Proposed mock trade has Magic ship out promising youth for five-time All-Star

Dec 11, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando Magic guard Anthony Black (0) defends Cleveland
Dec 11, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando Magic guard Anthony Black (0) defends Cleveland / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando has a promising young core with Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, and Jalen Suggs. The vision of building a talented two-way team to compete in the East is getting more real with every game the youngsters play and grow together. As a result, the idea to accelerate the timeline and make a big move to turn the Magic into a contender is incredibly tempting. 

It isn’t just Magic fans either. Pretty much everyone in and around the league is now aware of the Magic’s talent, cap space, and trade assets and they keep getting mentioned as a possible destination for any star who might hit the trade or free agency market. 

The latest name to enter that territory is Donovan Mitchell. After another frustrating playoff run for the Cavaliers, rumor has it that either Mitchell or his backcourt partner Darius Garland will be leaving Cleveland. Accordingly, BleacherReport put together some mock trades for Mitchell. One of them has him landing with the Magic. 

Proposed mock trade has Magic give up on youth to land Mitchell

If Donovan Mitchell becomes available, a bidding war is likely to start. There are several teams out there, like the Lakers, for example, that are desperate for someone who can help them win now. The Magic are not one of those teams, but they need an offensive force. 

Mitchell would check that box. He is an explosive scorer and a good playmaker with plenty of playoff experience. He could help youngsters Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner carry both the scoring and the playmaking load while not having to worry about much defensively. Sharing a backcourt with Jalen Suggs means that there is always someone there ready to take on the toughest guard assignments. 

Getting him would not be cheap, however, as we can see in the following trade proposed by BleacherReport:

Magic receive: Donovan Mitchell

Cavaliers receive: Anthony Black, Jett Howards, 2025 first-round pick, 2026 first-round pick, 2028 first-round pick, 2030 first-round pick, and a 2031 first-round pick swap

Would it be worth trading all that for Mitchell? 

As mentioned before, the Magic certainly have a need for Mitchell’s skill set, but that is quite the haul. Anthony Black and Jett Howard are the Magic’s most recent first-round picks. Despite their potential, neither has played many meaningful NBA minutes yet and giving up on them so early in their careers would not be ideal. 

Plus, moving that many picks would limit what the Magic could do on the trade market in the future. Obviously, the Cavaliers gave up a lot for Mitchell and want to make up for that, but Orlando might just not be the right place to get that from. 

Giving up all that for someone who might decide to leave in 2025 if he doesn’t like it in Orlando and take touches away from Banchero and Wagner just seems like too much. 

The Magic need to make some moves to improve, but they are under no pressure to make a big all-in trade. Now, if you’re talking about the Heat or Lakers—which the BleacherReport article also does—that would look much different. For teams like that, going all-in for Mitchell makes a lot more sense. 

The Magic’s core three—Banchero, Wagner, and Suggs—are all 22 or younger. Even if the front office were to bring in a big name, expecting them to compete at the highest NBA level next season already might not be fair. So, the organization would either have to be really sure that they can do it or that Mitchell will return to Orlando.