Who the Orlando Magic could target for a trade in the Northwest Division

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Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets
Michael Porter Jr. had a breakout run in the NBA’s bubble as he finally was healthy. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Nuggets: Michael Porter Jr

The Orlando Magic could have drafted Michael Porter Jr. back in the 2018 draft but instead opted to use the sixth pick to select center Mohamed Bamba. The questions about Porter’s back were very real and it scared a lot of teams away despite his prodigious talent.

Porter instead went 14th to Denver and has shown glimpses of being a very exciting prospect with a high ceiling.

But he has found his chances limited somewhat on a Nuggets team with the tremendous star power of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. He has instead been restricted to minutes off the bench, averaging 16.4 minutes per game which, in fairness, is not uncommon for someone in his rookie year.

He also fell in the draft somewhat due to his injury history and required back surgery before being drafted, missing the entire 2019 season. But since returning, Porter has looked healthy and managed 55 games this year.

In the game time he has had, Porter has proven himself to be an excellent shooter. He shot 42.2-percent from three and 50.9-percent from the field while scoring 9.3 points per game. All of these stats suggest he could be a big player if given more game time.

His comments in the postseason caused some controversy too. After a Game 4 loss to the LA Clippers, Porter told the media his team needed to “get more players involved”, indicating he was not happy at the amount of time he had with the ball in his hands.

Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets /

Denver Nuggets

Porter would get plenty of opportunities in Orlando. At 22, he has lots of time to develop his game and could become the offensive talent that the team desperately needs to push forward.

This means the Magic would have to give up a lot to get him. With Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee’s contracts both expiring this offseason, Denver could use another power forward and center so offering up Aaron Gordon and Mo Bamba could make the most sense in this scenario.

For Orlando, it would be a case of sacrificing some defense for more offense which Steve Clifford may be reluctant to do. However, the Magic have to gamble sooner or later and what Porter has shown so far offers enormous encouragement for the future.

At this point, it does not seem likely the Nuggets would trade Porter. They view him as a key part of their development as they try to get into the group of title contenders. And as the Magic know all too well, finding and developing potential star players from late-Lottery draft picks is vital to any successful rebuild from the middle.

The Nuggets though are still a fairly likely trade partner even if they cannot get the big fish like Porter. The Nuggets still have a glut of wings they could look to shed.

Gary Harris, who had a disappointing 2020 season averaging 10.4 points per game on a 48.4-percent effective field goal percentage, seems ripe for a trade.

Especially with the Nuggets trying to reach that championship group, they could look to move a player like Gary Harris or Will Barton to solidify their rotation. A team like the Magic who needs either of those players’ shooting and to consolidate some players on their own could be a feasible partner.

Even if Porter is unattainable, there is still a framework for a deal for a lot of these reasons.