As the NBA's trading deadline came and went, the Orlando Magic were one of the more active teams during the week. After trading Tobias Harris to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, the Magic finalized a deal to send Channing Frye to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a three-team deal on Thursday.
Despite making moves that, on the surface, appear to be "win-now" moves, it's hard to really grade the Magic on how they did until the summer.
In moving Harris, the Magic acquired Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova from the Pistons, two players that had previously played, and had success with Magic head coach Scott Skiles with the Milwaukee Bucks. While the return might not have been equal value for what Harris brings to the table, and could bring later down the line, it opens up some more flexibility for the Magic in free agency this summer.
With Jennings set to come off the books and only $400,000 of Ilyasova's deal guaranteed for the next season, the Magic will have the ability to open up nearly $17 million in cap space -- to open all of it, the team will need to renounce Jennings' $12.5 million cap hold. Should the Magic renounce Jennings, they'll still be able to re-sign him, if they choose, but will not be able to use his bird rights.
Moving Frye also helped the Magic clear future cap space. With the team only taking back Jared Cunningham --who they're reportedly expected to waive-- the Magic free up another $7.8 million to use in free agency.
Should the salary cap raise to $89 million like many expect, the Magic could have --not including cap holds and their first round draft pick-- upwards up $55 million in cap space for the summer. With that amount of space, the Magic would be able to bring in multiple max-level free agents.
The likelihood of the Magic having that much space is slim, however. Moving on from Harris shows that the team is committed to Evan Fournier for the long-term, which means the team would likely be willing to pay any cost for Fournier in free agency. Since the team holds his bird rights, the Magic would be able to sign Fournier to a long-term deal even without cap space, but would have to hold his cap hold, which would cut into the Magic's cap space by roughly $5.7 million.
Moreover, adding likely another lottery pick would cut into the Magic's salary by as much as four million potentially --the official rookie scale will be released once the league determines the final cap number.
At the end of the day, the Magic are betting on free agents to be interested to come and play for them this summer. After missing out on Paul Millsap last summer, the Magic believe they have the ability to lure impact free agents. With a core of Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Mario Hezonja and Elfrid Payton in place, the Magic have some inviting young pieces that could attract one of the bigger names on the market this summer.
All-in-all, the Magic made moves to not only hopefully improve in the short-term, but also in the long-term. They're going to have a lot of cap space, and young players to try and draw impact free agents this summer and that's when we can fully judge how well they did at this years trading deadline.