Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic Deserve Contract Extensions


Dec 29, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic small forward Tobias Harris (12) grabs a rebound as the Atlanta Hawks face the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

News broke tonight that the Orlando Magic are looking to sign both Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic to contract extensions, and quite frankly, they couldn’t be any more deserving.

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports that the Magic are looking to begin discussions around Labor Day with Harris and Vucevic.

Both players must be signed to an extension by November 1 under CBA rules, otherwise they can’t sign a new deal until next offseason when they’ll become restricted free agents. Any deal must be for either four or five years.

Since being acquired in the J.J. Redick trade in February of last year, Harris has averaged 15.5 points per game in 88 contests for the Magic. He also averages nearly six boards a game.

The 21-year-old has the ability to play both at the small forward and power forward position because of how well he defends. However, he’s an extremely good scorer too. With the signing of Channing Frye and by drafting Aaron Gordon, it may give Harris more freedom to score this upcoming season.

While it was painful for Orlando fans to see Redick depart, the emergence of Harris has been outstanding. He’s demonstrated that he can score, can defend and is full value for a contract extension.

Frankly, Harris is one of the building blocks of this franchise and keeping him should be a priority.

Furthermore, the same can be said about Vucevic. In two seasons with Orlando, the Montenegrin has averaged 13.6 PPG and 11.5 RPG.

Luckily for the Magic, they acquired Vucevic after Dwight Howard left so it meant the Magic didn’t have to go without a dominant rebounding center for any period of time.

Orlando has had a number of good centers in franchise history and the 23-year-old Vucevic is just the next in line.

His ability to grab boards, but also score, has become something the Magic rely heavily on. He is also able to hit a mid-range jumper that adds to his repertoire. He needs to improve defensively still, but Vucevic has improved leaps and bounds since his arrival in Orlando.

He has also said himself he wants to stay, with his agent Rade Filipovich backing that up.

"“We are in favor, of course, to stay here for many years. He loves this city, and Nikey likes to stay here. All the organization is very friendly and very helpful to Nikey. We don’t see that we’re going to have any problem to find a solution. We don’t have any timetable. Nothing is set. But I know that both sides are willing to find an agreement for Nikey to stay for many years in Orlando.”"

While Vucevic wants to stay, his play on the court has meant the Magic want to keep him in Orlando for the long-haul.

Both Harris and Vucevic have spent less than two years in Orlando. However, in that time they’ve full demonstrated that they are full value for long-term extensions and figure to be a critical part of the turnaround that makes Orlando a contender again.