The Orlando Magic have made huge changes to their roster in the past two seasons. Changes that, at least on the surface, appear to be trending toward a more balanced and defensive approach.

Considering Orlando has been among the worst defensive teams in the league over the past several seasons, it’s an accepted course change. Add in defensive-minded head coach Frank Vogel and defensive enforcers like Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo, and Orlando suddenly feels like a team to fear in the Eastern Conference.

All of the positive changes make for a fuzzy vision when thinking of star center Nikola Vucevic, however. Some reports have stated Biyombo was paid to take over his old starting gig, and others suggest Vucevic’s time in Florida is bound to come to an end.

Vucevic, meanwhile, contests the starting job is still his.

Something has to break here, and considering Vucevic’s defensive woes and the money invested in Ibaka and Biyombo, it’s likely the writing is on the wall.

That should bring a Nikola Vucevic trade soon enough, but where does he go? We take a look at his seven best landing spots:

Boston Celtics

Boston kick starts our list as easily the top trade destination. They just paid a bunch of money to upgrade the center position with Al Horford, but they also just lost fellow big man Jared Sullinger to the Raptors. If they want to solidify their unit, they could swing a trade for Vucevic, who would man the five and push Horford to his old power forward position.

Both guys shoot well, but Horford has the better chance to stretch the floor as a four and is better suited to defend power forwards than Vucevic. There is still the question of Vucevic’s defense, but given Boston’s elite perimeter defense, it’s possible it wouldn’t be as big of an issue in his new location.

Even with this deal, the Celtics could still be on the prowl for a superstar like Russell Westbrook. They’d lose depth and future assets in the process, but a starting unit of Westbrook, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Horford and Vucevic would look pretty daunting on paper.

Houston Rockets

Houston is another player here, especially since they have none of the cares about defense after bringing in guys like Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson. Clint Capela is an interesting prospect, but he offers very little offensively. Vucevic is a well-rounded offensive player and could fit Mike D’Atoni’s system just fine.

The Rockets already can’t defend, so adding a strong offensive player makes them even nastier on that end and Vucevic’s defensive limitations won’t matter as much here.

Portland Trail Blazers

Portland could be a real player in Nikola Vucevic trade rumors, as they have been looking for a big center upgrade for a while now. Losing LaMarcus Aldridge was big last year and they were in talks with Pau Gasol before the Spaniard fled Chicago for the Spurs.

Perhaps they’ll take a long look at acquiring Vucevic, who would be an easy upgrade over Mason Plumlee. Perhaps Plumlee is part of the deal, one in which the Blazers would get a reliable inside scorer to pair with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum’s elite outside attack.

New York Knicks

The Knicks did just invest in big man Joakim Noah, but Vucevic looks like a far wise acquisition on paper. It’s doubtful they would swap the two (Orlando wouldn’t be interested in that), but they could consider sending Kyle O’Quinn and future picks in a deal.

They don’t have a ton of assets, though, so they’d probably have to get a third team involved to make something happen, while guys like Cleanthony Early and Lance Thomas could also factor into the equation.

New Orleans Pelicans

It’s unclear if the Pellies want to see more or less of Anthony Davis at the five spot, but with Ryan Anderson leaving in free agency, it seems he’s destined to spend most of his time at power forward. If that is indeed going to be the case, the Pelicans need to think about how things look with either Omer Asik or Alexis Ajinca seeing big minutes at center.

They can’t love the idea of either situation, which could open the door to a big center upgrade. Asik and Ajinca could then be marked men in Nikola Vucevic trade rumors, while guys like Norris Cole and Dante Cunningham could be thrown into talks. The Magic could also try to pry versatile rookie Cheick Diallo from New Orleans to complete a deal.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks are another interesting spot, as rookie Thon Maker probably won’t be ready to make a huge impact in year one and the team badly wants to move on from Greg Monroe.

Moose and Vucevic are both bad defenders, but Vucevic is a far better shooter and overall scorer, and would give Milwaukee a very sound scorer on the block. He’d open up Milwaukee’s offense in a big way and could also be hidden due to their other strong defensive pieces. It’s a move to consider, but the Magic probably wouldn’t be overly interested in taking on Moose, which could make a Bucks/Magic trade requiring a third team.

Dallas Mavericks

Dallas did just trade for Andrew Bogut, but he’s aging and constantly banged up, so if they can get their hands on a younger, more long-term option at center, they might want to jump on it.

Bogut is a decent find, but he’s better suited as a backup. Vucevic would have the starting gig he wants and in Dallas he’d be the second option at worst. Dallas doesn’t have a ton of appealing assets to unload, but an energy guy like Quincy Acy, Justin Anderson and/or future picks could be dangled.

Nikola Vucevic Prediction

The odds aren’t great that Nikola Vucevic gets moved this year. He has quality coaching and an improving team around him, plus he is such a strong offensive force that getting rid of him would be counter intuitive. It’s also debatable that Biyombo isn’t a great starting option.

Vucevic may not be long for the Magic, but it sounds like Orlando is either going to see if he can improve defensively or if a time share between him and Biyombo can work out. For now, we don’t see Vucevic being dealt, but if he is, don’t be shocked if the Celtics lead the way in trade rumors.

Got a better option for Vucevic or agree he stays put? Let us know in the comments below!

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