There is logic to Orlando Magic trading for Bones Hyland before deadline

With the NBA’s trade deadline inching ever closer, it is becoming more likely the Orlando Magic will not be active.

With good reason, as Monday night’s comeback win over the Philadelphia 76ers demonstrated this is a near-healthy roster that is going to win more games as they grow together.

The malaise that has plagued this group was sadly also on display, while players like Bol Bol are having to adapt to this more complete rotation in order to have an impact.

Just because the organization currently is not part of any major trade talks, it does not mean they should not be if names come up as being available the closer we get to the deadline.

Teams typically harden their stances and the direction they want to go at the deadline around Feb. 1. It is officially crunch time and the trade market will continue to evolve.

One such individual has come on the market recently, with Bones Hyland of the Denver Nuggets seemingly wanting a bigger role. The Orlando Magic should explore acquiring him to bolster their depth.

Bones Hyland is in only his second year in the league, and has managed to start a paltry five of the 111 games he has appeared in for the Denver Nuggets. They are true contenders, so it makes sense a 22-year-old would struggle to break into their rotation in a meaningful way.

The 19.5 minutes he is averaging per game is right in line with his rookie number, and much like Cole Anthony for the Magic, Bone Hyland tends to come into the game and provide real energy off the bench.

It is a role he is good at, but there is nothing wrong with backing yourself and believing you can have a bigger say elsewhere. Hyland is also in the unenviable position of being on probably the most unique roster in the entire league.

Center Nikola Jokic is the de facto point guard, and he shares the ball better than any superstar potentially ever. Unsurprisingly the Nuggets have the best offensive rating in the NBA (117.4), as well as the second most assists a night (28.6).

This is great news for them, but unfortunately for Hyland it masks some of his own individual skills. His 12.1 points per game on 37.8-percent shooting from 3-point range are impressive given the system he exists in. And this is where the Magic enter the conversation.

It would appear based on those basic numbers alone Hyland has the capability of making a sizeable leap if he is trusted to make more things happen offensively.

Next to point guard Markelle Fultz, he could be an excellent two-guard who complements Fultz’s skill set with how he plays. Fultz is the better defender, passer and pacesetter, and would have no problem teeing up Hyland every night.

An interesting quirk to Hyland though, he somehow has the highest usage rate on the entire Nuggets roster (28.4 percent). He also takes the sixth most field goal attempts on the team (4.6), and the third most 3-pointers (5.7).

If a bigger role is what he is looking for, then perhaps he is talking about being given the chance to blossom into a superstar, because those numbers would indicate he is far from buried on that Nuggets team.

Again we can point to the makeup of the roster in Denver as to why Hyland may feel this way, with the ball getting spread evenly. With Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. all much better offensive players, Bones Hyland will always sit behind them in the pecking order.

Aaron Gordon has found his ideal spot in the league with the Nuggets, while both Bruce Brown and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will get more minutes than Hyland once the rotation is shortened for the postseason.

What do we do with this information then? The Magic and Nuggets would appear, at face value, to have a good relationship after the Aaron Gordon trade that sent Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton and a pick the other way.

Hyland clearly has no problem having the ball in his hands when on the court, and this has not been to the Nuggets’ detriment of the Nuggets or their offensive sets either. Hyland still modestly gets his while keeping away from the label of being a real ball hog.

But it is already clear Paolo Banchero will be the Magic’s best offensive player for a long time to come. And Franz Wagner complements him really well.

To put the ball in Hyland’s hands some would take away from Banchero, although Wagner would still thrive with his movement and cuts.

But on the other hand, second-year players who are comfortable with the ball in their hands and at scoring are not particularly common.

All indications are the Nuggets are happy with Hyland, it is just that he wants a bigger role. There is a lot to be said for that as well, with the Nuggets contending for the top seed in the Western Conference.

What then would be the asking price for Hyland, and would the Magic do it?

It is difficult because the Nuggets once had Harris, Hampton and Bol on their roster. What about a Terrence Ross rental for additional 3-point shooting in the postseason, Mo Bamba and perhaps even a second-round pick? Would the Nuggets ask for their 2025 first-round pick back?

Jalen Suggs should be off the table in this particular deal. It is too soon to know what he can be and, as a rookie, he averaged 11.8 points per game himself as he continues to grow into an excellent defender.

How about Anthony then? Hyland would not want to slip into his role off the bench, but perhaps Suggs can do that as he grows, while Anthony gets a chance to come in and help a contender in ways he has been helping the Magic recently.

This is a move to think long and hard about, because if Hyland goes elsewhere and pops, the Magic will always wonder what it would have taken to get him. There is no doubt they can meet whatever the asking price currently is.