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Breaking down fantasy basketball impact of Nikola Vucevic trade

We go over how the NBA Trade Deadline deal for the All-Star center impacts both the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic in terms of fantasy.

Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic and forward Aaron Gordon guard against Chicago Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. during the first quarter at Amway Center. Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

One of the bigger trades that went down ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline was a deal between the Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls that exchanged Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu for Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. One team appears to have significantly better on paper ahead of the postseason while the other is clearly preparing for what could be a lengthy rebuild. Let’s go over what the trade could mean for each team involved from a fantasy perspective.

Fantasy impact for Bulls

Bulls coach Billy Donovan is known for his ability to coach up and develop young players, but Chicago has elected to take o a win-now approach in the back half of the regular season. Carter has been viewed as a promising, two-way big, but he’s failed to make a major jump since entering the NBA as the No. 7 pick in the 2017 draft. He’s been replaced by an All-Star caliber big with a much more advanced offensive skill set.

Vucevic is averaging career highs in points (24.5) per game and is shooting above 40% from three. Expect him to be heavily featured as Chicago’s second option on offense, behind Zach LaVine. Vuc is a nightly double-double waiting to happen and can notch triple-doubles on his best nights thanks to his playmaking. Lauri Markkanen’s production could be on the downstroke soon because of this, as the Finnish big was rumored to be dangled as trade bait ahead of the deadline himself. Thaddeus Young will still be a valuable frontcourt player for the Bulls, but he should also take a step back with the acquisition of Vucevic.

One Bull who could benefit from the trade is Patrick Williams. The rookie will have far less competition for minutes on the wing now that Porter is out of the picture. The Florida State product has played more than 30 minutes in six of the 11 games he’s played in March and scored a career-high 23 points earlier this month.

Fantasy impact for Magic

Vucevic was the Magic’s best fantasy option by a wide margin, and now they’ll need to find a new one. Evan Fournier is no longer a candidate, as he was dealt to the Boston Celtis in a deadline-day trade. Aaron Gordon was traded to the Denver Nuggets and Orlando’s backcourt is dealing with a ton of injuries, so the Magic’s sixth man will likely get a big opportunity to step up.

Terrence Ross has only started twice this season but is averaging 16 points per game. He could very well become the Magic’s leading scorer for the rest of the year but will have to battle it out against some newfound competition. Rookie point guard RJ Hampton seems poised to crack the point guard rotation. He got limited exposure in Denver, but injuries in Orlando could give him a chance to make more plays as a backup to Michael-Carter Williams.