Friday, Dec. 15 marked the unofficial start of trade season in the NBA.
The reason for this is two-fold. First, teams above the salary cap that received a player in a trade cannot move that player/contract for two months.
Most contracts signed in the offseason also cannot be moved until two months after they are acquired or Dec. 15, whichever is later. This is the time when most players around the league are now available for trades (there are a few more that will have to wait for Jan. 15).
That is now for any player traded for in the offseason.
Second, the G-League Showcase is coming up on Dec. 19 in Orlando, bringing together NBA front offices with this newly realized contract flexibility. It is a prime time for the foundation of deals to be laid.
With the season passing the quarter mark, everyone is starting to better understand where they sit in the conference pecking order and how realistic their postseason chances might be. Front offices everywhere are more realistically evaluating their roster and its team needs.
Everyone is starting to set things up and look ahead to the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
In the trade market, the largest need and the loudest refrain from Orlando Magic fans has been the same for years now: shooting.
While the Magic have seen impressive increases in 3-point field goal percentage from some individual players, Paolo Banchero and Jalen Suggs most notably, the Magic as a team have maintained the exact same 3-point percentage from last year at 34.6 percent. That rate ranks them 27th in the NBA.
The team does not even take a ton of threes, taking the second-fewest attempts in the league at 29.8 attempts per game. Everyone sees this as such a clear weakness and something that could easily hold the Magic back as they prepare for the Playoff.
The team also recently achieved, if achieved is the right verb, one of the worst 3-point shooting efforts in NBA history. The Orlando Magic shot 2 for 23 from beyond the arc in their Dec. 6 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Sometimes, in the wake of those tough losses, when the Magic shoot poorly from 3, the only warmth is the thought of what could be. The comfort of the fantasy of some shooter on another team that could be available.
Add to all this that the Magic's foundational stars, Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner do most of their damage in the mid-range and at the hoop, the acquisition of a consistent and respected shooter would be a boon for their ascensions and the trajectory of the team.
Everyone is already thinking about how to acquire shooting one way or another for this team.
Now is the time that those thoughts and that pursuit have a chance at coming to fruition. All that remains to be seen is what the Jeff Weltman-led front office will do. Weltman's history would certainly suggest temperance. The team is not likely to make hugely splashy moves at the deadline.
The Magic are in a new position though.
They are a team in playoff position and looking to get better. For the first time in a long time, the team might well be buyers as they get to the market rather than being viewed as potential sellers trying to get off bad contracts or send players to contending teams.
This is a new position for the franchise for sure.
The team will be reviewing the rosters from teams near the bottom of the standings looking for potential bargains to add underrated players to the roster for their playoff run.
Here are some players on bottom dwelling teams that may be available and would push the Magic towards a more open offensive floor plan.