This is the time of year the trade winds start brewing in Orlando. The 2018 trade deadline is approaching and the Orlando Magic have options.
Wins are difficult to acquire for the Orlando Magic this year. Eight of the teams wins, came within the first 12 games of the season.
The 2017-18 season is going in the history books as another lost season for the Orlando Magic.
Hope for the team’s future is not as lost.
This is the time of year, teams look at their respective rosters and gauge if they will maneuver for a playoff run or if they are fishing for a top lottery pick. The Magic are headed towards the latter scenario.
This will be the first trade deadline for Hammond and president of basketball operations, Jeff Weltman, with the Orlando Magic. Weltman stated before the season began, that this would be an evaluation season for the team. He included the Orlando Magic would do their due diligence and evaluate what each players value is and would be towards the Magic’s future. And this upcoming deadline will prove to be a true test of their evaluation process.
The season has been a disappointment thus far at the midway point but the Magic will have an opportunity to change their misfortunes.
A few rumors have already surfaced that link the Magic towards a core shakeup. The most common name involved is wingman Evan Fournier. But the Magic are not looking to make a deal just to please the public’s perception of the teams flaws. If a favorable deal surfaces, then management will choose whether or not to make a deal. But don’t expect it to be for pennies on the dollar.
In an interview with ESPN Orlando Scott Anez, Jeff Weltman indicated the Magic would receive calls for just about everyone on the roster. Teams around the league view Orlando as a franchise who may make a deal to give them a sense of new direction. What’s not clear is the direction the Orlando Magic intend to take. Magic brass has been quite mum on their future intentions but the team is willing to listen to all offers. Only the deals aligning with the long-term vision will be given a second look. And this team has a few options ahead of the trade deadline.
Blow It Up and Build From Scratch
The Orlando Magic could choose to start the new era of Magic basketball by unloading everyone on the roster not in the long-term plans. The Magic have value in their current players and teams around the league recognize it. That talent just hasn’t been able to mesh well together in Orlando and that could lead the team into moving on from anyone not in the long-term plans.
Most of the current players would be easy to move because of their current contract status but realistically all of them could be serviceable to another team under the right situation.
A move of this magnitude would mean the Magic would have to embrace another three to five years of rebuilding.
As of now, reports indicate forward Aaron Gordon and rookie Jonathan Issac to be out of trade inclusions. Those two figure to be the two players the current regime intend to build around. Everyone else should be expendable for the right price under this plan.
Retain the Current Core of Players and Add Pieces
The Orlando Magic are not a team incapable of winning. Weltman stated the Magic were an astounding 8-4 when everyone was healthy and played their team roles. Clearly an indication the team is capable of winning. They sported a top five offensive unit during that stretch and top five overall net efficiency rating. But the team had deficiencies in the rebounding area and efficient scoring from the guard positions.
Those needs could be addressed via the draft and or free agency this summer. If the team felt they could win sooner with current players on the roster then the core may be around longer than this season.
A key issue the Magic have endured this season is injuries. Injuries may as well have an assigned Orlando Magic jersey. The Magic were off to a torrid start shooting the ball that simply couldn’t be sustained all season. But with a healthy roster, the team could have competed in the Eastern Conference.
It’s already been confirmed the Magic have scouted highly rated players like Oklahoma Sooner’s Trae Young and Real Madrid’s Luka Doncic this season. Both players offer dynamics that the team currently does not possess in playmaking and shooting. Orlando will consider both players if they become available to the team during the 2018 NBA Draft.
The Magic are not done scouting and will continue to gather information on other top rated NBA prospects including top rated front court players like Arizona Wildcat Deandre Ayton, Duke Blue Devil Marvin Bagley III, and Missouri Tiger Michael Porter Jr.
The newcoming NBA rookies are sure to be intriguing. But the Orlando Magic will have to be strategic in free agency as well to fill out the roster. Last summer, the Magic signed veteran free agents who could contribute to the team immediately. This summer should be no different. The team must continue to add strong veterans who can mentor and lead this ball club into a winning season.
While maintaining the current core players past this year may not be a fan favorite idea, it’s highly plausible and must remain in play if the team values improving and winning over simply getting younger and starting from scratch.
Trade For A Bona-Fide Superstar
The last scenario that favors Orlando at the moment, is to push for an established star player. The Orlando Magic ar not the star chasing type of team. Usually they end up with a borderline star type of player — or a player past his prime. This regime will be no different. Current reports indicate Orlando would be willing to pull the trigger only if the right deal came along.
The Magic are not an attractive team for the league’s star players. But that doesn’t mean they should not make the pitch If they find a star worth pursuing.
Several league marquee players are on the trade market. Their current situations are not quite panning out as expected. That’s a window of opportunity for Orlando — however small it may be.
The Magic will have a difficult task of signing a star player outright this summer. A trade is the only realistic option. To do so, Orlando must first be able to convince a star player of greener pastures soon to come. Only 10 teams will have more cap space than the Magic this summer to pursue players. Combine that idea with the thought of playing with a potential number one pick and a player like Aaron Gordon or Jonathan Isaac and it just may be possible.
Players such as Oklahoma Thunder’s Paul George and Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker are a couple of players the Magic could choose to target for a rebuild. George makes the most sense due to his long history with head coach Frank Vogel. But nothing is likely to gain traction until closer to the February 8th trade deadline.
Whatever process Hammond and Weltman decide to take the team, the Magic community will have to trust that it’s for best.
But also trust that it won’t come at a discounted price as the Magic have options.