So far this NBA season, the Orlando Magic have fallen below expectation. A combination of inconsistent defence and a lack of true offensive scoring, the team currently sit 12th in the Eastern Conference. However, with the playoffs still very much in reach and the February deadline just around the corner, GM Rob Hennigan will be looking to make some deals in the trade market.
The Magic will likely head into the trade market seeking help on the offensive end, and could offer players such as Nikola Vucevic and Mario Hezonja in an attempt to get the right deal done. With that being said, here are five players the Magic could look to target, in order to get their season back on track.
Five Possible Orlando Magic Trade Targets
The Miami Heat will not be competing for a playoff spot this season. Currently sitting 13th in the East and 5 games behind the 12th placed Magic, the Heat are in need of a rebuild. Dragic, who doesn’t appear to be included in future plans, is averaging 18.8ppg and 6.7a during this current season. Dragic has developed into a true offensive scorer and could help the Magic at the Point Guard position, either as a replacement for Elfrid Payton or someone who could impact off the bench. Despite the divisional rivalry that would go along with this trade, it actually makes sense for both sides. The Magic would be gaining a veteran scorer, whilst Miami could take young talent and picks from Orlando; both of which will be needed for a rebuild.
Rudy Gay is the most likely player on the list to be traded this season. Gay has an expiring contract in Sacramento and has already indicated he plans on opting out after this season. Another offensive scorer, the small forward is putting up 18.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game to go along with his 45% shooting and 35% from three point range. Admittedly his age is a concern, at 30 years old, Gay isn’t the type of player the Magic should look to invest in for the future. However, Rudy Gay could provide the offensive firepower and on-court leadership that could push the Magic towards the playoffs this season.
POSSIBLE TRADE: Rudy Gay -> Jeff Green & 2018 second-round pick
The Phoenix Suns are another team in rebuild mode and could make ideal trade partners for the Orlando Magic. The player in question is starting point guard, Eric Bledsoe. Now 27, Bledsoe is in the prime of his career but will not make any waves by staying in Phoenix. Returning from a knee injury sustained last season, Bledsoe has been playing some good basketball this campaign, averaging 19.9 points per game along with 5.6 assists and 5.0 rebounds. In this scenario, the Magic may have to give up some of their impressive young talent to strike a deal, as the Suns will look to make an impact in future seasons.
In mid-December, Hoops Rumors reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves are looking to move one of their young stars, in order to acquire a veteran big man. With a frontcourt pileup, the Orlando Magic are potential suitors for the Timberwolves but would most likely have to overpay, in order to get this deal completed. However, Minnesota has once again disappointed this season, with an exciting young core; many predicted the Timberwolves to make the playoffs. Currently sitting 13th in the Western Conference with a 11-23 record, Minnesota is at risk of once again missing the playoffs. Wiggins himself is playing fine basketball, averaging 22.1 points per game and shooting a career high, 36% from three point range.
POSSIBLE TRADE: Andrew Wiggins -> Nikola Vucevic, Mario Hezonja & 2018 second-round pick
The Portland Trail Blazers are struggling. Sitting 10th in the Western Conference and below .500 on the season, Portland is playing below expectation. Their lacklustre performances are no doubt down to their terrible defence. With their opponents averaging 110.9 points per game, the Blazers rank in the league’s bottom five defences. Portland need defensive minded players; something the Orlando Magic can offer them. However, splitting up the Blazers backcourt could prove a difficult task for Orlando. The Blazers boast one of the league’s highest scoring backcourts, averaging 49 points per game, McCollum and Lillard can flat out score; something the Orlando Magic desperately need. McCollum is averaging 22.9ppg and scored a career high 43 in Sunday’s win against Minnesota. To make this deal, the Orlando Magic would have to part with one or more of their young defensive stars to secure his services.
The Last Word
All of these trade scenarios would benefit the Magic immediately but may damage their future prospects. By giving up some of their young talent, the Magic would adopt a ‘win now’ approach, which may be unsustainable in years to come. Although these situations benefit the Magic in the short term, it may be better of letting the talent develop and trusting the process. This may take longer for the Magic but could ultimately lead to a lengthier run of playoff appearances. However, coming off their latest defeat to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night, it is clear the Magic need to make some roster moves, in order to keep their postseason hopes alive.