It is Draft Week and the rumors are going to be running wild as the Magic put themselves in the best position for the Draft. Rob Hennigan has already given the standard “We are looking to move up and move down” answer you expect from the man playing the biggest game of poker in the world.
The Magic remain a very tight-lipped organization and are not going to reveal too much this week. So we grasp for whatever little news morsel we can.
Arron Afflalo is going to be the center of a lot of those rumors as we get closer to Draft Night.
They started this weekend with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reporting the Bulls would pursue a trade with the Magic for Arron Afflalo. Earlier this month, I went over several trade scenarios that involved Afflalo including one with the Bulls. I wrote:
Of all the teams connected to Afflalo at this point, the Bulls might be the most realistic. They likely will not pull the trigger for Afflalo until they determine whether they can actually acquire Carmelo Anthony or until they figure out exactly how to clear the cap room to do so. Whether the Magic want to help them do that is another question entirely. But at least one Bulls blogger likes the idea.
Chicago has the most interesting assets to offer the Magic.
Carlos Boozer seems like a prime amnesty candidate, but he has just one year left on his deal. If, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders intimated, the Magic are hoping to make the Playoffs this year, Boozer might be a solid addition to the lineup that will bring some balance to the lineup — assuming the Magic take wings with their draft picks — and some veteran experience. And then, of course, he comes off the books and allows the Magic some cap space to go after a big-name free agent in 2015. One of the Bulls’ draft picks could be used to sweeten the pot.
Taj Gibson would also fit that bill as a younger player the Magic could develop into an every night starter. The Bulls are hoping to do that though and it seems unlikely they would part with him or Jimmy Butler. That is, unless it gets them Carmelo Anthony. That seems to be everything the Bulls’ plans hinge on.
Still looking at this, the Bulls are not likely to part with their coveted young players the Magic want for Afflalo. I still think it is unlikely that the Magic make a deal with the Bulls that makes it easier for them to acquire Carmelo Anthony.
Chicago may have a desire to acquire Afflalo, but actually getting him could be another matter. It is believed Orlando wants young assets in return similar to the package they got for J.J. Redick.
There are several advantages to the Magic giving up Afflalo — of which Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel did a good job enumerating. Afflalo has a player option for the 2015-16 season. Considering his desire to play for a winner (he will not raise a stink about not playing for a winner or demand a trade at this point), he likely would opt out and leave the Magic if he reaches free agency next summer. The Magic would do well to get whatever assets they can for him rather than lose him for nothing.
Afflalo is still on a reasonable contract and has a fair amount of value for a team looking to acquire a veteran on a reasonable contract.
The week is just starting. We will see what happens.