Orlando Magic’s 5 best trades of the last 10 years
2. Rob Hennigan’s highlight moment.
This is the best trade in Rob Hennigan’s time with the Orlando Magic and it was at the beginning of his tenure as he still worked to wipe away the old and clear the decks for the new.
Trading J.J. Redick at age 28 seemed to make sense with the roster turnover after Dwight Howard’s departure.
Redick was averaging 15.1 points per game that season which was the highest in his career at that point, so Hennigan sold high. He traded a veteran who was likely leaving a rebuilding team in free agency for a young player who needed a second chance.
Redick would go on to play eight more seasons. But at the time of the trade, this would have been difficult to predict.
The emergence of Stephen Curry revolutionized the game and this was perfect for J.J. Redick. He could be counted on as one of the best shooters in the league who could hide on defense.
He would have been an awkward fit with the young Magic roster if he stayed on the team, so the deal was predicated on the Magic’s direction. It helped too that the Milwaukee Bucks were desperate to make the Playoffs, even if it meant renting Redick for the rest of the season.
Ish Smith was a head-scratcher to be included in the deal as a 23-year-old, but he had bounced around the NBA before playing for the Magic so had little time to show his skill set on the court.
Smith was salary filler to make the deal work, but he ended up being a true NBA journeyman playing for 13 teams in 13 years. If not for playing on the dreadful “Trust the Process” Philadelphia 76ers, Smith might have never received significant playing time to showcase his talent.
Gustavo Ayon was clearly not worth a roster spot and only played 38 more games in the NBA after this trade. Rob Hennigan had seen enough through his first season in Orlando to move on — although fans will not let him live down making him part of the acquisition of a sign and trade of Ryan Anderson with the then-New Orleans Hornets.
The Magic traded an older shooter who did not fit the rebuilding timeline and a solid backup point guard for Tobias Harris, Beno Udrih and Doron Lamb.
Harris was the clear prize of this trade. After struggling in his rookie season, the Bucks offloaded the former 19th pick in a win-now move and the rest is history.
Harris finished that season starting 20 of 27 games while averaging 17.3 points per game.
At 20 years old, Orlando knew the change of scenery was exactly what Harris needed to jumpstart his career. He went on to play two and a half more seasons in pinstripes as the starting small forward.
He averaged 15.6 points per game throughout his Magic career and felt like a cornerstone talent to the Hennigan rebuild. Regardless of how Harris exited the organization, this trade still holds as a positive for Orlando.
Tobias Harris was a young, tall, athletic wing who would complement Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic. He would go on to play excellent basketball for the Detroit Pistons and end up traded to the LA Clippers for All-Star Blake Griffin.
That is a pretty significant value for a 25-year-old at the time to be traded for a five-time All-Star.
Harris has had one of the more solid NBA careers for a player to never be named on the All-Star team, and that is a testament to how good this trade was. Hennigan took a gamble on a young second-year player and it paid off.
Beno Udrih also had a really good 27 games to finish the season with the Magic and a clear upgrade from Ish Smith. He averaged 10.2 points per game for Orlando and started in nine games.
Udrih made up some of the shooting that the Magic lost in Redick, and even though he was only with the team to finish the year, he brought value to Orlando.
Doron Lamb was also worth a look. He was 21 years old when the Magic acquired him after playing 23 games for the Bucks. He struggled with his efficiency through those games. But Lamb was a promising guard who scored 22 points in the National Championship game the year prior to win Kentucky’s eighth NCAA title.
Lamb went on to play 77 games for the Magic in two seasons, but those were his last NBA games. He ended up putting together a solid overseas career and is still playing, but Hennigan received another option at the guard position for the rebuild.
This deal helped Orlando rebuild a younger team with added cap space. Harris emerged as one of the focal points of the rebuild and a future borderline star. The value of Tobias Harris tilts in the Magic’s favor over a 28-year-old Redick and an unproven Ish Smith.