With the NBA trade deadline looming Thursday at 3 PM Eastern, it's little wonder that two national NBA outlets posted stories Monday based on hypothetical trades that might make sense for all teams involved. Both sites' stories highlighted potential deals the Orlando Magic could make.
Recent reports have indicated that Orlando is disinclined to make any trades before Thursday's deadline. It's also useful to bear in mind that the following proposals are only ideas and do not constitute rumors. Think of them as discussion-starters.
At ESPN Insider, Tom Haberstroh explains why the Memphis Grizzlies might make good trade partners for Orlando if it looks to offload veteran swingman Arron Afflalo before Thursday. Haberstroh's proposal sends Afflalo and veteran big man Jason Maxiell to Memphis in exchange for veteran small forward Tayshaun Prince, fourth-year big man Ed Davis, and a protected first-round Draft choice in 2017. "Overall, Memphis and Orlando have both the pieces and the motivation to get the deal done," he says.
Haberstroh likes the deal for the Grizzlies because it'd address their need for an outside shooter. The Magic's obtaining both Davis and a future Draft asset offsets the cost of taking on the aging and unproductive Prince, whose deal Haberstroh acknowledges "won't be high on their priority list." The Kentucky product is shooting 39.2 percent from the floor for 6.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 26.5 minutes per game. Davis, who turns 25 in June, plays sparingly in Memphis' big, crowded frontcourt, but is posting a solid 6.4 points and 4.5 rebounds on 53.6 percent shooting.
According to ShamSports' salary database, Prince is owed $7.7 million in the 2014/15 season, the last year of his deal. Davis is due to become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2014, meaning the Magic would have only the balance of the 2013/14 season to assess his value to their rebuilding plan.
Rob Mahoney's column at Sports Illustrated similarly sends a Magic veteran to a fringe Western playoff contender. His Magic-centric idea is to deal veteran point guard Jameer Nelson to the Minnesota Timberwolves for veteran scoring guard J.J. Barea and first-year swingman Shabazz Muhammad.
"Orlando is moving in a direction that leaves little need for a decent 31-year-old point guard," Mahoney says, and there's "something of a clock" ticking for the Magic to get anything in return for Nelson via trade. Taking on the final season of Barea's contract--worth $4.5 million, again according to ShamSports--wouldn't appeal to Orlando in and of itself, so the real prize is Muhammad, who's logged just 81 minutes in his rookie season due to Minnesota's playoff aspirations.
Barea, 29, is averaging 8.7 points and 3.5 assists per game in 53 appearances, all off the bench. In four D-League appearances for the Iowa Energy, Muhammad averaged 24.5 points and 9.8 rebounds in 27.8 minutes. His NBA averages of 2.3 points in 4.8 minutes hardly attest to his potential.