The Orlando Magic have lost All-Star centers before. It’s something of a tradition.
But those who have come and gone — Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard — forced their way out. And once they left, they didn’t show an ounce of the emotion that Nikola Vucevic displayed during his introductory media session with the Bulls.
Vucevic was asked about his emotions leaving Orlando by Josh Robbins of The Athletic.
Take a look and grab a tissue...
My heart hurts. Just cancel the trade https://t.co/ao7DKyBrIR— Orlando Pinstriped Post (@OPPMagicBlog) March 27, 2021
Prior to being traded at Thursday’s deadline, Vucevic publicly expressed a desire to remain in Orlando. Whether he was open to a trade behind closed doors, we may never know. Jeff Weltman rightfully deflected that question on Friday.
But when you watch the video, and the emotion Vooch showed, you see someone who wanted to be in Orlando. And there never really has been an All-Star player who wanted to do that. Not Shaq, not Dwight, not Tracy McGrady. All left town on bad terms.
It’s different with Vucevic, who spent eight and a half seasons with the team during the worst stretch in franchise history and was still ready for more. Still wanted to be part of the solution. And that’s why him being traded, even on a day when big moves were expected from the Magic, came as a shock and hit hard.
As necessary as the trade may have been for the Magic to fully embrace their reset and their future, Vucevic’s reaction today makes it even harder.
We will miss you, Vooch...
Thank you for this very touching video and for the support and love all these years https://t.co/T4liwiyOeR— Nikola Vucevic (@NikolaVucevic) March 27, 2021
Vucevic said he thinks he’ll fit right in with Chicago and is excited for the opportunity to join a talented Bulls team.
“A lot of guys that are up and coming. Obviously Zach this year, he’s part of it, Lauri Markkanen, as well, Coby White, and then also I’m a big fan of Tomas Satoransky, he’s not as young anymore, but I played against him over the years and then also with national team,” Vooch said. “So, a lot of the guys I felt had a lot of potential and it felt in a similar way kind of like a couple years ago with us in Orlando where we had a bunch of young pieces but you’re just missing a little bit. When the trade happened, I felt like I could be a guy that could come in and help us take the next step.”