Orlando Magic Daily Mailbag Volume 41: Glimpses into the future

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Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic has carried over his play from the bubble, putting up All-Star numbers to lead the Magic to a fast start. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

Any time a team has a season like this where the bottom completely falls out surprisingly, they have to assess and ask why this happened and how to prevent it from happening again. Or to push the reset button completely and start over.

The Orlando Magic likely look at this season and say the issue was injuries. The Magic have been down at least three projected starters for the better part of the season and on some nights four starters. Even fill-in starter James Ennis has missed significant time.

This was not the team’s vision at all. And they can hope for better health and a sense of what this team really is next year — all with the parting gift of a high draft pick for their troubles.

Even with that extenuating circumstance, the Magic should still have a sense of what their team’s weaknesses are and how they want to fix them. The goal for the Magic from last offseason heading into this offseason is to start building the team they want to be in the future.

And that should be the focus entering the trade deadline.

The biggest trouble for the front office is trying to extract the most value for their players. Evan Fournier’s contract expiring will likely lower the price of what the magic will accept to make a deal. But for players like Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic, there is definitely a sense the Magic are listening intently.

After a season like this, nothing should be off the table. And even with the season Vucevic has had, the team should be listening to offers for him. The rumors that have trickled out suggest the Magic are keeping tabs on the market and not hanging up.

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  • For sure, Vucevic’s value is not likely going to be higher than it is right now. That instinct is correct. The Magic have a two-time All-Star in his prime and playing his best basketball. That should net them a whole lot.

    Orlando is right to listen. But the team is also right to ask a lot. The Magic have the star everyone is hunting in Vucevic. And they have to think about how they want to build their team.

    This is not to say Vucevic is a part of the team’s long-range plans. He is a good transitionary figure to give the team a consistent offensive option while other players around him grow and mature. It is hard to say that Jonathan Isaac or Markelle Fultz are ready to take the reins as the team’s leading scorer. And especially coming off a major injury, the Magic should not foist that role on them.

    So the Magic are right to sit, wait and demand a lot. To me, the Magic should only move Vucevic if they get a very high draft pick, a star player or a young player clearly on the path to stardom. Nothing that has come out yet has suggested that is on the table.