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Nikola Vucevic is latest star Celtics almost got

Celtics, Bulls, Nikola Vucevic

There’s a case to be made that the biggest surprise on trade deadline day came when the team that emerged as the partner with the Orlando Magic in the Nikola Vucevic trade was the Chicago Bulls.

Vucevic’s name had been tossed around, but many thought the Magic wouldn’t actually go through with a trade for their All-Star center. Not only did Vucevic get moved, but he went to the Bulls when it was widely thought that if Vucevic were to go, it would be to an instant contender. One team that stayed in the mix throughout was the Boston Celtics. While the Celtics did acquire Evan Fournier, they whiffed on attempts at Aaron Gordon and Vucevic, leaving fans left wondering if enough was done. It’s just the latest star the Celtics couldn’t quite get.

In an article in the Boston Globe, Adam Himmelsbach notes that the Celtics had submitted an offer for Vucevic, but the Magic went the way of Chicago.

“According to league sources, in addition to their well-documented courtship of Aaron Gordon, the Celtics were a finalist for Magic All-Star center Nikola Vucevic, including multiple first-round picks as part of their package. Orlando ultimately sent Vucevic to the Bulls in exchange for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr. and two first-round picks.” – Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe

Boston has struggled this year, currently sitting in 8th place in a deflated Eastern Conference. The record should be better given the All-Star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but for whatever reason Brad Stevens’ squad hasn’t been able to put the pieces of the puzzle together in 2021. Currently, Boston is looking up at teams like the Hawks, Knicks, and Hornets in the standings, something thought to be unfathomable at this point when the year started.

Landing Vucevic would’ve instantly boosted Boston’s chances in the East. Instead, they got his teammate and a three-point sniper in Evan Fournier.

Next up could be the buyout market for Danny Ainge to attack.