It was the tale of two tapes this week as the Orlando Magic crushed the Los Angeles Lakers 127-105, before flailing at home to the Washington Wizards 105-98.
Both of the Magic’s opponents sat in the fourth quarter of these contests, but for very different reasons.
These contests followed the must-watch match-up with James Harden and the Houston Rockets as he needed all of 46 minutes to best our boys with a stat line that will spring your eyes right out of your face!
60, 11, and 10! Ye gods!!
But there wasn’t as much to cheer about in the Wizards contest. Without John Wall at the helm, all five starters posted double digits and each carried a +/- of greater than 20!!
The Magic bench, led by impressive youngsters in Wesley Iwundu and Khem Birch fought hard to close the gap, but the starters couldn’t hold serve, as the Wiz closed the first half on a 10-0 run, then sprouted a 18-5 in the third.
That’s enough of that downer. Let’s talk trades!
The likeliest moving pieces are arguably Shelvin Mack and Mario Hezonja. Hezonja is ever improving as evidence by his 15 and 14 point performances in the last two contests. The team acquiring him will also gain his Bird Rights.
Mack, could be a useful veteran point guard should a team need him, and more importantly carries cap relief wherever he goes, as only one million of his contract is guaranteed in 2018-19.
But the Magic may look for a bigger payday should teams carry interest in Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic. NBA teams are reluctant to take on salary going forward, but hey, all it takes is one!
However, General Manager John Hammond has urged Magic fans not to get too excited. He will not be forcing his hand in any capacity unless the offer improves the team going forward.
“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.”
Rumors carrying the name of Aaron Gordon have also caught wind this past week. I propose a trade comprised of Aaron Gordon in exchange for the Suns current sixth overall pick in addition to Dragon Bender. Any takers? What, you don’t want Michael Porter Jr. and Luka Doncic on your team next season!?
But in all seriousness, Gordon will likely cost a pretty penny this offseason, as we saw in Otto Porter’s four-year, $106 million dollar deal.
Are the Magic prepared to pay it? We’ll see.
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