Last summer, the Orlando Magic had a Dwight Howard problem. Fortunately for them, that problem now belongs to the Houston Rockets. With Howard demanding a trade out of Orlando, the Magic had to make sure they would find a replacement for him in that mammoth of a trade completed to get him out.
In 2011, the Philadelphia 76ers used a later draft pick to nab USC center Nikola Vucevic. A nice, young prospect was Vucevic and Orlando’s general manager Rob Hennigan thought very highly of him; highly enough to make sure he was received on his end when giving up Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Fast forward a year later, and the Magic are more than thrilled with the first season Vucevic gave them. The 23-year old center averaged a double-double putting up 13.1 points and 11.9 rebounds in the 2012 season, specifically dominating against the East’s elite — Miami Heat.
Vucevic is entering the third year of a four-year rookie contract, and because of his quick development and solidifying the Magic’s center position, the team would be wise to get him locked down to an extension before he enters that final year.
Who would have thought that Howard’s spot would be filled so well, so soon after the trade? Vucevic immediately contributed and arguably was the team’s most consistent player all year long. Hennigan, I’m sure, wants to get his contract extended a few more years before his market skyrockets next year — especially with Vucevic possessing a then-expiring deal.
Centers are hard to come by these days. There aren’t many true big men that can give their team a double-double every single night without fail. For that reason alone, and the fact that Vucevic is so young, the Magic better make it happen.