2023 Orlando Magic Trade Value Column: A future to plan for

The Orlando Magic are a team on the rise with several franchise pillars in place heading into the trade deadline. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Orlando Magic are a team on the rise with several franchise pillars in place heading into the trade deadline. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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It has been a while since the Orlando Magic have been in a position to be aggressive at the trade deadline or thereabouts. That is at least what a lot of the national media are thinking when it comes to the Magic.

For the first time in a long time, there is a genuine buzz about what the Magic are building.

Everyone sees Paolo Banchero as a future star. They see Franz Wagner as potentially the best sophomore in the league. And there are several solid players everyone is recognizing.

On top of this, the team is winning more. They are already at their win total from last year and they are hanging around in the postseason chase. This is everything the Magic could have imagined for this season.

The Orlando Magic have accomplished a lot this season already. As the trade deadline arrives, the team’s future is in focus and it already looks like it has a strong base.

Orlando has indeed “leveled” up this season. If anything, that has driven the frustration over this team. Everyone expects or wants the Magic to level up again and make a real postseason push. That says more about what everyone sees as this team’s potential and how quickly they want them to reach it.

For sure, when we look ahead to the 2024 season, expectations are going to rise and things are going to change for this team once again. The trade deadline for many teams is about setting up the offseason. And that may well be what Orlando does this year as they look ahead to their next evolution next season.

The Magic are a team that is living in both worlds though. They have several expiring contracts and veteran players who may no longer fit the team’s long-term plans. But they should also have the ambition to try to improve their team in the short- and long-term to position themselves for a postseason run next year.

This is a fun and exciting place to be in as an organization. But also a dangerous one.

President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman has consistently said he will not look to skip steps or seek the sugar high of a postseason berth before the team is ready. So do not expect the team to make some all-in move to make the Play-In Tournament.

Still, everyone knows change has to come. The Magic have to find a way to take a step forward. They have to find a way to improve their roster.

Orlando still has to assess its own roster as much as it has to start focusing on how to improve and who to target on the trade market and in free agency.

As we have done for the past several seasons, we are going to make that evaluation of the Magic’s roster by taking a page out of Bill Simmons’ book and ranking the players based on their trade value. This list asks pretty much, considering on-court production and contract status, who would you trade for and make out — i.e. you would trade No. 1 for No. 2 but not No. 2 for No. 1.

This list will show how difficult it is to assess the Magic’s players and find value on the market.