Orlando Magic Trade Value Column 2020

Evan Fournier could not get the Orlando Magic offense moving in a loss to the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
Evan Fournier could not get the Orlando Magic offense moving in a loss to the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Khem Birch, Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic have gone out of their way to keep Khem Birch in the rotation. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Category II — Let me think about it

12. Al-Farouq Aminu (3 years, $29.2 million, player option for 2022)

It has been an extremely tough first year for Al-Farouq Aminu.

The Orlando Magic wanted to add him for depth at the power forward position. They saw what happened in the playoffs against the Toronto Raptors and knew they needed a bit more size to keep a versatile and big group on the floor at all times. Al-Farouq Aminu was a full-time starter for three of the past four years. The Magic felt they had a high-level reserve.

Aminu’s move back to the bench came with a lot of bumps in the road. He did not fully adjust to his role. And he had a lot of odd statistical occurrences.

Aminu will likely finish the season averaging a career-low 4.3 points per game and 29.1-percent field goal shooting. It has been a career-worst season. He could not hit shots around the basket all of a sudden.

Jeff Weltman’s first big free-agent acquisition has looked exceptionally poor. Even if some of the logic behind it was justified (although still a bit fuzzy to some with the limited resources the Magic have).

Aminu’s season is likely over after he suffered a setback while recovering from a torn meniscus. The Magic are going to have to hope that Aminu can bounce back next year with a little more comfort in his role and perhaps a season virtually spent off his feet.

11. Khem Birch (2 years, $6 million)

If you were to ask me who is the most likely player for the Orlando Magic to trade at this year’s trade deadline, I would point to Khem Birch. What team could not use a solid backup-level center who can defend pick and rolls and protect the rim.

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Khem Birch has had a solid season, all things considered. The Magic are now playing him out of position at the 4 which is both a compliment to what the Magic and coach Steve Clifford think he can do and also exceedingly odd. Birch has done as best he could in the position.

The greatest compliment anyone can give a player is that teammates love to play with him. And that is absolutely true about Birch. His contract is manageable and a contending team in need of a center — hello, Houston Rockets or Golden State Warriors? — could easily take him in and set themselves up for the next few years.

The Magic certainly value Birch. But he is starting to take minutes from an improving Mohamed Bamba. Orlando definitely needs a third center to buffer against injuries. But Birch has not quite been what he was last year. The team does not absolutely need him.

If Orlando wanted to add some backcourt depth. Birch is an easy piece to dangle around to add it.

10. Wesley Iwundu (1 year, $1.6 million, restricted free agent in 2020)

At the beginning of the year, it looked like Wesley Iwundu would get squeezed out of the rotation. The team had loaded up on so many veterans that some players were just not going to find time. Despite a strong run to finish the 2019 season, Wesley Iwundu was the man left on the bench.

He was an insurance plan and the team knew it would need him at some point. As injuries ripped through the roster, Iwundu started getting more playing time. Clifford promised that with more playing time, Iwundu would start to get a rhythm again and make an impact.

That has proven true.

In the last 17 games (since Jan. 1), Iwundu is averaging 7.5 points per game and shooting 43.2 percent from beyond the arc. These are numbers that are in line with his season last year. Iwundu has found his rhythm with consistent playing time and he is a capable spot-up shooter and a smart defender.

Iwundu is still a player in need of playing time to get comfortable and make his impact. And the Magic have not provided that consistently. They have slotted him in as a backup player when really he should be starting to help set an early tone in the game defensively and slide Aaron Gordon to the 4.

This summer is a big one for him. It is not entirely clear what his free agency market will look like. Or even what kind of deal the Magic want to bring him back on if they do. He is one of the big free-agent decisions the Magic quietly have this summer.

Perhaps the team drafted a very similar player in Melvin Frazier will give them some ease in letting Wesley Iwundu walk. But it is not clear.

All the while, Iwundu puts in plenty of work and has proven himself a solid end-of-the-rotation player. He should find a NBA home somewhere.