2024 Orlando Magic Trade Value Column: From sellers to buyers

The Orlando Magic's posture entering this year's trade deadline has changed. For the first time, they are going out on the market looking for ways to improve their team. That starts with a careful evaluation of what they have and what they are willing to give up.

A lot of focus for the Orlando Magic at the trade deadline is on the future at point guard and what the team does with Markelle Fultz.
A lot of focus for the Orlando Magic at the trade deadline is on the future at point guard and what the team does with Markelle Fultz. / Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports
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2024 Orlando Magic Trade Value Column

Category III - Brighter Futures

13. Caleb Houstan (3-years, $6.2 million, non-guaranteed in 2025, team option in 2026) - Last Year: 13th)

The Orlando Magic promised patience with Caleb Houstan after he played sparingly in his rookie year. He was one of the youngest players in his draft class, and the Magic were willing to give him a year in the G-League to let him take his bumps.

He started to pay off this year when the Magic desperately needed him with all the injuries. Houstan showed glimpses of the kind of volume shooter the Magic will need and the chance of him being an impact shooter. Orlando gave him a very green light, and he took it.

Houstan had some big games, but he also showed he clearly still has some room to grow. In 21 games from Dec. 15 through Jan. 22, Houstan averaged 6.5 points per game, shooting 33.3 percent from three and 5.3 3-point attempts per game, in 20.4 minutes per game.

In many ways, his run playing regular minutes for the Magic was an audition for him, with Jett Howard waiting in the wings for minutes on the wings.

Houstan proved he can play and that he can contribute. What he lacked was consistency.

12. Goga Bitadze (1-year, $2.1 million)

Goga Bitadze was one of the nicest stories of the NBA's early season, with the former first-round pick stepping in with Wendell Carter out with a hand injury early in the season. Bitadze fit smoothly as an athletic defender and rim protector.

He gave the Magic exactly what they needed at that time.

The questions now are all about how his role expands and what opportunities he can get moving forward. He should be on an NBA roster and should at least get a look as a reserve center. Bitadze was effective.

There are still shortcomings. And as far as the trade market goes, his lone remaining year and his contract not having full Bird Rights might make it less enticing for teams to chase after him. There is not much an over-the-cap team can do with a player on a minimum contract.

The Magic might still end up being the team that retains him.

But Bitadze has proven himself an NBA player. He has come a long way in two years.

11. Joe Ingles (2-years, $22 million, Team Option for 2025)

There was a lot of skepticism about adding Joe Ingles to the lineup. Everyone questioned the price tag and what a 36-year-old a few years removed from ACL surgery could bring to a young, up-and-coming Orlando Magic team.

Ingles proved to be a pretty crucial piece. Someone who could move Cole Anthony off the ball to let him be a more natural scorer attacking closeouts and a veteran voice and hand to keep the team calm. He meshed well with his personality, too.

The Magic have a +3.0 net rating, including a 115.8 offensive rating with Ingles on the floor, the best on-court offensive rating of any rotation player for the Magic.

Ingles makes all the wheels work on this team in many ways. He has been the perfect veteran for this group and one of the few reliable shooters on the team -- 38.8 percent from deep but not at a volume that will make a difference.

That might be the problem. Everyone knows Father Time is undefeated. And Ingles has given a good jolt to this team in the exact ways it needs it. His contract is not onerous, but the clock is ticking.