Proposed mock trade has Orlando Magic exchange defense for offense

A recent mock trade by Bleacher Report has the Magic exchange a defensive mastermind for an offensive table-setter. 
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Five
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Five / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Defense was not a problem for the Magic in the 2023-24 season. Despite their youth, they finished the regular season as the third-best defensive team behind only the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics. 

Offense was another story, however. Too often the Magic struggled to get anything going and relied on Paolo Banchero to bail them out. 

Now, it seems, it would be a smart move to bring in a more traditional point guard to start next to Jalen Suggs—someone who can run the offense and set up Banchero and Franz Wagner rather than forcing them to create for themselves and others. In a perfect world, that someone also comes with a solid three-point shot and defensive talent. 

Players who check all three boxes are hard to find, however, and the Magic will likely have to compromise in one of those areas—probably defense. 

A recent mock trade by Bleacher Report has them exchange a defensive mastermind for an offensive table-setter. 

Bleacher Report mock trade has Orlando making a deal with Cleveland 

The Cleveland Cavaliers are seemingly preparing to break up their core four and retool around Evan Mobley and one of Darius Garland or Donovan Mitchell. This Bleacher Report mock trade sends Garland to Orlando:

Magic receive: Darius Garland 

Cavaliers receive: Jalen Suggs, 2025 first-round pick

Theoretically, Garland would be a nice fit with the Magic and could potentially take the team to the next level offensively. He is a traditional point guard who could take over the majority of the playmaking responsibilities, while also adding a scoring punch. Garland finished this season averaging 18 points per game and shooting 37.1 percent from three. 

In the previous two seasons, he has shown that he can actually be a better three-point shooter than that. Offensively, Garland checks almost all the boxes for the Magic. Defensively, he does not, and that would be a problem, especially without Suggs there to cover for him. 

The Magic built their entire identity on their defense, and no one embodied it more than Jalen Suggs. The 22-year-old is only in his third season but already made an All-Defensive team and improved greatly as an offensive player. Especially his three-point shooting percentage, which increased from 32.7 percent on 3.8 attempts per game to 39.7 percent on a higher volume, was a pleasant surprise. 

Moving him now, before seeing what kind of player he can still grow into, would be heartbreaking for Magic fans. Suggs has the potential to grow into a true two-way threat but he still needs some time to develop.

If this is what it takes to get Garland, it might just not be worth it. Having an identity is incredibly important if you want to win in the NBA. Moving Suggs would mean losing a key piece of that identity, and the Magic should try to avoid that. There are players out there who can help them improve without taking away quite so much from what they are best at. The Magic obviously have other good defenders, but Suggs is the one who usually sets the tone and leads the charge.