NBA Trade Deadline: Orlando Magic are not done helping other teams out

The Orlando Magic acquired Bol Bol, helping another team complete a financial objective. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ciaglo-USA TODAY Sports
The Orlando Magic acquired Bol Bol, helping another team complete a financial objective. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ciaglo-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic spent their trade deadline with what appeared to be a relatively minor move.

The team dealt a conditional 2023 second-round pick (top-55 protected) to the Boston Celtics for Bol Bol, PJ Dozier, a future second-round pick and cash considerations. To complete, the move the Magic waived Michael Carter-Williams and E’Twaun Moore.

In reality, it was a move that was a lot of nothing.

The Magic essentially sent out nothing and acquired two injured players while releasing two other injured players in the process.

The Orlando Magic used their trade deadline to rent some cap space and help another team achieve their financial goals. It won’t be the last time.

If this feels like a whole lot of nothing, you are probably right. The move does not even have many long-term impacts for the Magic. This deal was really all about the Celtics trying to get under the luxury tax line. Something they successfully do with this deal.

Bol averaged 2.4 points per game and 1.4 rebounds per game in 5.8 minutes per game across 14 games this season with the Denver Nuggets. He has dealt with foot injury that is expected to keep him out the rest of the season. It actually canceled a previous deal the Denver Nuggets previously made with the Detroit Pistons. He was sent to the Boston Celtics shortly after.

PJ Dozier is also dealing with an injury. He tore his ACL earlier this season after averaging 5.4 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game. Dozier was making his name as a good defender, but he was a struggling shooter. He got hurt in late November. But ACL tears and the Magic are not exactly something we can plan for.

He is out for the rest of the season. And the Magic have already cut Dozier, freeing up a roster spot for a future 10-day contract or waiver claim.

Bol’s contracts expire at the end of the season. They will hold Bol’s restricted free agent rights this offseason if they wanted to keep him.

Despite the publicity surrounding Bol and his size — 7-foot-2 — and 3-point shooting ability, he has struggled to stay on the floor and fight off injuries. It is not clear if he is part of the team’s future plans or not or what his long-term outlook in the NBA might be.

This will not be the last time the Magic are used as a weigh station or as an assistant in some other team’s bigger move.

Without any additional moves, the Magic are expected to have anywhere between $25.9 million and $29.0 million in available cap space. But nobody should be expecting the Magic to use this in free agency. This is a very poor free-agent class and the Magic as a rebuilding team are not likely looking to make any long-term commitments.

They are instead likely going to try to use that cap room in trades to acquire players they want at the cost of renting their cap room to do it.

Why not? The Magic are not quite ready to compete yet, barring a sudden surge to end the season that elicits that kind of hope.

Orlando has a lot of money to spend and no one to spend it on. So they will likely do what they did this deadline on a much larger scale. They will collect draft capital, a player they like and eat some dead money or an overpaid player to get the player they really want.

The Magic’s decision to hold onto veterans Terrence Ross and Gary Harris likely stemmed both from the knowledge that their veteran presence is important for a rebuilding team. And also the inability to extract the value they want from them.

Orlando clearly believes in holding on as long as possible rather than just doing a deal for the sake of doing a deal. The team retains a ton of flexibility to make all kinds of moves going forward.

Of course, the proof will be in what the Magic actually do. There is definitely a criticism — and a fair criticism — of this front office for not taking risks and pushing all-in.

The Magic are certainly not ready to push all-in and be aggressive with their assets. They are going to have to wait for opportunities and see how they can help other teams while still aggressively pursuing the players they want.

Orlando did not get its work done at this deadline. But the team still has a lot of work to do.

The Magic are not likely done acting the way they acted at the trade deadline. They will be a team other teams turn to if they want to rent cap space and clear their own books. With so few free agents, the Magic may be a facilitator in three-team trades this offseason.

Next. Orlando Magic have options ahead of the deadline. dark

But Orlando opted to wait things out and help others this deadline. The work to reshape the roster will move on to the offseason.