth NBA season, Vucevic is no stranger to trade rumors which tend to intensify when a team struggles as much as the Magic have this season.
So I asked him earlier how does he handle the speculation which is inevitable when you’re a good player on a team that’s not winning.
“You try not to pay too much attention to it and focus on what you can do,” Vucevic said. “And just focus on what you can do which is your play and do your best to help the team win.
Vucevic added, “there’s been a lot (of rumors) about me this season. I haven’t paid attention to it. I don’t read that much. It’s all rumors; you can’t control them. At the end of the day, what happens, happens.”
Not only are teams attracted to Vucevic because of his skills, but also because of his extremely team-friendly contract in this new age or big(ger) money pouring into the league and into the pockets of players and franchises.
Vucevic signed a four-year, $53 million rookie extension contract which will pay him $11.75 million this season, and has two years remaining at $12.25 million in ’17-18 and $12.75 million in ’18-19 which makes him one of the league’s best bargains over the course of the next two seasons.