Flip back to March 25th 2021 and it was anything but a quiet trade deadline for the Magic. Yesterday was a different story for Orlando as the team continue their methodical rebuild.
Last year the rest button was hit as Magic fans waved goodbye to Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu and Gary Clark. We welcomed in RJ Hampton, Gary Harris, Otto Porter Jr and Wendell Carter Jr. That window also brought in the Chicago pick which became Franz Wagner.
What The Magic Did Not Trade
Terrence Ross, remains the Magic’s most long serving player and the Human Torch remains lit in Orlando… for now. He was expected to be moved on to a team needing perimeter shooter for the playoffs. The Magic were rumoured to want a first round draft pick in return, whilst team’s were willing to provide two second rounders.
Gary Harris had been expected to garner interest from a contender on his strong play of late, both on defence and by providing outside scoring. Many Magic fans, myself included did not want to see the 27 year old guard leave.
Robin Lopez as a veteran centre on a very reasonable contract had also been the subject of trade rumours. Lopez is a guy who is always ready to hit the court and provides a solid contribution with his prowess at the hook shot.
Mo Bamba is a young, floor spacing centre who many feel is requiring a change of environment to restart his career. Bamba is in free agency this summer and has not been offered a new contract (at least publicly) by the team. The 23 year old was expected to be a much sought addition for many teams.
A few lines back I wrote the words “for now”. There remains the possibility of buyouts in the coming days
What The Magic Did At The 2022 Deadline
The team decided for whatever reason to keep things low key. On a quiet trade deadline for the Magic the final haul was the 22 year old centre Bol Bol.
Bol was acquired from the Celtics in a deal that also brought in guard P.J. Dozier. Soon after the deal was announced Dozier was waived as he is out for the season and beyond, recovering from an ACL injury. The deal further gave the Magic “cash considerations”, to which the team tweeted out a welcome post to Cash Considerations. Boston’s 2028 second round pick was exchange for Orlando’s 2023 second round pick, with the Magic having better protections on theirs than Boston have.
It will be a time until Magic fans see Bol in a Magic uniform on the court. He had foot surgery in January, and is out for the season. Bol has played in just 53 games (all with Detroit) since being drafted with the 44th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by Miami. His career averages are 2.7 points and 1.0 rebound in 6.2 minutes per game. Whilst that is very little at this time, he is a guy that many NBA experts have high expectations of including a certain Shaquille O’Neal.
The Magic signed Moore as a free agent in September. He suffered a sprained knee during preseason and never suited up in the regular season.
Michael Carter-Williams had not played this season due to an ankle injury. During his time in Orlando he played in 88 games over four seasons. He averaged 7.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. But the stats do not tell the story of MCW.
MCW came to Orlando on March 15th 2019 on a 10-day contract. He arrived as the team were fighting for a return to the playoffs. He himself was drinking at the last chance saloon, trying to save his NBA career. From the first moment of walking onto the court as a Magic player he showed a willingness to fight, to sacrifice himself for the team. For MCW helping the team was the goal always. His defence night on night was hard nosed and effective. It helped propel Orlando into the playoffs in 2019 for the first time since 2012.
I could go further, talking about the consistency of effort and unsung contribution. However I am going to sum MCW up in one game. Game 1 of the 2019 playoffs in Toronto. His efforts in that game proved Orlando were going to make the Raptors play as we took a superb victory on the road. His tenacity helped hold Kyle Lowry scoreless.
During the fourth quarter MCW was covered in blood from a streaming nose, being restrained by team mates after some Kyle Lowry “accidental” contact with the elbow. Incredibly, no foul was called. The spirit he held saw a return to the team after being treated. MCW finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 18 minutes of action off the bench in a dramatic 104-101 Magic victory.
Magic fans will miss you MCW. Whatever comes next good luck and you will always be a part of our team!
A Quiet Trade Deadline For The Magic But It Makes Sense
Yes, it was a quiet trade deadline for the Magic but it was also an interesting one, tinged with some sadness.
There is sense to the caution and perceived inactivity. To date Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac have hardly or not played with Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony, Franz Wagner, Chuma Okeke, Gary Harris, Wendell Carter Jr, RJ Hampton and others. Why make changes before you have established what you already have?
Fultz and Isaac are believed to be seen as cornerstones of the teams future. They certainly had potential before the injuries. Add in the expected high pick in the 2022 Draft it is prudent by Hammond and Weltman to build with consideration.
Whilst there were no blockbuster moves those made are all part of the path to the future.