The 5 worst Orlando Magic trades of the last 10 years

PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 09: (R-L) Nikola Vucevic #9, Evan Fournier #10, Elfrid Payton #4 and Victor Oladipo #5 of the Orlando Magic walk to the bench during a break in the final moments of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on December 9, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Magic 107-104. 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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 09: (R-L) Nikola Vucevic #9, Evan Fournier #10, Elfrid Payton #4 and Victor Oladipo #5 of the Orlando Magic walk to the bench during a break in the final moments of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on December 9, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Magic 107-104. 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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 6
Next
Tobias Harris, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 12: Tobias Harris of the Orlando Magic in action against Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

3. The return for Tobias Harris

Keeping Tobias Harris is kind of a “what if” for the Orlando Magic, because had he stuck around and become their main option he could have sniffed an All-Star team in the pinstriped blue.

Next to Nikola Vucevic, they would have been in their primes a better duo than Vucevic and Evan Fournier, although we all know there would have been a pretty low ceiling on that tandem as well.

Trading Harris was not really the issue. But getting back Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings in return was… troublesome.

The Magic were reeling through January and February after a 19-13 start and were clearly under some ownership pressure to make a playoff push and rescue the season. Trading away the freshly signed Harris for two veterans would keep the ship steady, but really signaled the Magic were going for salary cap room to play free agency in the summer.

In doing this deal the Magic were reeking of desperation. They did not commit to rebuilding, rebooting or even trying to be better. And they were doing this all in a summer where everyone was going to have cap space because of the unprecedented cap spike in the summer of 2016.

They ended up striking out on free agents, settling on spending their cap room on Bismack Biyombo, D.J. Augustin and Jeff Green.

The immediate return did not improve the Magic’s fortunes as they missed the playoffs, although they hit 35 wins their best win total since Dwight Howard left at that time.

Ilyasova was a kind cult hero in Orlando, a competent and professional player who managed an impressive 877 games in the NBA.

A dangerous pick-and-pop scorer who once shot better than 45 percent from deep while with the Milwuakee Bucks. The problem was he was too good for a bad team, and played only 22 times for the franchise.

Jennings on the other hand was, if not a disaster then . . . not what the Magic needed. The promise of high scoring never materialized as he managed seven points per game, and he was gone after only 25 games played.

To recap then, the Magic gave away a legitimately good young player who is a part of the contending Philadelphia 76ers in 2023 for 47 combined games from two players who were never going to be part of the long-term future. And then used the resulting cap room to get only one player who would start for their next playoff team.

Ouch.