As the NBA's trading deadline rapidly approaches, more and more teams begin to stick their feet into the water to test the temperature not only of their own players, but other teams' as well. Some of those teams will turn into buyers at the deadline, while others will turn into a rapid fire sale, sending everyone out for pennies on the dollar at times.
On top of the buyers and sellers, there's a select group of teams that decide that they don't need to make any moves, believing that the cards they are currently holding, give them the best hand. In some cases, however, it's not about what gives you the best hand for that season, but also in the long-term, as is the case with the Orlando Magic.
In year four of their rebuild, the Magic have finally begun to turn the corner, showing some of the potential that they have as a unit. Currently sitting just outside eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, the Magic are in a position to potentially make the playoffs for the first time since a tumultuous lockout shorted 2011-12 season. It would also be a huge improvement for the team that has posted the worst record in the entire league over the three seasons since their last trip to the playoffs.
Yet, after making a minor deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, that, for all intents and purposes seems much more like a favor, the Magic don't appear to be a team set to be either a buyer or a seller at this years deadline. Rather, they're a team that most likely will, and should, stand pat with the cards they were dealt. And for this season, that's completely okay.
With young assets littering the roster -- only four of the 14 players on the roster were born before 1990 -- the Magic have the pieces to go out and seemingly make any deal they might want to. But, because of their inability to turn the corner like many thought they should've last season, the Magic are still trying to figure out exactly which pieces fit together for the long-term. There's no need for them to rush and make those decisions now, when they could let them play out and ultimately make big roster decisions in the summer.
Add in the fact that, outside of Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris who both signed long-term extensions over the past year-and-a-half, the Magic only have one other player -- Channing Frye -- who is making over $5.2 million this season. That would make doing a deal for any player who could make a substantial impact extremely tough without giving up one of Vucevic or Harris, arguably the teams two best players.
Moreover, should the Magic make the playoffs this season, they would likely draw one of the Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls or Toronto Raptors, three teams that have had the Magic's number of late. Would giving up potentially valuable assets to make a run in a season where they'll likely lose in four or five games be worth it? I think not, especially with how fixated the front office has been on building continuity and saying they want to build something great for many, many years to come.
While it's very possible the Magic could make a small tweak to the roster -- they hold a valuable open roster spot, and with uncertainty surrounding C.J. Watson's return from a calf injury, could look to improve their backup point guard depth -- making any big move would likely be the wrong move at this time. Missing the playoffs one more time wouldn't kill the team, especially if it allows them to add another asset to their group in what has the potential to be a very strong draft class.
As they continue to figure out who they are as a cohesive unit, don't expect the Magic to make any big moves this trade deadline that could majorly shake up their roster. Not making a move will be for the betterment of the team, as they continue their slow climb back into contention in the Eastern Conference.