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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Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics
Jonathan Isaac made a big impact for the Orlando Magic in a win over the Boston Celtics for his return. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

2023 Orlando Magic Trade Value Column

Category V — At Long Last

7. Jonathan Isaac (3-Years, $52.2 million, non-guaranteed in 2024 and 2025)

Last Year: 4th

The number one question for anyone associated with the Orlando Magic for the last two years has been when will Jonathan Isaac see the court again.

There is certainly a bit of the thought of so much with the Magic was tied to Isaac for so long and for it to disappear was just puzzling. As was the long time it took for Isaac to get back on the floor.

But so much of that mystery was a curiosity of whether this supremely talented and unique player still had it. Whether he could still contribute to the team.

The Magic’s roster might have moved on some from Jonathan Isaac, replacing the necessity for the team’s future with the drafting of Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero to occupy the forward spots in successive years, but Isaac is still a fascinating addition and someone who can change the game defensively.

He already seems to be doing it even in his limited minutes and clearly being a step off from where he was before his injury. Isaac still has a long way to go in his recovery to fully return to the court — without restrictions and with full confidence in what he can do.

It is frankly amazing that Isaac is still so effective.

Isaac does not have much trade value at this year’s deadline as he still gets himself all the way back. But it is also clear how much talent he still has and how much potential he still could have as an ace defender and floor spacer.

Suddenly potential matters more.

6. Markelle Fultz (2-years, $33.5 million)

Last Year: 9th

At this point last year, Markelle Fultz was still waiting to return from his torn ACL and knee injury. Nobody quite knew what he would look like and his lone full season of data was promising but not enough to go on.

Fultz was still all potential — and so much of his potential that made him the top overall pick was already pretty much gone. There were still people who wanted to judge him on that standard.

That is not who Fultz is. Not anymore.

But still, the flashes show up. They showed up in the final run of the season after the All-Star Break in the limited minutes he played after his injury. and they are showing up now that he has fully taken over as the starter once again and gotten extended time on the court.

Fultz’s numbers do not show his full impact on the floor. And he is getting more comfortable and better running this team, after missing training camp with a toe injury.

Fultz works in intangible ways, controlling the pace to his liking, picking his moments to score and getting the team moving. There are still flaws the team will have to consider — and like Cole Anthony, his contract status will come into question in the offseason and into next season.

But Fultz has played great and feels indispensable to the Magic’s success this season. Orlando might value him more than other teams right now. But Fultz is proving himself worth it.