The NBA trade season does not really open for another month. But a report suggests the Orlando Magic are already doing their work to find some offense.
The NBA’s trade season does not officially open until Dec. 15 — when players who signed new contracts in the offseason can officially be traded.
It is still fairly early to get serious about trade talks. Most teams are about 10 games into their season and still defining the contours of their teams and seasons. Nobody — at least, nobody with realistic expectations for their teams — is going to do anything panicky and pull the trigger on a deal once the trade window opens.
Still, teams already can see where the problem spots are. They can already see where they might struggle and what needs they might have to fill when the clock starts to wind before the Feb. 6 trade deadline.
The Orlando Magic certainly can see they have clear needs to fill.
The team has a potentially elite defense but the offense has been abysmal — the Magic’s 99.8 offensive rating is 29th in the league entering Wednesday’s games. It would make sense the Magic might be fishing for more shooting and more offensive creation to bolster their roster.
That appears to be where the Magic are making the majority of their calls at this early part of the season.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reports the Orlando Magic are ”scouring the trade market for scoring help” and have already expressed an interest in San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan.
DeRozan is a four-time All-Star (most recently in 2018) who is averaging 19.4 points per game on a 49.3 percent effective field goal percentage. DeRozan is still a really gifted scorer. But he is not someone who hits from the outside. He is a career 28.2 percent 3-point shooter.
DeRozan is really good coming around curls for jumpers, driving into pull-ups and working the high and mid-post for shot attempts.
He would not help solve the Magic’s 3-point shooting or spacing problem. But he would give the team the isolation and volume scorer they are missing.
DeRozan has a player option for $27 million for next season — he can become a free agent this summer. That might explain why DeRozan’s name has popped up in the early trade market.
The Spurs’ mixed 5-5 start also has plenty of other writers pondering if this is when the Spurs finally fall apart. San Antonio heads to Orlando for its lone trip to the Amway Center on Friday.
Rumors of their demise are usually pretty exaggerated. But it finally looks like their championship window is closing, if not closed with the group they have put together.
To make a deal like this happen, the Magic would have to trade either Nikola Vucevic straight up or put together a package around Aaron Gordon or Evan Fournier‘s contract. There are definitely the parameters for a deal if they wanted to pursue one.
Whether the Magic actually pursue DeRozan or not is immaterial at this point. The trade market does not really open up for another month.
What is important now is the Magic appear ready to be active when the market does open. They know they have a major weakness offensively and with shot creation. And so by this report, they certainly seem willing to look at their available options.
To pursue something like DeRozan, they have to be willing to part with a major piece. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, after all.
This is just the groundwork for potential deals. Orlando has some assets and trade chips it can play to try to get better. But the team is still focused on making the most of the team it has. There is still a lot of development and improvement to go with the current group. This year’s team has not reached its peak yet.
But Orlando appears like it knows it has a weakness it has to fill. And it is at least exploring ways to fill it at this early stage.