Orlando Magic Trade Value Column 2022: Preparing for the next steps

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Gary Harris, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Jaylen Brown
Orlando Magic guard Gary Harris has been part of a rebuild before. He is ready to help this young team out again. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic are at an important point of their rebuild.

Tearing everything down is easy. Selling off parts for whatever you can get and trying to maximize value on the way down is not so hard. Sometimes the choices are easy and the moves are obvious. Other times they take nuance.

The Magic were not able to get a star in return for Dwight Howard in 2012, but everyone seemed to agree Rob Hennigan did about as well as he could in the deal acquiring young players, creating cap space and accumulating draft picks. Everyone seemed to believe the Magic were starting their rebuild on the right foot.

Things obviously did not finish that way.

It is easy in hindsight to see all the mistakes that were made and the way the team did not put the right infrastructure in place for such a large rebuild project.

It is really easy to compare the project Jeff Weltman is trying to put together and try to see and avoid the same pitfalls that Rob Hennigan fell into.

The Orlando Magic are past the teardown phase of their rebuild. And this year’s trade deadline will be important in plotting the next steps for the franchise.

That means every move Orlando makes moving forward will have ripple effects throughout the rebuild. One more leads to the next and leads to an effect in the next season and so on and so on.

A wrong move could be difficult to get out of or delay the team’s growth. The right move — both in the draft or in a trade — could be the thing that helps the team climb back to relevancy quicker.

It is simpler to say that much of what the Magic are trying to build relies on internal development (especially of rookies Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner along with young players like Cole Anthony and Wendell Carter), drafting well (the Magic are in line for the top odds in the NBA Draft Lottery for a second straight year) and injury luck (Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz are not yet on the court).

But the trade deadline will have major effects for the Magic too.

Orlando has found some success of late as their growth and progress have taken on tangible signs. But they also have assets and players to manage as they map out their future. And they would be foolish not to explore the trade markets for veteran players who may not fit the team’s timeline or could net them interesting young prospects.

Of course, one of the mistakes of the Hennigan rebuild was trading away veterans too quickly and not having them as part of the team’s growth.

This is all at the center of the Magic’s trade deadline thought process. They seem ripe to move veterans Terrence Ross and Gary Harris to teams in contention and hope they have enough leadership and veteran know-how to continue their positive growth. And then that they can find it.

They have to seek opportunities still to add to their young team and find long-term pieces.

With all the cap room they have scheduled for this offseason too, the Magic are also in a position to try to add someone to their roster and take on some more salary this offseason.

The place to start though is what the Magic have to offer and how they evaluate their current roster.

This is certainly not a time to make any conclusions on many of the team’s long-term players — outside of the contract decision waiting for Mo Bamba this offseason. But the team has to start shaping itself toward some final product in the next year.

This is a trade deadline full of intrigue.

As we have done for the past several seasons, we are going to take a page out of Bill Simmons’ book and put together our annual trade value column. The rankings that follow are an evaluation of each player on the roster based on their production and contract value.