5 Orlando Magic trade targets from teams that fell short in the playoffs

The Orlando Magic are a team on the rise with plenty of money to spend this offseason. One of the ways they can improve is by hunting for chances to take advantage of teams seeking a new direction.
The New Orleans Pelicans appear poised for major changes this offseason after another first-round Playoff exit.
The New Orleans Pelicans appear poised for major changes this offseason after another first-round Playoff exit. / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages
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4. CJ McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans

The real target on the New Orleans Pelicans should not be Brandon Ingram. If Orlando is hunting for a big name off the Pelicans’ roster and their apparent upcoming firesale, they might be seeking out CJ McCollum.

At least in theory, McCollum fills a lot of needs for the Magic. He is a shooting guard who has moonlighted as a point guard for the Pelicans during the last few years. He is a reliable three-point shooter and a solid creator who is excellent in the mid-range.

McCollum averaged 20.0 points per game last year on a 57.2 percent effective field goal percentage. McCollum has averaged at least 20.0 points per game in each of the last nine seasons (essentially ever since he became a full-time starter with the Portland Trail Blazers).

He added 4.6 assists per game and shot 42.9 percent from three. He is a career 39.9 percent 3-point shooter. McCollum hit 42.9 percent of his catch-and-shoot three-pointers last year.

McCollum checks a lot of boxes offensively for what the Magic need. He would be a solid secondary playmaker who could create when given the ball, and he will have games where he takes over.

The concern with him is his age at 32 years old. He played in 66 games last year and has hit 70 games played in just one of his last four seasons. Injuries have slowed him down.

He is also a poor defender historically. And that is not likely to improve as he ages.

McCollum has a hefty salary, too, with two more years starting at $33.3 million. That declines to $30.7 million. So perhaps the salary is not so onerous.

Constructing a trade is possible too.

Orlando could make an offer centered on Wendell Carter—or even get involved in a three-team swap as needed —to acquire a player like McCollum. Carter for McCollum works straight up, so it is about adding the pieces to make each side comfortable:

Magic receive: CJ McCollum, Jordan Hawkins

Pelicans receive: Wendell Carter, Joe Ingles, no. 18 pick

The Pelicans are not likely to want to trade Jordan Hawkins—and the Magic clearly passed on him for Jett Howard anyway. But this is just an for instance. McCollum for Carter works straight up. The Pelicans will likely ask for some draft compensation (this year's pick is in there as a placeholder).

This deal, as constructed, probably does not go through. But the bigger point is whether the Magic want to use their trade as an extra free-agent signing. Trading McCollum for Carter straight up adds $21.3 million to their payroll. This deal adds only $15 million. That is the difference between being able to sign another big free agent or not this offseason.

That is as much a consideration as anything else.

The point here is that a framework for a deal exists—especially with the Pelicans likely unable to re-sign Jonas Valanciunas and in the market for a new center. McCollum checks a lot of boxes offensively.

The question is whether he is the kind of player the Magic want to chase.