Orlando Magic Daily Mailbag Volume 41: Glimpses into the future

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Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic
Evan Fournier’s time with the Orlando Magic is likely coming to a close as the trade deadline nears. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports /

From Jonathan Leonard via e-mail

"Odds we keep Fournier (expiring contract) and let him walk at the end of the season OR trade him before the deadline and get players/picks in return?"

The most urgent trade and roster decision the Orlando Magic face this season is involving Evan Fournier.

Fournier’s five-year, $85-million is set to expire at the end of the season. It feels unlikely the Magic would re-sign him — going back to our conversation on the team’s payroll, the Magic have $104.4 million committed to next season. That does not include the team’s draft pick (which could be around $12 million if it is the top pick) and Al-Farouq Aminu likely picking up his player option worth $10.2 million.

In other words, the Magic are likely right back near the luxury tax without the same $17 million to spend to re-sign Fournier this offseason. Unless they plan on making some other maneuvers, the Magic would be in danger of going over the luxury tax line if they opted to re-sign Fournier.

So the odds of trading Fournier are going to be pretty high. I would put them at 3-to-1 at this point. The only thing that might hold it back is Fournier’s injury — right now he is out with a strained groin and he has dealt with back spasms throughout the year.

Fournier is still having a career season though. If he can put those injury issues behind him, he would certainly help a contending team with his floor spacing and ability to attack closeouts.

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Bleacher Report's star trade idea finally rids Knicks of Evan Fournier
Bleacher Report's star trade idea finally rids Knicks of Evan Fournier /

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  • Fournier is averaging 18.5 points per game on a 54.3-percent effective field goal percentage. He has been fairly consistent this year when healthy and a big part of why the Magic have stayed on the periphery of the playoff race despite the massive injuries the team has faced.

    Trading him would almost certainly put a fork in those dreams (if they are not already cooked as is).

    The Magic should be trying to get whatever they can for him. But it is important the team extract one player who can play a role for the team beyond this season. The deals that seemed on the table for Fournier during the offseason involved a straight salary dump or low-level draft picks.

    During the offseason, the Magic were not interested in those deals as they were still trying to compete for and contend for the playoffs. That calculus might have changed now.

    The dream should be to pull off a deal similar to the Arron Afflalo-for-Evan Fournier deal they pulled off when Fournier arrived in Orlando in 2014. If the Magic can find an underused young player who needs a chance for bigger minutes, that would be a huge success for the team.