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
8 of 11

2024 Orlando Magic Trade Value Column

4. Jonathan Isaac (2-years, $34.8 million, Non-Guaranteed in 2025) -- Last Year: 7th

For several years, I came into this space every year and explained the Orlando Magic had to stick with Jonathan Isaac because he was the one player on the team that did anything at an elite level. Players like that are not guys you give up on.

The Magic now have Paolo Banchero (an All-Star, if you have not heard) and another budding star in Franz Wagner. Still, Isaac is a player with an elite skill set.

The clock was ticking with his contract, even with its various non-guarantees, but Isaac was someone worth waiting on at this point in the team's rebuild. After sitting out two years recovering from a torn ACL and a hamstring injury, it was not like he had much of a trade market. His triumphant return last year was even cut shot.

The Magic have remained careful with him this year. But he is healthy. And now the team seems ready to unleash him.

Isaac is still an elite defender, even with the Magic playing him only for short spurts.

They have a 97.6 defensive rating when Isaac is on the floor, the best mark by far of any regular rotation player. You do not need the numbers to confirm how good he is. He guards wings as well as bigs.

The Magic feel comfortable finishing games with him and unleashing a fresher Isaac on whoever the top scorer is on the other side of the ball.

The Magic will spend their time figuring out how to get him on the floor more. They are hoping that having his first healthy offseason since 2019 will enable Isaac to start building on his game rather than focusing on recovering from some injury.

Does Isaac have value around the league? Maybe not yet, but it should be growing. Isaac is not someone teams are looking to steal anymore. The cat is kind of out of the bag on that one. Isaac is still an impact player in this league.

And the Magic will not look to move a $17 million contract unless they get a significant player in return. Isaac makes that big of an impact in the role the Magic have carved out for him.