Victor Oladipo or Tobias Harris: Who Could Be Traded?


The NBA is a little more than a month away from its halfway point, a point in the season frenzied with potential trades and signings in preparation for the upcoming trade deadline. The Orlando Magic are one of the youngest teams in the NBA with an average age of 24.9. With a bevy of young talent on the roster, the Magic should consider making moves now as they are in the thick of the Playoff race.

The two players on the Magic roster that seem to have the most trade potential are Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris. Victor Oladipo has little chance of being traded, but he obviously has a lot of value..

Oladipo, the second overall selection in 2013, has not quite lived up to his lofty expectations as “the next Dwyane Wade.” He has shown little progression thus far from his rookie season in points per game. In 2014 he averaged 13.8 points per game and now he averages 14.1 points per game. Oladipo’s rebounding and assist numbers have dropped from his rookie season. Rebounding and assist numbers in 2014 were both 4.1 per game and now are both 3.9 per game.

The bright spot for Oladipo thus far is his shooting percentages have increased. Instead of 41.9 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from behind the arc, Oladipo is now shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from behind the 3-point line.

Dec 6, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo (5) reacts after being called for an offensive foul against the Sacramento Kings in the second quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Victor Oladipo has offered little improvement for the Magic from last year statistically and the point guard experiment seems to be winding down. At times, he appears to take the offense out of rhythm by forcing difficult shots and by being stagnant with the ball. He has shown glimpses of the player he could be with breakout performances against Golden State earlier this month and Chicago earlier this year, but he has yet been able to consistently perform at a high level.

Though I just made a tough sales pitch for Victor Oladipo, he could provide great minutes for a better team. Oladipo is at his best when he plays off of the ball and is slashing toward the basket, but to do that he has to be playing alongside a good point guard, which the Magic have none (Elfrid Payton is still developing).

The Magic should at least test the trade market and see what they would be able to get in return for the young prospect, but it will not happen even if they are just testing the waters. Not yet.

For Oladipo to be traded general manager Rob Hennigan would have to admit to making a mistake. No one likes to admit mistakes especially when it comes to investments, but sometimes it is smartest to cut losses early before they completely lose value (see Emeka Okafor). To people watching Oladipo night in and night out, it may be easy to see what Oladipo cannot do, but because the Magic organization have spent so much time and effort on him they could be suffering from a bit of denial.

It is hard to give up on a player not even two years into his career.

So with Rob Hennigan likely refusing to trade Oladipo, that leaves Tobias Harris as a player with maximum value.

In a previous article (Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris All Star Campaigns) I wrote about Tobias Harris’ standout year and his potential as an NBA All Star. Harris is huge trade bait for the Magic. If the Magic decide to trade Harris, they should look to trade him to a team where the Magic can get equal value.

The New York Knicks would be an interesting trade partner for the Orlando Magic. A potential trade that could include Tobias Harris and a player like J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire or Iman Shumpert.

A more realistic trade partner would be the Detroit Pistons. A trade that involved Tobias Harris and Greg Monroe could be a transaction that would not be surprising. Harris could help the Pistons fill their small forward position, and Greg Monroe would be another long, skilled, big man that could contribute to the Magic immediately. Both are expiring contracts too with Harris set to hit restricted free agency and Monroe headed toward unrestricted free agency. Obviously more pieces would need to be discussed to compensate.

Hopefully for the city of Orlando, Tobias Harris can don the blue and white for years to come, but if the trade rumors surface do not be surprised to see Tobias Harris’ name in the mix.

The Magic have big questions they need to answer about their future and soon.