Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel caught up with Orlando Magic President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith recently and learned the three players potential trade partners call to ask the Magic about are power forwards Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass, along with center Marcin Gortat. "Teams need bigs," Smith said. Orlando's mired in a four-game losing streak and may need a roster upgrade to regain its footing, and Schmitz says the Magic should look into dealing Gortat if they "could pick up another scorer or perimeter defender and an inexpensive big man in a deal."
Anderson fell out of coach Stan Van Gundy's playing rotation a month ago after a poor 90-second stint starting a game against the Utah Jazz and has yet to return to it, playing only mop-up minutes in blowouts. He had an opportunity to showcase his skills last week, when a stomach virus sidelined four of his teammates, but sprained his right mid-foot. He's averaging 4.7 points in just 8.6 minutes this year, but has shot 38.5 percent from the floor and 27.3 percent from three-point range.
Bass, a six-year veteran, struggled in his first year with Orlando but has come on in a big way this season. He's set career-best marks in several important statistical categories, leads the team in True Shooting, and just made his first start of the year Friday night. His value, on the court and as a trade asset, has never been higher. He's posting 10.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1 block per game this season.
Gortat, one of the Magic's least consistent players, is pretty clearly the prize of this group in terms of trade value. Talented enough to start for most teams, he has a fair salary--including this season, he has three years and $28 million remaining, which is cheap for a player of his caliber--he's stuck in the playing rotation behind Dwight Howard, the league's best center. In July, Smith told reporters approximately 18 teams had inquired about his availability. An afterthought on offense, the Polish Machine has averaged 4.1 points and 4.6 boards in relief of Howard. John Denton says Van Gundy wants Gortat to bring more energy than he has so far this season.
Any trade Orlando makes for a true difference-maker would likely have to include both Bass and Gortat, which would leave Orlando with only Anderson and unproductive veteran Malik Allen as the reserve big men, which is why it'd be imperative for Orlando to obtain a replacement-level player in return for either player.
Schmitz's article also includes an interview with Van Gundy about the coach's weight-loss efforts. Van Gundy's dropped 22 pounds since starting an everyday exercise regimen.