Orlando Magic’s front office has finally committed to a path

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Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon seem destined to be dealt. They left everything on the floor for the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

Out with the old and in with the new, as the saying goes.

Few would have anticipated the Orlando Magic to be as active as they were at the trade deadline.

The departures of Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier had been widely expected leading up to the closing of the window. But the decision to send Nikola Vucevic to the Chicago Bulls along with Al-Farouq Aminu sent shockwaves around the league and put the Magic right back into rebuilding mode.

President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman gave an honest assessment of why he decided to blow up the existing roster.

"“Frankly, our plan had been to build on that team, get a playoff series victory under our belts and grow from there but we have to also accept the fact that our core was aging, the contracts were shortening and ultimately was this a team that was going to win a Championship? We had to ask ourselves that question,” he told the media. “Obviously we’re going to go through a rebuild. I will not put a timetable on how that’s going to look. We’re going to look at deals as they come, we’re going to go after players as they become available. “But I do believe we’re in a position, given our flexibility, given the abundance of assets that we now have at our disposal, given the reset of the timeline of our players, that we can start to think about how we can build this out towards winning a title.”"

The message is clear. This is all about getting the Magic to a point where they can fight for a championship. As Weltman would tell Josh Robbins of The Athletic, the move is risky. It seemingly raises the ceiling of the team but lowers its floor.

And for that, Weltman should be applauded.

The Orlando Magic have tried to walk two paths for several years now. With last week’s moves, the team has picked a path and is moving closer toward true competitiveness.

A fully healthy Orlando would have made the postseason this year. But long-term, could that team have won a title?


The Magic long persisted with the core of Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon with the hope it would figure itself out for a run in the postseason. That has not happened. Separate injuries at different points in time have derailed that plan and forced Weltman’s hand.

It was also proving difficult to develop young players while trying to stay competitive.

With little success to show since the Dwight Howard era and the Magic picking in the middle of the draft in the last two years, it seemed like a commitment had to be made one way or the other.

The team was not good enough to contend and was also missing out on top draft prospects, as well as the opportunity to give big minutes to the younger talent.

The time had come to start something new.

Weltman said there were other options on the table which involved strengthening the existing team. But, given the number of injuries and lack of financial flexibility going forward, it would have been unwise to try and resurrect a team that was coming to the end of its time together anyway given the contract situation. This was the better of the two choices.

The trades have provided some renewed optimism among the fanbase. The road ahead is a long one, but there is a huge chance for positive change moving forward. It does not come without risks, however. Especially the deal to move Vucevic.