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

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Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic
Tim Hardaway Jr. has become a more solid player, showing his spark and spurtability on a playoff roster with the Dallas Mavericks. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Dallas Mavericks: Tim Hardaway Jr.

Since swapping New York for Dallas, Tim Hardaway Jr. has proven himself to be a valuable contributor for Rick Carlisle’s team.

The shooting guard averaged 15.8 points in 71 games last season and is deadly from 3-point range, making 2.9 threes a game off 39.8-percent shooting. He fills the wing position well and is dependable on defense, something which is very important to Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford.

Like Evan Fournier, Tim Hardaway Jr. has a player option for next season and they are on similar wages making a potential deal simple enough. But while Fournier’s scoring stats were better, Hardaway Jr. has settled in as a consistent third scorer on a team with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.

With a generational talent like Luka Doncic, Dallas needs to do everything it can to put the pieces around him to win a championship. The Mavericks seem to be doing that, positioning themselves well for the big summer of 2021 to make a free-agent play.

Orlando gives them two options to do that and there is certainly a framework for a relatively straightforward swap including Hardaway Jr., should he opt-in to his contract.

Fournier has been a good player for the Magic over the years but his struggles in the postseason have left many wondering whether the team needs a change at the position. Fournier might do better in a role similar to Hardaway Jr., where he is playing off bigger-name players and as the primary option with bench units.

If Dallas does not like Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon is also a realistic trade option in something like this. As Locked On Mavericks puts it, the Mavericks need players who can create for themselves to give Doncic a break. That makes a player like Fournier or Gordon attractive.

There is at least some interest in what the Magic have to offer. And those are players who may not be able to lead a team full-time beyond the first round. But as secondary options in the starting lineup and primary options off the bench, both Gordon and Fournier could be a real help to a Mavericks team that is starting to feel their title window begin to open.

Hardaway Jr. would fit in well at Orlando and could contribute right away. But for this trade to happen Dallas would really need to feel that Fournier or Gordon are an upgrade on what they currently have and is someone that could help them better contend next season — or feel confident enough that Fournier, at least, can help in 2021 and they have a big fish lined up for the summer.

This is very much a like-for-like swap involving two good shooting guards. Trades should only happen if they are going to benefit both sides and Dallas may be reluctant to swap for someone who, while talented, is not going to have a big impact on improving the team in comparison to what they would be giving up.

Hardaway Jr. would be effective as the Magic’s shooting guard but this trade may not help either team make the strides forward that they are looking for.