2024 Orlando Magic Trade Value Column
5. Wendell Carter (3-year, $35.9 million) -- Last Year: 3rd
There is still a lot of value in Wendell Carter.
As he struggled with injuries this season and seemed to regress in his confidence, the NBA trade market was spinning trying to get the Orlando Magic to deal Carter. A lot of teams certainly love his front-loaded contract and his potential.
More than that, because the Magic seemed to hold the boat steady with Goga Bitadze and Moe Wagner, it felt like the Magic could survive and make a major upgrade using Wendell Carter as a means to improve.
Orlando appears to have held the line. The team seemed confident in Carter that he would regain his footing. The Magic seem to know Carter is still its best center option, and they would not just part with him because the market was shouting for it.
The Magic were not selling low.
At this point, it seems Orlando will hold onto Carter after he averaged 14.9 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per game while shooting 40.0 percent on 3.2 3-point attempts per game since returning from right knee tendinitis on Jan. 15.
Carter is still a solid defender and a versatile offensive player. The Magic would be foolish just to let him go. They need some serious value in return because Carter is still an outstanding player.
But the questions are still present. And there are some reasons to believe the Magic will need an upgrade at center.
Carter's lack of size and explosion to play above the rim does not hurt him defensively, but he can still get overpowered in the paint. He still needs some finesse.
Orlando is missing this above-the-rim element. It is not a problem to solve immediately. But the Magic should be thinking about how to improve every position on the floor. That includes Carter.
But that is not a concern for now. Carter is valuable to the Magic and to the rest of the league. Orlando will likely hold the line and see how he handles the Playoffs.