3 selling teams the Orlando Magic can take advantage of at the deadline
D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are not looking to rebuild or get younger. But they are dealing with pieces that do not fit together and have talked about giving away multiple good veterans who can improve other NBA teams.
They seem like one of the most hungry teams to make a move. The Orlando Magic can use that to get productive players at a low price.
It is hard to be perfect and to play around LeBron James, so just because these players are on the trading block or not putting up their best numbers, that does not mean they cannot benefit the Magic.
A new start for some of these players and a break from the stress of the glistening spotlight that comes with playing on the same team as James could be all they need to get their mojo back.
The Lakers are seemingly shopping five veterans -- D'Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Taurean Prince, Christian Wood and Cameron Reddish -- to try to make upgrades themselves. They may even be seeking third teams to park some of these players as part of bigger deals. Each would help the Magic in their own way.
The most intriguing player is Russell. He seems like a perfect fit for the Magic's offense and is someone the Magic should be looking more into to boost the team's offense.
Russell brings in a lot of mixed feedback from media members and players, but his talent and production are impossible to ignore. He has been unfairly scapegoated in Los Angeles, as they usually do with role players when they are losing. A fresh start with much less pressure could make the Magic the perfect home for Russell.
The 27-year-old guard has just about everything the Magic are looking for.
He brings elite shooting and efficiency from the guard position. He is a fantastic facilitator. And, best yet, he does not need the ball in his hand for him to succeed.
Russell is a rare breed of guard who is as good off the ball as he is on the ball. He can get into a rhythm at any time and score whenever his number is called, regardless of his touches throughout the game.
The Magic are missing that kind of burst and offensive threat defenses are constantly worrying about outside of the star players.
Russell is averaging 17.3 points per game, 6.2 assists per game and 2.7 rebounds per game on 46.6/41.6/80.0 shooting splits in 31.0 minutes per game.
He is an elite third option who comes up big in the clutch. That will help when the Magic's young core is struggling or if their stars are being doubled. That is the goal -- to relieve pressure on the Magic's star players.
Russell is having a great season and has been on fire during the last two months. Due to injuries to the Lakers' stars, he has had to be the first or second option a lot recently, and instead of his numbers declining as most would think, they have gone up.
During the last two months, he has averaged 21.4 points per game, 7.0 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game on 42.6/43.3/83.0 shooting splits in 35.0 minutes per game.
The only downside to Russell's game is on the defensive end. But with him surrounded by Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter, he will be easy to hide and help on the defensive side.
Reddish is another interesting target because of his versatility, size and shooting ability. But he has had an underwhelming career and has not quite reached his full potential. The Magic may not be aiming for another development project.
Prince and Hachimura are both elite shooting wings. Prince, especially, would add a solid veteran presence.
But Russell would be the big prize if the Magic dealt with the Lakers because of that scoring potential. The question is whether he is the right fit and whether the Magic can match his $17.3 million salary with something the Lakers want.
There is a lot of misused talent they can acquire from the Lakers that will help them right away.