I think we all sense change is coming to the Orlando Magic. The franchise has seemingly hit a ceiling. And even if it has not, the team does not seem to have a clear path to a championship.
At this point, Nikola Vucevic is an All-Star. But one on the periphery.
He is not someone who will make a major impact on winning at the highest level. He is a nice player who puts up numbers. But he is not a championship centerpiece.
Otherwise, the Magic have a lot of really nice players. Evan Fournier has proven himself a capable shooter, but not a consistent or high-level secondary scorer or primary perimeter player.
Aaron Gordon is still the biggest mystery in the league it seems. He shows flashes of his versatility and potential and then he goes through fits of playing too much hero ball and inconsistency. At 25 years old though, it is difficult to give up on him completely.
But obviously, there are still a lot of questions. It does not seem like this team can do a whole lot more. Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic are good, but they are not about to make significant jumps in their game.
Aaron Gordon is really the only one who can make a giant leap. But everyone has waited years for it to happen.
It is very clear the Magic need to make some change. And really no one outside of the team’s young’ish core of Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz and probably Mohamed Bamba and Chuma Okeke should be off the table.
I do not know exactly what the Magic should do. But I do believe they should be open to everything. And they need to explore every avenue.
What is more important however is the Magic have an understanding of the kind of players and the kind of skills they are looking to add. They need to make this team look like the team they ultimately want it to be.
If that is an amorphous, long positionally versatile team, they need to go find players that fit this mold and support the players they ultimately want to grow with.
They cannot trade players simply to trade them. It cannot be a, “We need to trade Evan Fournier or Aaron Gordon simply to signify some change.” The acquisition needs to serve and fit some purpose for the team.
I cannot sit here and say exactly what that player is or who the Magic should trade. I would expect them to trade at least one starter and to continue to be active in trade talks heading toward the trade deadline — especially if the bottom falls out this season in any way or the team does not make progress or maintain their spot.
But the Magic need to start building the team they ultimately want to become. And any move they make needs to be done with this in mind.
It is still really hard to sense which direction the Magic ultimately want to go. It does not feel like they have a true centerpiece player to build around. They have to try to find that or put themselves in a better position to find one and grow into the team they want to be.