The time is now for Orlando Magic to trade for their star guard

Nov 14, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (1) shoots a three point basket over Orlando Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. (34) during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 14, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (1) shoots a three point basket over Orlando Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. (34) during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

Welcome to the week of the NBA Draft.

‘Tis the season for news leaks and unpredictable trade rumors. In the most exciting way possible, the Orlando Magic are right in the thick of it.

Having one of the most exciting young rosters in the league, multiple first-round picks and cap flexibility has its perks. One of which is being included in various rumors, aggregated tidbits and fake trades.

The NBA Draft presents an opportunity for teams around the league as they assess their roster and their needs. That includes the Orlando Magic who could be and maybe should be due to make their big deal.

Well, I am here to aggregate one more. And I am here to argue that now, in fact, is the time to make a big push to improve the roster.

President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman spoke about the need to grow the roster organically in his availability Monday. That comes with the expectation for players to improve internally.

Still, it definitely feels like the Magic could be a team that is on the rise — J.J. Redick said as much on The Old Man and the Three earlier this week.

The Magic could be a team that pushes the pace a bit quicker in the rebuild with a big swing of a trade. They certainly have the assets to do so. And the sharks are already circling seemingly now more eager to see a successful Magic team built around Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner.

On Sunday night’s episode of the Bill Simmons Podcast, Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo spitballed trades for nearly two hours. Tacked on the very end of the pod was about 10 minutes of Orlando Magic talk.

They laid out two potential trades for the Orlando Magic to strike on an opportunity with the Charlotte Hornets.

The Hornets find themselves in an interesting spot holding the No. 2 pick. They already have their franchise point guard in LaMelo Ball but would be in a prime position to select a possibly even more complete prospect in Scoot Henderson.

Could Ball and Henderson play together? If you had to pick just one, who would you pick? What is Ball worth? Do you take the known over the unknown?

These are all questions the Hornets are working through as we speak and the best part about it is the Magic don’t really care. All the Magic should care about it is how to swoop in and take advantage of this situation.

The first option would be to trade for the second overall draft pick and the rights to select Scoot Henderson.

Let me start off by saying this would be a home run for the Magic.

Henderson is a culture changer, is hyper-athletic and looks to be every bit as good as we thought he was. He has wowed at workouts and I would not be that shocked if he ended up being the best player in this draft.

In this case, it would likely take both the sixth and 11th picks and someone like Jalen Suggs to make this deal work. The Hornets may even ask for more, like a future first.

This seems like a lot to move up just four spots in the draft. But the payoff could be exponential down the road.

If the Hornets are unwilling to trade the pick, they may be looking to move LaMelo in order to clear the runway for Henderson.

This would also work great for the Magic. Simmons suggests the Magic could offer a similar package, but I think the Hornets would definitely ask for another pick in this package.

Ball would immediately take over the point guard spot and give the team another player with All-Star potential. He would fit seamlessly with Banchero and Wagner.

Markelle Fultz is a serviceable option for the position. But Ball’s playmaking and potential would take the Magic to the next level.

This is certainly a big swing. And the point, for now, is that if the Magic want to think big, they certainly have the pieces to do so.

I cannot exactly say the likelihood of either of these moves and there is a reason the Magic would be ecstatic to acquire either young guard. The Hornets may just be putting out a smokescreen and already have a plan in place for Henderson and Ball to coexist. But it is still worth a shot.

This exercise did spark some additional thoughts though. There might not be a better time for the Magic to consolidate assets for a young star guard than right now.

They have multiple picks, plenty of rotational players that could be of value, and a perfect spot in the timeline with Banchero and Wagner still on rookie deals to take that big swing and accelerate the team’s timeline.

There are certainly a few options available in what is already looking like a fairly open trade market.

Is Jalen Suggs, Jonathan Isaac and the sixth pick a good package to acquire Anfernee Simons from the Portland Trail Blazers? I think there could be some merit in exploring options.

Could Jalen Green be got for the right price from the Houston Rockets? Would the Magic want him? Is there any value in looking at some of the riskier options like Jordan Poole, Tyler Herro or RJ Barret?

I would not rule much out – other than a big expenditure trade for someone like Damian Lillard.

Next. Offseason Needs: Rim-protection and low-post enforcers. dark

The more I look at it, the more I am warming up to the idea of trading one (or both) of the picks in this year’s draft. There are guys that are getable out there, and few have the assets the Magic have to get it and still improve the team in free agency or elsewhere.

That is what makes this offseason so exciting for the Magic.