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Nikola Vucevic ‘proud’ to represent Orlando Magic at 2019 All-Star Weekend in Charlotte

Thursday was quite the day around the league.

The New Orleans Pelicans picked up a call from Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers; the Dallas Mavericks traded for Kristaps Porzingis; and the Milwaukee Bucks went into Toronto, took down the Raptors to be 24 games over .500 for the first time since 1986, and still have the best record in the NBA.

The All-Star reserves were also announced, as Nikola Vucevic became the first Orlando Magic player since Dwight Howard (2011-2012) to be invited to participate in the all-star game.

“It was about a billion emotions going through me, but I’m glad that we had the whole anthem and we had introductions and everything so that I could calm down a little bit and focus on the game,” Vucevic said. “I’m happy that I was able to control my emotions well and we played a great game. We won so that makes it even better.”

Orlando did have a nice streak of all-star game representation from 2006-07 – 2011-12, getting three players in the game in 2009 (Howard, Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis). Nothing since 2012, though. And that’s exactly why Vucevic – along with the whole team – celebrated in fashion right after Thursday night’s win.

“As much as [it is] in an individual award, it’s also a team award,” Vucevic added. “I’m going to be representing the whole organization there, my teammates and the whole city of Orlando. I’m proud of that.”

Vucevic, 28, is the longest-tenured player on the current Magic roster.

Impact on Trade Market

Vucevic is playing the best ball of his career right now. The Orlando Magic are expected to be active in the trade market leading up to next week’s deadline. Something has to give, right?

He’s in his final season of a four-year, $48 million rookie extension that was signed back in 2014.

Some news Friday morning indicated the Magic will not move the big man unless it’s for some sort of a big-name like a Kemba Walker or Mike Conley. On top of that, Vucevic’s agent may have indicated he would re-sign this offseason at a home-town discount.

As long as the front office front loads the contract – ala Aaron Gordon – that should be just fine. More than fine because – for the first time in a long time, and maybe ever – a star wants to be in Orlando.

He may not have the game-to-game impact that Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, Dwight Howard had in their time with the Magic. Those players’ peaks with the franchise were definitely much higher. But the choice to leave the team made the fans do nothing but a collective shoulder shrug. It became a trend to develop certain talent only to see it flourish somewhere else.

Times are changing for the Magic. A star wants to be in Orlando.