Analysis Of The Orlando Magic’s Trade Deadline Moves

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Analysis Of The Orlando Magic’s Trade Deadline Moves


While the NBA trade deadline is a busy and hectic time for NBA franchises and General Managers, it was especially frantic for the Orlando Magic. The Magic decided that they couldn’t win with their current core, and decided to flip longtime foundational assets in Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier. They were big sellers at the deadline, and everyone was on the table.

Their first move of the day was trading their franchise and All-Star Center Nikola Vucevic, and Forward Al-Farouq Aminu to the Chicago Bulls. In return, the Magic acquired a young asset, and former 7th overall pick Wendell Carter Jr, forward Otto Porter Jr, and two first round picks. Although he was having a career season, averaging 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, the Magic decided to start the rebuilding process, and get younger and cheaper players, in order to build their team for the future.

He’s 30 years old and wasn’t in the Magic’s longtime future plans. This also saves them money, as Otto Porter is an expiring contract. Carter Jr in the meantime is an intriguing grab for the Magic, as he’s only 21. This also allows for a solid 1-2 punch of Mo Bamba, and Wendell Carter Jr, while there are a lot of minutes and playing time up for grabs. The two first round picks are 2021 and 2023 selections and will be good assets for the Magic moving forward.

Next, the Magic dealt 28-year-old guard and pending UFA Evan Fournier to the Boston Celtics for Jeff Teague and two second round picks. This move was a bit of a head scratcher. Jeff Teague won’t report to the Magic and will be waived. While the Magic wanted to clear cap space and unload a pending free agent, the return was kind of poor.

Don’t get me wrong, getting any sort of assets for someone who was probably going to leave in free agency is good, but only adding two seconds, for a guy averaging 19.7 points per game, is a pretty weak return if you ask me. But then again, this move created a 17 million $TPE, that can be used as an advantage this offseason. The sign-and-trade of Gordon Hayward allowed the Celtics to have over 20 million $ in TPE. If Fournier was traded to any other team, they’d would need to attach bad contracts, leaving the Magic with no TPE. So overall, it creates some cap flexibility. Definitely not a terrible move.

And finally, their third big deal of the day, was trading their former fourth overall pick Aaron Gordon to the Denver Nuggets. He’s been averaging 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists this season, and was dealt for Gary Harris, R.J Hampton, and a 2025 protected first round pick. This is a pretty decent deal if you ask me. Two years into his 4 year, 80 million $ contract, the Magic decided to move on from Gordon, acquiring rookie guard RJ Hampton, solid starting shooting guard Gary Harris, and a future pick. Gordon also asked to be traded, a request that was granted by Orlando.

Furthermore, it was also reported that the Magic were taking calls and in talks with other organizations for players Terrence Ross, Khem Birch and James Ennis, although nothing came to fruition. The Magic therefore finished the day by trading 4 of their 5 starters, while picking up future assets, young core pieces and salary cap space. 

The Magic have been stuck in mediocrity for years now and haven’t gotten many solid and young asset to build around through the draft. With these moves, it allows them more cap flexibility, draft picks, and assets. While fans may not be happy with these trades, in the long run, it is a good move and the right decision, as the Magic aren’t near Championship contention. They are also a relatively small market, something that comes as a disadvantage for attracting free agents. It is important to draft and develop players well.

After Thursday’s deadline, there is now a certain youth movement going on for the Magic. They now have guys like Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz, Wendell Carter Jr, Cole Anthony, RJ Hampton, Mo Bamba, Chuma Okeke, as well as multiple future first and second round picks, and a bunch of salary cap space. The future is bright. 

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