3 trade destinations that make sense for Evan Fournier and the Orlando Magic

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Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets
Gary Harris has struggled to stay on the court and healthy for the Denver Nuggets throughout is career. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets have not exactly matched expectations this year.

After making the Westen Conference Finals last season, the team ranks only seventh in the conference and has been largely up and down this year.

Like the Philadelphia 76ers, they have an All-Star center and MVP candidate in Nikola Jokic who is playing incredible basketball. As the deadline gets nearer, Denver may be tempted to move some pieces around in an attempt to build a better team around Jokic even if that means sacrificing a small part of its future.

Gary Harris has struggled with injury this year and for the last several years — he has played 60 games in just two seasons in his career. He has not been able to get back to the form he showed in that 2018 season when he averaged 17.5 points per game.

He is still currently sidelined with a left thigh strain. In the 19 games he has played, Harris has averaged 9.7 points per game on a 51.9-percent effective field goal percentage in 30.6 minutes per game.

Taking on Harris, who has shown little sign of getting back to his best and has next season left on his deal at $20.5 million, is not an enticing prospect for the Magic. It is the other parts of the deal that could allow an agreement to be reached.

Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets /

Denver Nuggets

Much of Denver’s struggles this season have been on defense. The team gives up 111.6 points per 100 possessions which ranks them 17th for defensive rating. Fournier is a decent perimeter defender with the size to guard bigger wings and would also provide more of an offensive threat than Harris.

But what is in it for the Magic?

Looking to acquire a player for the future would be a wise move in a Fournier trade. R.J. Hampton could be that.

His game time has been limited this season but the guard possesses incredible speed and athleticism as well as potential defensively, all of which fit the philosophy head coach Steve Clifford is trying to build around.

There are no guarantees Hampton will turn out to be as good as Fournier has been for Orlando, but it is a risk worth taking. It is, after all, the same risk the Magic took when they traded the productive Arron Afflalo for a little-used rookie in Evan Fournier.

Hampton, the 24th pick in last year’s draft, has shown enough glimpses of promise on the court, while Denver would be getting a player that can help more in the short-term along with someone who can help to protect the rim, grab rebounds and help on defense in Khem Birch.