Orlando Magic: The players they should target for their trade exception

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Steven Adams, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic
Steven Adams has been a stalwart veteran for a long time even as the New Orleans Pelicans pushed him out of the rotation. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

Orlando Magic Targets: Out of Rotation Players

Steven Adams, New Orleans Pelicans

When the New Orleans Pelicans acquired Steven Adams, it was a bit odd. The team had Zion Williamson, who was a power forward, but still fairly paint-bound. It felt like Adams would crowd him too much.

Adams is great at the little things. He sets good screens, he rebounds and he defends. There is very little teams would dislike about him.

His fit with the Pelicans was always a huge question mark, but he still managed to average 7.6 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game. That was his lowest scoring mark since his rookie year. But that does not really matter.

Adams is the perfect guy to fit into the trade exception and even onto the Magic.

Adams is due to make $17 million this season and $17.9 million next year. Adams would be a good veteran to play alongside or behind Wendell Carter and provide insurance in case the team is not wholly sold on its center group.

Even when he did not fit with the Pelicans, he was a great veteran that made that team better. Every team would love a guy like Adams. If the Magic are looking to be aggressive and put themselves in a position to make the playoffs, Adams is a guy they should chase — whether that happens in the offseason or at the trade deadline.

This is an idea a lot of fans have galvanized behind. Keep an eye on it.

Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Lakers

The second-biggest reason the Los Angeles Lakers’ title defense went out with a whimper was because of their poor investment in role players — the first reason is injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers went out and acquired Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol and Andre Drummond to mixed results.

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Harrell especially was disappointing. He averaged 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season for the Lakers. But he fell out of the playoff rotation completely, logging just 39 minutes in four games during the six-game series. That is not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Harrell is still likely better in short bursts off the bench. Teams want to harness his energy without giving in to some of the weaknesses he has.

Like Kenneth Faried, he creates a lot of highlight plays, but his energy does not always translate into productive play. The Lakers could not depend on him defensively and he gives very little offensively besides putbacks and pick and rolls.

The Magic could probably use some veteran at center to support their young guys — the Lakers have long been fantasy booked to trade for Mohamed Bamba for that matter. Harrell has one year left at $9.7 million on his contract. So it would be a low-risk acquisition.

Luke Kennard, LA Clippers

Luke Kennard has had a rough ride in the NBA. He faced injuries early in his career with the Detroit Pistons, then broke through for 15.8 points per game in 28 games in the 2019 season before getting traded to the LA Clippers in the Blake Griffin trade. He played 63 games this year, averaging 8.3 points per game and shooting 44.6-percent from beyond the arc.

Kennard, when he is healthy, is an ace shooter and even has some ability to attack off the dribble. Kennard’s best comparison is J.J. Redick in his later stages with the Orlando Magic. At least, that would be him at his peak.

He was good enough to sign a four-year, $64-million extension in December as the Clippers hoped to have shooting around their superstar duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. A player has to earn that somehow.

His injuries have made his availability the biggest issue. He is good when he gets the chance to develop consistency on the floor. But that just has not happened. Kennard has played only 14 minutes in the Clippers’ playoff series so far. It is just hard to get him in the game.

Undoubtedly, Kennard would fill a major need for the Orlando Magic. He is a career 41.3-percent 3-point shooter. The team desperately needs that presence. In that sense, if the Clippers were offering him up to lessen their tax bill, the Magic would jump at the chance.

But his extension has not kicked in yet. If the Magic acquired him, they would be on the hook for him through at least 2024 (the final year of his four-year deal has a team option). Taking him on would certainly require some draft sweeteners from the Clippers or maybe a second part of the deal to swap some other piece the Magic no longer want.

Finding the construct of a deal that helps Orlando maintain cap flexibility is difficult unless the team desperately wants Kennard for his skill and will just sit with the contract.