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Report: Orlando Magic trade for James Ennis, waive Amile Jefferson

Ennis, a 29-year-old small forward, is averaging 5.8 points on 44.2 percent shooting

Philadelphia 76ers v Orlando Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

For the second straight season, the Orlando Magic pulled off a last-minute trade deadline deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

This one wasn’t quite as exciting as landing former No.1 pick Markelle Fultz. But it still could be impactful.

The Magic sent the Lakers 2020 second round pick that is owed to them to the Sixers for James Ennis, a 29-year-old journeyman small forward. Ennis, a career 35.6 percent three-point shooter, is averaging 5.8 points in 15.8 minutes per off the bench for the Sixers this season.

He gives the shorthanded Magic some much-needed shooting and depth. If Ennis manages to take over a starting spot, which shouldn’t be too challenging given his current competition of Khem Birch and Wes Iwundu, that adds spacing to the staring unit and also allows Aaron Gordon to play strictly at his preferred position of power forward.

The Magic had to make a corresponding move by waiving someone to make room on the roster for Ennis, who has a $2.1 player option for next season. It seemed that meant the end for Gary Clark, who is nearing the end of his second 10-day contract, but instead they opted to waive the seldom-used Amile Jefferson. The Magic signed Jefferson off his two-way contract to a two-year deal in November to meet the minimum roster requirement.

We now wait to see if the Magic will sign Clark for the remainder of the season or perhaps look into the buyout market to fill the roster spot.

While some were hoping the Magic would find a way to land D’Angelo Russell or other more attractive trade targets, this always seemed like the type of smaller-scale deal the Magic would realistically make. If the price was only a second round pick, however, I would have preferred the Magic target Alec Burks or Glenn Robinson III, both of whom the Warriors traded to the Sixers for second round picks, necessitating Philly’s Ennis trade.

Either way, the Magic were neither major buyers or sellers and will continue on in their fight for the seventh or eighth seed.

The other teams in the Southeast division were more active at the deadline, with the Heat acquiring Andre Iguodala from Memphis in a six-player deal, and the Hawks trading for Clint Capela and DeWayne Dedmon. Both teams got better, and both teams are well-positioned for free agency.

The Magic opted to keep Aaron Gordon, which with his team-friendly contract and our seemingly endless expectation of leap potential, is a good thing IMO. Evan Fournier, who has a player option for next season, also remains in Orlando. Curious to see what impact the trade deadline deals have on his potential free agency in the summer of 2020.

Cleveland could be off that list after trading for Andre Drummond, meaning there might be a very limited market for Fournier.