With the NBA’s trading deadline now less than a week away, the Orlando Magic could soon be one of the busiest teams in the league.
Sitting well outside the playoffs once again, and holding veteran players on affordable contracts that could help a team looking to make a late push, or solidify their current standing, the Magic could be a big seller.
In a recent interview with Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, Magic general manager John Hammond would not characterize the Magic as sellers, and also noted that more teams are looking to be sellers, than buyers.
Hammond said this year’s market currently is unbalanced, with more teams wanting to divest players than teams wanting to acquire players.
“In any kind of market, there are going to be two groups,” he said. “There’s going to be buyers and there’s going to be sellers. And I think right now there’s a larger group of sellers than there are buyers. So if the market is outweighed sometimes, it makes it a little more difficult to make a trade or to get a deal done. I’m not putting us in a category.
“We like the fact that our players have value,” Hammond added. “The reason our players have value is because they are good players and they are under fair contracts. So they are valued [by other teams]. But we value them for that same reason.”
While Hammond would not specifically characterize what the team might do ahead of Thursday’s deadline, he did tell Robbins that, if the team does make any deals, they’re likely to be moves that would set the team up for the future.
With that in mind, the likelihood of the Magic becoming sellers increases, assuming they’re able to find a team that’s looking to make a move, and has interest in their players.
Should the Magic make any moves, the likes of Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic could be at the forefront. At 25 and 27 respectively, Fournier and Vucevic are both entering the primes of their careers, and hold very affordable contracts.
Moving Vucevic could prove to be slightly more challenging, with the starting center currently out for the foreseeable future with a broken bone in his hand.
Aside from Fournier and Vucevic, Orlando’s new regime of Hammond and president Jeff Weltman would likely be inclined to try and move Bismack Biyombo or D.J. Augustin to get their long-term money off of the Magic’s books. Moving one of them, especially Biyombo, would likely be too challenging without attaching an asset with it, which would hamper them for the future.
As Robbins points out in his column, any deal the Magic make could be like their deal to acquire Tobias Harris from the Milwaukee Bucks. In that deal, the Magic formed a package around J.J. Redick, whom the Bucks coveted to try and make a continued late push for the playoffs.
If the Magic make any moves, they have to set themselves up for the future. They’re entering yet another rebuild, and will need to find more pieces to add to a core of Jonathan Isaac, and potentially Aaron Gordon, that can compliment them and move them out of the continued state of poor play the team has endured.