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 V -- Core Bench Players

8. Moe Wagner (2-years, $16 million) -- Last Year: 11th

Moe Wagner has proven a lot of people wrong. He continues to prove people wrong. And now he is a solid backup center and one of the most critical players on this Orlando Magic team.

Wagner has continued to be an excellent offensive player, leaning on his ability to finish around the basket and his great ability to roll to the basket to build his offense -- the Magic score 1.29 points per possession when Wagner is the roll man on pick and rolls.

He has greatly improved his defense, too. Opponents still shoot 61.8 percent at the rim against Wagner, which is better than the 75.5 percent he gave up last year. Wagner is also 10th in the league with 17 charges.

Wagner probably should not be a starter, but he is a solid reserve. The Magic are not likely to let go of him easily, even with their depth at center. And Wagner has accepted and embraced his role.

7. Cole Anthony (4-years, $44.6 million, Team Option for 2027) -- Last Year: 8th

At one point, Cole Anthony looked like one of the best sixth men in the league. He was a dynamic scorer and attacker, and teams could not seem to slow him down.

Those games from December feel like a long time ago.

Anthony has dealt with a quad injury that has slowed him down. And his numbers have taken a significant drop off -- he is averaging 8.1 points per game and shooting 23.8 percent from three since Jan. 1.

It goes back to the questions that have followed Anthony throughout his career. Does he have the ability to make it through an entire season and maintain his consistency and efficiency? Anthony has not entirely broken through.

So quietly, one of the questions the Magic have is whether Anthony can be that leading scoring option off the bench. They need him to be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. He has fallen far off that pace as the season has gone on.

The important thing to note with him is that Anthony is starting an extension next year. So he goes out to the acquiring team as the average of his extension, but the Magic can only take back a salary equivalent to his rookie contract for salary-matching purposes.

6. Anthony Black (4-years, $32.9 million, Team Options for 2026 and 2027)

The Orlando Magic have a rookie problem getting Jett Howard on the floor more regularly. They also have a problem making sure Anthony Black gets his playing time.

These are good problems to have in the end.

Black has had an excellent rookie year, even with the Magic narrowly defining his role and limiting him on offense. He has proven himself a capable defender -- even as a rookie -- and someone the team can trust even on starter-level players.

Offensively, Black's shot has come a long way, even from the start of the season. He is hitting 38.1 percent of his 3-pointers, which felt unimaginable when the Magic drafted him.

Black is almost untouchable because there is so much for the Magic to like in the 6-foot-7 guard. He has had a tremendous rookie season, even if there are not the eye-popping numbers that catch everyone's attention.

Orlando still has to figure out what the team wants him to be.

He has not played point guard yet. Maybe that is a development for his future. And this question honestly probably affects everything else the Magic do at the deadline or in the offseason. Perhaps they only need a stopgap point guard rather than a long-term solution because of Black.

That is the promise he brings and why he still has so much value for the Magic.