Our series of articles looking at one possible trade target from each team in the NBA for the Orlando Magic has come to an end, but who are the most realistic targets for the front office?
The Orlando Magic face an uncertain offseason.
The team did not make the strides forward many had hoped or anticipated last season as they crashed out in the first round of the playoffs. But at least the team managed to make it to the postseason for a second consecutive year.
Defensively the team had a pretty solid year, ranking tied for 10th in the league in defensive rating, giving up 109.2 points per 100 possessions. The Magic ranked eighth for both steals and blocks. Coach Steve Clifford’s focus on not giving up easy buckets was once again clear with the Magic ranking tied for first for the fewest points given up off turnovers at 14.3.
But if the team is to progress past a low playoff seed then it is clear where improvements have to be made. The Magic ranked just 23rd for offensive rating, scoring 107.9 points per 100 possessions, and were 25th in 3-point percentage at 34.3-percent and 22nd in 3-point shots made per game at 11.1.
With little cap room available, the Magic will have to focus on internal growth to create change or to the trade market to start moving this team back in a positive direction.
Our series of articles picking out a potential trade target from one team in each division — the Atlantic, Central, Southeast, Northwest, Pacific and Southwest Divisions — focused on targets that would address these weaknesses.
Clifford has built a solid defensive foundation even with injuries to key defensive players in Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon. But Orlando cannot ignore the offensive deficiencies that are holding the team back.
The series focused on the need for better shooting, particularly from beyond the arc where the team struggled massively. Evan Fournier shot well from three at 39.9 percent but could still become a free agent this offseason if he does not take up his player option or could be traded. His poor performances in the playoffs also raised more questions over whether he is the shooting guard to take the team to the next level.
But regardless of whether Fournier is with Orlando next season, more perimeter shooting is still required. Isaac has been ruled out for the entirety of next season after re-injuring his knee in the Orlando Bubble which leaves a huge gap at small forward. Strengthening both there and at shooting guard should be a priority.
The Magic could also use some depth at point guard should D.J. Augustin and Michael Carter-Williams not renew their contracts with the team. The franchise has the 15th pick in this year’s draft and could select someone that looks at addressing these needs or instead use the pick as part of a trade package for a higher place in the draft or an established player.
Markelle Fultz took huge strides forward this season and Nikola Vucevic once again proved he is capable of leading a team but the offense needs a spark. But if the franchise is to use the trade market this offseason as a means of improving the team it will not be easy.
A huge part of this exercise was to show how difficult it would be for the Magic to trade for the type of players that would have a positive impact on offense. There are a wealth of players Orlando could target for trades but very few of them are likely to be achievable.
An absence of trade assets at rookie and mid-scale contracts was evident throughout these articles. Al Farouq-Aminu is set to earn $9.7 million next season but will be extremely difficult to shift this offseason as he comes off injury. It also became clear Mohamed Bamba would have to be included in most of the suggested trades to make financials work and entice teams to give up prized players.
If the front office really decided to shake things up, they have Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic on good contracts to explore options with. Losing either, or both, of these two players is not something which should be taken lightly and the Magic must approach the trade market with confidence and from a position of power.
Only time will tell whether Orlando will seek to use the trade market this offseason but if they do, here are three realistic trade deals that could be done.
Eds. Note: The deals proposed here are for instances and examples of what it might take to acquire these players. They do not reflect any actual reporting or indication either team is interested in such a deal.