Analyzing the Elfrid Payton Trade and Whats Next For the Orlando Magic

The 2018 NBA trade deadline is yesterday’s news. The Orlando Magic were inclined to begin making changes to the roster. And dealing point guard Elfrid Payton was the first move to make.

The Orlando Magic only made one deal before Thursday’s 3p.m. trade deadline. The team decided to remove fourth year guard Elfrid Payton from the magic equation. An equation that resulted in four years of losing seasons. Soon to be six overall since the teams last playoff appearance in 2012.

The return: A 2018 second round pick from the Phoenix Suns. The second-most valuable pick between Charlotte, Memphis and Miami’s picks.

Elfrid Payton averaged 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game this season. Payton is shooting a career high 37 percent from three and 52 percent from the floor. However, the Magic were not convinced that he was the long-term solution in their rebuilding plans.

Some felt Orlando should have received more compensation for a player like Payton.

Some thought this trade offer was a joke of some kind.

Some believed Elfrid Payton was worth more than a second-round pick due to his ability to score in isolation and push the tempo on offense. Payton helped lead Orlando to the seventh fastest pace played in the NBA this season. His PER of 18.2 was a career high and sported an offensive rating of 105.9, also a career high.

On the contrary, his defensive prowess that he was billed to have upon entering the league was non-evident and some felt his offensive gains this year were not accurate. In actuality, Payton’s defensive rating was atrocious at 113.6 on the year.

As a primary ball handler with the Suns, Payton will have the opportunity to showcase his abilities and increase his value. Payton should put together a strong campaign playing alongside sharpshooter Devin Booker and Josh Jackson. Phoenix has been looking for a fixture at the point guard and this was a buy-low type of deal.

The Viewpoint on Trading Elfrid Payton

Orlando Magic President of Basketball Operations, Jeff Weltman, confirmed the decision to move on from Payton in an interview with Fox Sports Florida after Thursday night’s game at home against the Atlanta Hawks.

“The NBA is evolving, and we have to fit this into our team and into the context of the league,’’ said Weltman. ” Certainly, as we grow the team, there are certain principles and cornerstones that we want to build with. These all go into the mix of free agency, draft and timing of where we are as a team. Do we want to lock in financially to a team that struggled in recent years? These are all factors that figure in.”

“We added a draft pick, we retained a little flexibility and that’s what we got today. We’re excited to have those and we feel that we need those to have a little bit of wiggle room and creativity as we assemble the roster.” Weltman said. “All of that stuff comes to bear in June when we start to do this all over again.”

Falling in line with long-term objectives, Orlando Magic management decided moving Payton now was the right move.

Did Orlando Get The Best Possible Deal

The Orlando Magic were not going to resign Payton to a long-term deal after the current season. So instead, they decided any sort of compensation was better than no compensation at all.

The best case scenario anyone could have hoped for was to receive a younger prospect. Or a first round selection in the upcoming draft. It had been reported that the New York Knicks were showing interest in Payton but rebuffed the idea of having to part ways with promising rookie guard Frank Ntilikina. The team also had a deal in place that would’ve swapped Payton for former Denver Nugget guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who was later acquired by the Knicks. Indications are that Denver felt they should not have had to relinquish picks for Payton in a player swap deal. Rumors throughout the league indicated teams would be reluctant to part ways with any sort of first-round pick for Payton likely due to his expected salary increase this summer.

With all aspects considered, Orlando did in fact receive the best possible compensation at the time of the trade. They could have sign and traded him during the off-season but that’s under the assumption the team matched an offer sheet for him and would have had to take back salaries. It was better to go for the sure thing now than risk losing Payton for nothing later.

Orlando Magic: Last-minute Elfrid Payton trade an awful one

What’s Next For The Orlando Magic

“Do we want to lock in financially to a team that struggled in recent years?”, Weltman said during his recent interview with Fox Sports Florida.

The Magic failed to move on from other players tied to those struggling years before Thursday’s deadline.

One or more current Magic core players could find themselves playing for a new team before the start of next season.

Its been confirmed that Orlando wants more shooting from the guard position and newly anointed starter, DJ Augustin, provides just that. What fails to be seen is if Orlando will give Augustin an opportunity to win the starting job for next season or if they will look to solidify the position in the upcoming draft.

In all likelihood, the Magic are setting themselves up for what should be an active draft night in June.

Last summer, the Orlando Magic moved draft picks to create cap space and roster space to sign veterans. This summer they could choose to do more of the same. Or they could use their bevy of future picks to move down in the draft or gain another first round selection.

Its less likely Orlando decides to bring back more than two rookies this draft. They are not aiming to getting younger necessarily but want to improve as a team.



Pregame: What to Watch For, Orlando Magic at Phoenix Suns

The Orlando Magic are heading way out west for a road trip. Getting off to a good start will be critical to their confidence going forward. Can the Magic keep the momentum rolling?

The Orlando Magic will face the Phoenix Suns in the first game of their road trip. After getting Elfrid Payton back in their last game, the Magic returned to form after a two-game skid. The chemistry and trust built over the last four seasons were evident during Payton’s absence.

Point Guard Battle

A key matchup tonight will be at the point guard position. Elfrid Payton made a triumphant return to the lineup on Tuesday. The Magic sorely missed Payton’s presence on both sides of the ball. His impact was felt right from the beginning with an alley-oop to Aaron Gordon to start the game. Phoenix is coping with the departure of Eric Bledsoe with rookie Mike James. James played overseas prior to this season and has held up well in place of Bledsoe. While James has held most of the point guard responsibilities, the Suns have also placed the ball in Devin Booker’s hands more often. With Booker as the Suns’ go-to guy, having him control the flow of the offense gives them more options. A balance of James and Booker running the offense for Phoenix should be expected. Also look for Elfrid Payton to get the Magic going early and often.

Streaking Suns

The Phoenix Suns are on a four-game losing streak and two in a row at home. The Suns have been in disarray this entire season. They started out 0-3 while also giving up over 120 points in each game. The Head Coach at the time, Earl Watson, was fired after the poor start. Around the same time as Watson’s dismissal the teams best player, Eric Bledsoe, made an unfortunate social media post. Bledsoe tweeted “I don’t wanna be here“, and was immediately removed from team activities. The Suns had a slight resurgence after this episode, going 4-1. The losing streak began and Bledsoe was finally traded this week. With the Bledsoe drama over, the Suns will look to right the ship. The Magic want to keep the streak alive and hand Phoenix their fifth straight loss.

5 Bold Predictions For The Orlando Magic During The 2017-18 Season


Key to a Magic Victory

Three-point shots will be a major factor in the outcome of tonight’s game. The Orlando Magic are second in the league in three-point percentages (40.6%) and first in three-point percentage for their opponent (31.4%). During the two-game losing stretch, Orlando shot their worst percentages from deep and gave up their worst percentages as well. Phoenix has not been a great at converting behind the arch. They rank 22nd in the league shooting 34.2% from deep. The Suns rank 25th in the league for three-point percentage by opponents with 38.1%. For the Magic to pick up a win tonight they must capitalize on the three-point shot.


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