The latest Orlando Magic trade rumor making the rounds comes from CBSSports.com's Ken Berger, whose track record suggests he's pretty well plugged-in in Orlando. The veteran scribe suggests the Magic and the Portland Trail Blazers should discussing a trade involving Magic backup center Marcin Gortat and Blazers point guard Andre Miller. Berger says Portland is motivated to make a deal:
Miller, with a fully non-guaranteed $7.8 million in 2011-12, has off-the-charts trade value -- especially for a contender in need of a steadying force at point guard.
Sources continue to tell me that Orlando, which is concerned about not measuring up to Boston and Miami in the East, would be the perfect fit for Miller. The Magic are not going to accept carrying a $94 million payroll into the playoffs, only to lose in the conference semifinals -- which seems to be their fate as currently constructed.
Berger goes on to say that Miller could be the Magic's "elixir," the sort of difference-making point guard who could boost Orlando back to the NBA's elite. He also reports of Portland GM Rich Cho's interest in Gortat dating to "his days working as Sam Presti’s right-hand man in Oklahoma City."
To be clear, Berger does not say explicitly that Orlando and Portland are discussing this trade, but merely that it's one that'd benefit both parties.
Gortat is arguably the Magic's best trade chip, as he's young, on a fair contract, and plays a position most teams would love to upgrade. It's hard to imagine Orlando getting a better return on their investment in Gortat than Miller, who'd instantly become the league's best backup point guard. I covered the possibility of a Magic/Miller pairing as part of a larger post last week. The 34-year old Utah product is averaging 13.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 7.4 assists on the year.