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Three Potential Trades the Magic Should Make at the Deadline


NBA trade season is upon us. Trade deadline day has always been one of my favorite events of the year. It’s like Christmas Day for basketball fans. I remember sitting in class during middle school mashing the refresh button on Hoopshype to stay up to date on the latest wheeling and dealing. Skip ahead a few decades and even with the overwhelming amount of media that inundates us with information, the process remains the same: read a rumor, refresh page, rinse and repeat.

The deadline always brings plenty of excitement, despite the fact that it rarely works out the way we want it to. It’s a day that could potentially change the course of your teams season or shift the power dynamics of the league. To this point, we’ve already seen one massive deal in Kyrie Irving being shipped off to the Dallas Mavericks, with much more still to come as teams jockey for position looking to improve their playoff rotation or look to unload bad contracts off their books. And while it’s fun to discuss trades from a league-wide perspective, here, we’ll be focusing on hypothetical deals the Magic could make that actually seem realistic.

That means you won’t find trades for Fred Van Vleet or OG Anunoby, which I don’t think are viable options for the Magic in their current state. That time will come, but right now, with this team, It seems much more likely that the Magic will make deals on the margins. Shipping off expiring contracts in return for picks or smaller rotation players. The Magic simply have too many young players that they still need to find minutes for to make any game-changing moves. Not to mention continuing to integrate Jonathan Isaac into the rotation.

For my money, the Magic’s biggest priorities should be to upgrade the back-up center position or to add another consistent shooter. Of course, there is always a chance for a shocking deal that has us shaking our head with disgust or puts us in a state of euphoria, which is exactly what makes this day so exhilarating. With that being said, let’s take a look at three potential deals the Magic should make before Thursday’s deadline..

Trade #1

Orlando Magic Receive: Isaiah Hartenstein, Miles McBride

New York Knicks Receive: Mo Bamba, RJ Hampton, 2023 Second Round Pick

This seems like a win-win for both sides. From a Magic perspective, Mo Bamba and RJ Hampton are out of the rotation and don’t have a future with Orlando, while Hartenstein is a name that the Magic were reportedly interested in during free agency before they re-signed Bamba. Hartenstein was seen as a nice value contract after finding success with the Clippers prior to joining the Knicks, but is being misused by Tom Thibodeau and finds his name being on the trade block not even a full year into his contract. Hartenstein would be a nice fit as a back-up center, competing with Moe Wagner for minutes and helping out with the rebounding issue the Magic currently possess. He could also supply some playmaking from the center position when Wendell Carter Jr. is on the bench. His contract is more than reasonable and seems to fit like a glove for this team at the back end of the rotation. McBride is thrown in for contract matching purposes, but provides the Magic more depth at guard.

As for the Knicks, this would be a homecoming of sorts for Bamba, who played his high school basketball in NYC. He and Hampton could help the Knicks add some shooting to their rotation, and New York gets off the Hartenstein contract, which seems like a mistake in hindsight based on his current role. Bamba and Hampton are both talented players with versatile skill sets and could find some success in another city where there is more opportunity for consistent playing time.

Trade #2

Orlando Magic Receive: Joe Harris, Future Second Round Pick

Brooklyn Nets Receive: Terrence Ross, Mo Bamba

This trade is a fairly obvious upgrade for one the Magic’s most glaring weaknesses: shooting. Joe Harris has two years left on his deal and makes just north of $18 million a year, so a second rounder is added for the Magic to entice them to take on that money. It's a relatively short term investment that could help Orlando greatly improve its perimeter shooting. The Magic desperately need one more consistent shooter to pair with Gary Harris as kick out options for Markelle Fultz, Paolo Banchero, and Jalen Suggs. Harris is shooting 40% from beyond the arc this season and could help the Magic immensely down the stretch.

Brooklyn gets another veteran shot maker in Terrence Ross, who could be a spark plug off the bench and maybe won’t make some of the young player mistakes that someone like Cam Thomas would make come playoff time. Bamba provides them a back-up big and rim protection as he would slot in nicely behind Nic Claxton. Brooklyn also gets off the Joe Harris contract as both Ross and Bamba (team option) are expiring contracts after this season. Let’s make this one happen.

Trade #3

Orlando Magic Receive: Luke Kennard

Los Angeles Clippers Receive: Mo Bamba, Chuma Okeke, Second Round Pick in 2023 and 2024

If you sense a theme here, you would be correct. I do not expect Mo Bamba to be on this team following Thursday’s trade deadline. That’s not to say I would be surprised if the Magic make no deals at all, but if they did, It’s almost a certainty that Bamba, Ross, or Hampton will be involved in some capacity.

Much of what applied to the aforementioned Joe Harris deal applies to this one, with Okeke taking the place of Ross as a more enticing long-term option for the Clippers. Kennard is one of the best snipers in the league and is shooting it at 45% this season. The Magic would have to decide if his contract is worth it to them, but Kennard provides exactly what Orlando needs.

Okeke provides the Clippers that versatile wing that could defend multiple positions that they seem to stockpile, and while he’s currently injured, he should return at some point this season and give them another prospect to develop. Bamba provides depth for them at back-up center and could help fill the gap that was created when they let Isaiah Hartenstein walk in free agency. If Bamba can come in and help the Clippers down the stretch, Los Angeles could decide to pick up his option next season to fill that hole. Again, this allows the Clippers to get off the Kennard contract, which still has two years left on it following this season.

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