Orlando Magic Daily Mailbag: The immediate needs
What is the most immediate need the Magic should look to fill at the deadline?
The answer to this question should be fairly obvious -- shooting.
The Magic are near the bottom in the league in 3-point field goal percentage -- and that is thanks to Wednesday's showing against the Sacramento Kings. And the lack of space, even with the team's decent shooters, is painfully obvious. Defenses simply are not afraid of Orlando shooting at any time and are willing to bet the team will not hit shots to crowd the paint.
Everything the Magic do from this point forward should be focused on how to make Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner's lives as easy as possible. And it does not take a genius to know how much shooting makes the margin for error smaller for this team and just makes everything else for the team easier.
Shooting is the biggest thing missing for this team. And if Orlando wants to unlock anything offensively, it starts there.
Positionally, I do think the Magic will have to address the point guard position or add shooting specifically at guard in the starting lineup.
As much as Magic fans love Markelle Fultz, there are very real questions about his ultimate fit with the team. Can the Magic survive with a non-shooting point guard? Do they need a ball-dominant lead guard with Banhero and Wagner's playmaking ability?
My guess is the Magic are ultimately looking for a shooter and organizer at this position who can play off the ball. Maybe they believe Jalen Suggs can get to that point and they are looking for a 2-guard.
If the Magic make a move at the deadline, I think they address this guard who can shoot need.
Who are the Magic offering at the trade deadline?
Of course, if the question is what are the Orlando Magic hunting for in the trade deadline, you naturally have to ask: What are the Magic willing to give up?
And this is a much thornier question. At least at this juncture.
Orlando has talked unendingly about how valued its continuity is. The team sees familiarity and working with each other as a reason why the defense got off to such a strong start and why there is so much trust and confidence to figure out problems as they arise.
President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman has been hesitant to shake things up in a major way, to the chagrin of some fans. And it still feels like that will be something the team is hesitant to do anything major midseason and disrupt the vibes from this growing team.
It still feels like the team wants to grow gradually. But it also looks clear there is a need to make some shift.
The biggest trade piece the Magic might be able to part with is Markelle Fultz. He is set to become a free agent this offseason and has a questionable future thanks to injuries early in his career and the left knee tendinitis that has had him play just once since Nov. 2.
Fultz would have a lot more value if he was playing. But his being out ahead of a weak free agent summer probably means Fultz has very little value. That is going to make it hard to make a move at the deadline.
The team probably would not care about trading Chuma Okeke, who is set to become a restricted free agent this summer and is out of the rotation. Gary Harris might net the most value as a proven veteran. But he has had an uncharacteristically poor shooting year.
Other than those players -- all future free agents -- who else will the team part with? Is Jonathan Isaac going to net much on the trade market even with his favorable contract terms for next year? Are the Magic ready to move off Wendell Carter and try to cash in on him as they solidify that position? That seems unlikely.
That just makes it even harder to think about a trade as the Magic do not seem quite ready to move off players that could net real value unless the team is ready to make a bigger swing.