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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Orlando Magic
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – JANUARY 13: Terrence Ross #31 of the Orlando Magic in action during the second half of a game against the Utah Jazzat Vivint Arena on January 13, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

2023 Orlando Magic Trade Value Column

Category IV — You Better be Serious

9. Terrence Ross (1-year, $11.5 million)

Last Year: 6th

Terrence Ross is the most likely player the Orlando Magic will deal at Thursday’s deadline. Teams certainly want the Magic to open up negotiations for Gary Harris, but that feels less likely. Ross is the most available.

And that has largely been the case since the offseason when Ross made it public that he had discussions with the Magic about his future and would like to be on a contender or move on from a rebuilding team.

The Magic never found a deal. They needed a veteran to hang around and be good around the young players. Ross is not the type to cause waves. He likes being in Orlando even if his professional desires are elsewhere.

Even with Orlando being inconsistent with his playing time — especially recently where he has not played in the last eight games — the Magic have been hesitant to just give him away. They clearly like having him around.

But the Magic have moved on from Ross even though he is still on the roster.

The thing is though, Ross has played well. He has recovered from what was a career-worst season in  2022 to a pretty solid season in 2023. He is averaging only 8.0 points per game, but he is shooting 38.1 percent from beyond the arc. He is obviously not doing it at volume. But Ross seems to be back to a standard level.

His expiring contract will make him valuable. Especially for a team that needs that last shooting boost heading into the postseason. And the Magic are certainly fine getting something for him — although it seems like the priority is to get him somewhere Ross wants to be, even if that means waiting for a buyout.

8. Cole Anthony (2-years, $9.2 million)

Last Year: 5th

It has been a roller coaster for Cole Anthony. Year-to-year, game-to-game, quarter-to-quarter sometimes.

Anthony’s scoring acumen is unquestioned. When he is on, he is a dynamo able to put up points in a hurry. But getting him to be consistent has been the issue. That is why he did not seem to work out as a starter. And the big question for him as he moves into a sixth-man role.

No doubt, Anthony’s run this year has been extremely up and down. Right now, Anthony is playing incredibly well. He is averaging 14.2 points per game on 51.9-percent shooting and 50.0-percent from deep in his last six games.

That is obviously a big high for Anthony. It would be asking a lot for him to stay at that level. But Anthony has flipped several games in the Magic’s favor just by being this kind of a sparkplug for the team.

The thing is, even though his scoring is down to 12.1 points per game from 16.3 last year, his efficiency is up. he is shooting a career-best 44.3 percent from the floor and even though his 3-point shooting still hovers around 33 percent overall, he is only taking 3.3 3-point attempts per game, showing his willingness to stay aggressive and attack.

Anthony has improved a ton. But that is not quieting any of the questions.

Anthony represents the first big decision of this phase in the Magic’s rebuild. He is extension eligible this offseason and it is not clear how much the Magic are willing to commit to him.

Anthony has made it clear how much he feels he is worth. And he is absolutely correct to state and to believe he is a starter in this league, even as he embraces his sixth-man role. The question is will the Magic be willing to pay him like a starter or will they need to think about their future without him?

That is not a pressing question at this trade deadline.

For now, the Magic are going to watch to see if this role suits him and if he can continue this stellar play more consistently. Then comes the decision point this offseason where Anthony could either be a player the Magic commit further to with an extension or they look to package and shop in the offseason.