Orlando Magic trade Mo Bamba to Los Angeles Lakers

Mo Bamba is on the move heading to the Los Angeles Lakers. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mo Bamba is on the move heading to the Los Angeles Lakers. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic may not be making any major moves this trade deadline — perhaps that is yet to be seen with still 20 minutes at the time of writing until the deadline — but they were not sitting idly to set up their offseason.

The Magic may have signaled their seriousness to be a player in the offseason by making one of the big early summer decisions ahead of the end of the season.

The Orlando Magic have traded Mo Bamba to the Los Angeles Lakers for Patrick Beverley and a second-round pick.

The deal is not yet official as of 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time and will be spun into a four-team deal that will include the Los Angeles Lakers trading Thomas Bryant for Davon Reed, funneling one of the two second-round picks the Lakers acquired in that reported deal to the Orlando Magic, and the LA Clippers acquiring Bones Hyland for two second-round picks.

The Orlando Magic have cleared the way to their offseason as they moved Mo Bamba and will likely buy out Patrick Beverley to free up a roster spot and set up cap room for the offseason.

It is not clear what the Magic may do with Beverley — he has one year and $13 million left on his deal to become a free agent this offseason. There are already reports the Magic will buy out Beverley and that seems very likely. That makes sense considering the Magic are already invested in guards Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony.

This trade was about getting some value for Bamba and clearing the way for a busy offseason while still maintaining the team’s growth.

"“We’ve constantly talked about growth and having a young core of guys that continue to grow and build together,” coach Jamahl Mosley said before Thursday’s game. “The group that we have in here now has continued to show growth. They’ve continued to play hard for one another. They will continue to do that as we keep moving forward.”"

The Magic currently have $67.2 million in guaranteed salary for next season. That does not include $17.4 million for Jonathan Isaac and $13 million for Gary Harris. Those two guarantees will likely get picked up, bringing the Magic’s total to $97.6 million.

Before getting to the Magic’s two potential first-round picks, that will give the Magic $36.4 million in cap room under the projected $134 million to play with in the offseason.

This is not a heavy free-agent class, but the Magic are a team that not only has cap room but perhaps some motivation to go out and use that cap room to meaningfully improve the team.

Bamba would have added another $10.5 million if the Magic did not cut him before June 29. Which they might have done anyway to free up this kind of cap room.

Instead, Orlando gets an open roster spot now.

Nobody knows what the Magic might do with that, but they could very well promote Kevon Harris from a two-way contract to a full-time contract. That could open the team up to sign a third center with that remaining two-way spot they free up.

That is the biggest immediate concern of this trade. The Magic will be relying on Wendell Carter, who is nursing a plantar fascia strain that will linger until he can get some rest in the offseason, and Moe Wagner, who is a solid player and energy booster but also boasts the worst defensive field goal percentage at the rim in the league among regular rotation players.

Bamba may not have been playing regularly, but he gave the team important cover. And he can step up when called for. He had a decent showing in a start for Carter last Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, what ended up being his last game with the Magic after his suspension for his involvement in a fight during the game.

Bamba has been an important player in the locker room as he is well-liked and helped keep things light behind the scenes. Everyone always had high hopes for Bamba and one of the more memorable moments was how much coach Jamahl Mosley embraced him and got to work with him the moment he stepped into his office at the Amway Center.

That helped Bamba to a career season last year. And while he has gotten squeezed out this year, he still played an important role for this team.

"“For what Mo is for this team is he has always been a special part of this group,” Mosley said before Thursday’s game. “His ability to be around the guys, the camaraderie, the togetherness, he represented so much of that. On the court, his ability to block shots, knock shots down, those are big pieces of who he is. But as a young man, watching him grow over the year and a half has been fantastic. His care factor that I don’t think a lot of people recognize. There are so many things he does behind the scenes that for a young man of his age are very special.”"

As enticing as the postseason is, this season is not about the results of this season for the Magic. This season is about setting up the team’s future.

Next. How every deadline deal affects the Orlando Magic -- Vol. 2. dark

that is what the team did, even if it was a simple move that helped the Lakers clear some luxury tax money and helped the Magic make a decision they were likely to make anyway.

Buckle up for a fun and expensive offseason.