One of the last remaining connections to the Dwight Howard era with the Orlando Magic is still on the roster. Although center Nikola Vucevic never played with Howard in Orlando, he was one of the many players the Magic acquired in the Howard three-team mega-deal in 2012.
Vucevic is still rehabbing the left hand fracture he suffered on Dec. 23 and has been doing all manner of work to get back in shape — including playing some video games. Nine screws are holding together the metacarpal bone of his index finger and while he can dribble and catch a basketball, shooting with the left hand remains an issue. As he works through those issues, Vucevic spoke yesterday with the media and made it clear he wants to stay with the Magic — even as his name surfaces in trade rumors. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel has more:
“I love it here,” he answered when he was asked whether he’d like to remain with the team. “I’m just disappointed that I haven’t been able to bring more wins and more joy to this franchise, to these fans. That’s the biggest disappointment for me. But other than that, everything’s been great for me here as far as how the organization treated me, how the fans treated me, my role on the team, how I’ve been able to perform. All that’s been great.
“I think if only we could get some wins, get some joy around here, it would be so much better. I always think we’re not that far away. I always think it’s like a couple of things that need to change, a couple of things that we could do to make it better. That’s why I try to stay positive. It’s not easy. A lot times when we have a bad loss, when we get a couple of losses in a row and all that, it takes a toll. You get very frustrated. But it’s never gotten to a point where I felt like I should ask to be moved.”
Vucevic tries not to pay attention to rumors, especially after last season, when it seemed to him as if he was rumored to go to “every team in the NBA.”
Vucevic turned 27 years old in October, and his team-friendly contract will expire after he’s paid $12.8 million for the 2018-19 season.
His expiring contract and versatility on offense could make him an attractive trade candidate for other teams. But he stressed Thursday that worrying about being traded isn’t productive.
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