Orlando Magic Trade Hints at Future Roster Moves

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The Orlando Magic accomplished several tasks Friday when they dealt Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson, Chris Duhon, and Earl Clark away in a four-team trade: they ended the so-called Dwightmare that cast a pall over the organization for months on end, they shed the undesirable contracts of Richardson and Duhon, and they set themselves up for success in the NBA Draft lottery for the next several seasons.

But the trade also left Orlando with a seriously unbalanced roster, one heavy on big men and light on point guards. Indeed, of Orlando's 15 players with guaranteed deals, only Jameer Nelson can play the point. Given that the team is at the NBA's limit of 15 players, it's not difficult to imagine the Magic making a roster-balancing trade before training camp begins on October 1st.

After the jump, more analysis and a look at Orlando's depth chart.

The Magic's depth chart, presented this way, underscores just how top-heavy the roster is.

Pos. Starter Reserves
PG Jameer Nelson
SG Arron Afflalo J.J. Redick
SF Hedo Turkoglu Maurice Harkless Quentin Richardson Christian Eyenga
PF Glen Davis Al Harrington Andrew Nicholson Josh McRoberts Justin Harper
C Gustavo Ayón Nikola Vučević Kyle O'Quinn

The Magic could address their lack of depth behind Nelson by signing training-camp invitee Ish Smith to a guaranteed deal, but they'd first have to make room for him on the roster by executing a two-for-one or a one-for-none trade. They'll also need a third-stringer.

Complicating matters is the fact that Orlando has no obvious trade chips. Newcomers Gustavo Ayón, Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts, and Nikola Vučević have small expiring contracts, but their trade value is low as well.

Trading away Al Harrington for a new point guard would bolster the team's depth at the one and open more playing time for second-year man Justin Harper and rookie Andrew Nicholson at the four, but that strategy has drawbacks of its own: the 32-year old is owed $21.4 million over the next three seasons. The final two years of his contract are only 50 percent guaranteed, which lowers that figure to roughly $14.1 million over three seasons. Are there any teams willing to take Harrington off Orlando's hands at that price? It's unclear.

The bottom line here is that Orlando isn't finished dealing. Nelson can't play 48 minutes per game, and even if it were to sign Smith, Orlando would still be short one point guard.

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