What could the Magic do at the trade deadline?

Trade scenarios that could happen for the Orlando Magic at the trade deadline.

It has been a decent start for the Magic who are currently in the 10th seed with a 14-18 record (as of 12/26). They have gotten quality contributions from veterans and young players alike, but the team's unquestionable star a nightly basis has been Nikola Vucevic, who's making a case for early all-star consideration. As solid as they've been, however, there is still plenty of room for improvement. With the trade deadline closer than you may think (February 7th), now is the perfect time to see what possible moves could be in their future. 

Point Guard

Point guard is the most obvious area of weakness for the Magic. D.J. Augustine has started off the season as well as he possibly could, but on almost any other team he'd be coming off the bench. The Magic will want to find a guy who is a clear upgrade over Augustine, not a fringe starter. That being said there are two names that come to mind, and subsequently, two trade scenarios to analyze. 

The first one is pretty straightforward:

Magic acquire: Kemba Walker 

Hornets acquire: Nikola Vucevic, Wesley Iwundu, 2021 top-ten protected first-round pick

This is a no-brainer for the Magic who may as well cash in on Vucevic during his current rampage. Losing a young guy like Iwundu stings, but it is a small price to pay for a team so desperate for a point guard. Getting rid of Vuc also creates an instant starting role for Mohamed Bamba who has flashed intriguing potential on both ends of the court. 

The Hornet's plans are what may prevent this deal from going through. It really all depends on whether the Hornets believe Kemba will re-sign with the team this offseason. If they can't find him a definitive sidekick, their chances of retaining him greatly decrease. Both Kemba and Vucevic will be unrestricted free agents this summer, but both teams involved could have decent chances of retaining their newly acquired studs. Obtaining Iwundu and the pick are necessary forms of insurance should the Hornets fail to re-sign Vucevic. The Magic are one of the only teams that have a need at point guard, so that slightly limits Walker's opportunities this offseason, giving the Magic an increased chance of signing him in the summer. 

The second scenario is another fairly simple trade:

Magic acquire: Ricky Rubio

Utah Jazz acquire: D.J. Augustine, Jonathan Simmons

This deal is pretty even for both teams. Similar to Kemba Walker, Ricky Rubio won't have a ton of options in free agency (at least not in a starting role), so the Magic automatically increase their chances of re-signing him due to their gaping hole at the position. His playmaking ability would be perfect in pick-and-rolls with Aaron Gordon and drive-and-kicks out to perimeter guys like Ross and Fournier. It's easy to see how the Magic get enticed with this deal. 

The Jazz haven't started off too great, with many thinking they'd be a top-four seed before this season started. Some more quality role players fit well into Utah's system, a team that could use a change of pace. Added depth only aids them in pursuing other deals. 

There's no real winner or loser here, which is generally a sign of a pretty fair and even trade for both teams involved. 

Rebounding

Ranked 27th in the league in rebounding, the Magic struggle mightily when either Aaron Gordon or Nikola Vucevic is off the floor. Mohamed Bamba is their only real backup big, although Jonathan Isaac can come off the bench at times in a backup four role. Lack of big man depth has become another area of concern for the Magic, so they'll try and shore that up in February too. They won't be going after any big names to help them in this department; rather, they'll try and pick up a cheaper option.

The first deal involves three teams, but the Magic get exactly the type of player they'll be looking for:

Magic acquire: Alan Williams

Nets acquire: Tony Snell, Jonathan Simmons, Bucks 2023 first-round pick, more desirable of the Kings or Bucks 2019 second-round pick

Bucks acquire: Kenneth Faried 

The Magic find exactly what they are going after by acquiring Alan Williams. His skill set is limited, but he is the perfect fit for the Magic, filling the gaps in Orlando's current big man rotation. He is a beast of a rebounder, averaging 15.0 per 36 minutes throughout his career. He doesn't offer much offensively other than providing opportunities for second-chance points and cutting off-ball as a decoy or lob threat. Orlando won't ask much from him coming off the bench, but he'll help in aiding their efforts on the boards. 

The Nets collect some assets in this deal, mostly with the picks, but also with Simmons who will seamlessly transition into Crabbe's role should he leave in the summer. Taking on Snell isn't too big of a deal with the other assets they'll acquire to offset his contract. 

The Bucks really only do this in order to get Snell's contract off their books. Faried will be gone by the time it's the offseason, which makes this very attractive to Milwaukee and the kind of cap space they create.

The next deal is a very simple one-for-one trade.

Magic acquire: Cheick Diallo

Pelicans acquire: Wesley Iwundu

Diallo is another guy who, similar to Alan Williams, brings loads of energy off the bench and will relentlessly crash the boards. He won't give you much on offense, but, again, that's not what the Magic are looking for in a deal like this. He's seeing less of the floor this season with Julius Randle, Nikola Mirotic, and Anthony Davis soaking up the majority of big man minutes, but on a team more in need of his skill set, he should be able to provide consistent production.

The Pelicans need wing depth, plain and simple. Iwundu is a promising young point forward type player who can also play some solid perimeter defense for stretches. While this isn't a flashy move by any means, Iwundu is still under contract for the remainder of this season and next, so they'll hope to get something out of him in that time. 

Orlando has plenty of options when it comes to filling their main needs, but the deals above seem like the most realistic opportunities that they'll have. The solid start they've had to this season has been promising. What they do at the deadline could determine whether they remain in the playoff hunt, or focus on a lottery pick.

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