What it will take for the Orlando Magic to move their key players

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Mohamed Bamba, Orlando Magic
Mohamed Bamba’s sporadic playing time has put him on the trading block for the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Mohamed Bamba

The biggest question about this team’s future in the short-term is whether the Orlando Magic still believe in Mohamed Bamba. There are definitely a few teams thinking about second-draft opportunities with Mohamed Bamba and trying to get the talented and physically gifted big man a second chance.

There was a reason he was picked sixth three years ago. That reason does not go completely away. Not without a team trying him out in a different situation.

Bamba has dealt with a ton of injuries in his time with the Magic — a stress fracture in his leg cut his rookie season short, COVID-19 cut his second season short and bit a chunk out of his third season. That has to be part of his story.

Coach Steve Clifford seems to have suggested that Mohamed Bamba is going to get some more consistent playing time for the short-term. That is in an effort to try to build back his game rhythm and processing — that might be a better term than conditioning, which Clifford has used repeatedly.

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Mo Bamba and 3 centers the Lakers will definitely regret not signing /

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  • Orlando should not be shopping Bamba at this point. He has one year left on his rookie contract. So there is still time. And they should not consider him a throw-in to a deal (like a few players I will describe later in this slide).

    But if a team puts in a bid for Bamba, the Magic should definitely listen. Orlando should not feel so tied to Bamba that they are considering him part of their core. But they should still be circumspect in any trade.

    The plain fact is they still do not know what they have in Bamba. He just has not played enough to establish himself. Any progress he has made has then been slowed by some external factor (not entirely by his play).

    The Magic should be looking for second-draft players in this case. The best swap for the Magic would be to acquire another player on their rookie contract who just has not worked out for whatever reason.

    Potential Trade Partners: New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards, Oklahoma City Thunder, Sacramento Kings

    Potential Trade Targets: Malik Monk, Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, Jerome Robinson, Troy Brown Jr., Nemanja Bjelica, Frank Ntilikina

    The Throw-Ins

    Before diving back into more realistic and heavier trade targets for the Orlando Magic, it is important to point out the two players the team is likely to throw into trades to make salaries match that they are likely to be fine getting rid of.

    Khem Birch is the most likely throw-in to any trade. He has an expiring contract worth $3 million. The Magic are also probably trying to force Mohamed Bamba into the rotation more. Birch is definitely an attractive sweetener to get what the team wants in an Evan Fournier trade.

    The other deal the Magic probably want to move off of is Al-Farouq Aminu. He has $9.7 million owed to him this year and $10.2 million owed next year. That deal will be a bit tougher to move. But he has shown he is getting healthy again and he can help a team as an extra defender.

    There are more players the Magic could throw in — especially someone like James Ennis. But they probably are not going to make any significant returns or sweeten the pot enough to change a deal.