Connect with us

Orlando Magic

CEDS TAKE: Vucevic Asserts Himself As Bulls Defeat Magic 

Cedric Donaldson

Published

on

©sportsclubflorida.com | Tramayne Wright
© sportsclubflorida.com | Tramayne Wright

The Magic and the Bulls are often mentioned in the same breath by NBA pundits these days, and likely will be for some time. This is because there is ongoing discussion about the now-infamous trade the two teams made with each other back in March of 2021. That trade saw Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter, and Chicago’s 2021 and 2023 first-round picks sent to Orlando in exchange for Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu. 

The seemingly unanimous consensus, both at the time as the trade has aged, is that the Magic won the deal. On any given night, Wendell Carter Jr. is a more effective player than Vucevic, who was in a sense the centerpiece of the deal. The 2021 Chicago first-round pick became budding star Franz Wagner. And the Magic will still take on the Bulls’ first rounder this spring, provided it doesn’t land in the top four (it almost certainly won’t). All in all, it’s one of the more lopsided deals in recent memory in favor of the Magic, and it has arguably set Orlando up to be a more successful franchise than Chicago for the next decade. 

At least, that’s the narrative. But on Saturday night in Orland, it looked as if the Bulls were beginning to take said narrative personally. 

The Bulls started the game hot, with Vucevic, Zach LaVine, and Patrick Williams carrying the early scoring load. Vucevic in particular appeared to be fired up for the matchup, notching nine points and six rebounds against his trade counterpart in the first quarter alone. This helped the Bulls to an early 25-19 lead, and unfortunately for the Magic, the second quarter brought more of the same. The pace picked up for both teams, but Vucevic stayed hot, adding eight more points to bring his halftime total to 17. DeMar DeRozan got going for Chicago as well, with the result that even as the Magic bench made strong contributions, the score at the intermission was 60-47 in favor of the Bulls. 

Advertisement

Vucevic poured in nine more points in a third quarter that looked much the same from Chicago. And while the Magic did more to keep pace –– largely by way of an 11-point burst by Mo Wagner in less than two minutes’ time –– they failed to trim the deficit. The score heading into the final quarter of play was 95-81, and though the elder Wagner stayed hot and the Vucevic show finally wrapped up (he didn’t score in the fourth), the Bulls gradually built on their lead. A Zach LaVine jumper with 36 seconds to play spread the margin to 19, and the game effectively ended with a Vucevic rebound at the other end. 

For the Magic, it was a disappointing outing on several fronts. For one thing, the fledgling two-headed monster of Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero essentially wasn’t heard from; it’s possible both young players are experiencing a little bit of fatigue as they continue to grow accustomed to the rigors of a full NBA schedule. For another, Markelle Fultz cooled off significantly after a series of excellent games Mo Wagner’s 27-point explosion off the bench was certainly a bright spot, and Cole Anthony turned in one of his better performances. But the Magic know they aren’t going to win many games when their starters don’t produce. 

The real drama of this latest Magic loss, however, was the Vucevic showing. Undoubtedly, the Magic will still prove to have “won” their trade with Chicago in time. Already, the duo of Carter and Franz Wagner is more valuable than Vucevic, and the Magic will likely draft another rookie this spring as a result of the trade. On this night in Orlando however, Vucevic gave us a reminder of why he was the original prize in the deal. And the Bulls had a great night because of it.  

 

Advertisement

Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic Linked to Career 38.5 3PT Shooter Player

Avatar

Published

on

Malik Beasley

The Orlando Magic are one of the teams expected to pursue Malik Beasley once he hits the free agency market this July.

The Magic, who have already been linked to several incoming free agents with respectable shooting acumen, are reportedly among the teams showing some level of interest in Beasley.

Other teams linked to the sweet-shooting veterans are the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.

“Houston has identified floor spacing and shooting as an area of need this offseason privately and publicly and have an interest in veteran sharpshooter Malik Beasley,” a source close to the situation told the New York Times.

Advertisement

Beasley started 77 games for the Milwaukee Bucks this past season, converting 41.3 percent of his shots from 3-point distance. He’s a career 38.5 percent three-point shooter.

Continue Reading

Orlando Magic

Magic Have Interest in Sweet-Shooting Point Guard

Avatar

Published

on

D'Angelo Russell

The Orlando Magic has reportedly shown interest in potential free agent guard D’Angelo Russell, the Athletic reported on Wednesday, May 21.

Russell, who can opt out of his $18.7 million player option with the Los Angeles Lakers, is expected to draw interest from teams looking to shore up their shooting in their backcourt.

The 28-year-old point guard averaged 18.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 32.7 minutes per game while shooting 45.6 FG% and 41.5 3PT% during the 2023-24 season.

His numbers dipped in the playoffs as he averaged 14.2 points on 38.4 FG% and 31.8 3PT% in the five-game series with the Denver Nuggets.

Advertisement

The Magic direly need some reliable shooting in their lineup for next season after shooting 35.2% from deep in the regular-season.

Aside from Russell, the Magic are also rumored as a potential destination for Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic Linked to Big-Time Scorer in Free Agency

According to reputable NBA insider Ramona Shelburne, the Magic are one of the teams eyeing the service of NBA All-Star Paul George.

Avatar

Published

on

Paul George

The offseason officially started for the Orlando Magic seconds after the final buzzer of their 94-106 Game 7 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. According to reputable NBA insider Ramona Shelburne, the Magic are one of the teams eyeing incoming free agent Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers.

“There’s two teams that are paying very close attention to Paul George: the Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers, because both of them have the money to throw at him and need a wing just like him, a veteran guy,” Shelburne said on “the Brian Windhorst & the Hoops Collective” podcast on May 1.

Sportrac projected the Magic to have a practical cap space of $19 million, but their maximum possible cap space could balloon to as high as $58 million if they forego their team options on Jonathan Isaac, Joe Ingles, and Moritz Wagner.

Despite turning 34 once the free agency window opens, George is expected to be a hot commodity on the market because of his reputation as a flat-out scorer and above-average wing defender. He’ll be looking for his final max-level deal of at least $45 million per year before he enters the twilight years of his career.

George averaged 22.6 points on 47.1 FG%, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game during the regular season with the Clippers. His scoring production dipped a bit during the six-game series against the Mavericks, putting up 19.5 points on 41.1 FG% and 36.7 3PT%.

NBA experts expect the Magic to bring over either a legitimate shooter or a scorer who will help address the lack of shooting on their roster. George, a career 38.5 3PT% shooter, would be a solid addition to a resurging team like the Magic.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending