Orlando Magic: 4 Trades To Acquire A Wing

The Orlando Magic appear to be committed to moving Aaron Gordon to the power forward position, but for this to work, they will need to add a small forward to their roster.

The Orlando Magic’s offseason was the subject of much debate, as many argued that the roster was poorly constructed.

The roster, on the surface, looked to lack any kind of outside shooting and the additions of Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo only added more complication to a frontcourt that had been providing more questions than answers since the departure of Dwight Howard.

Just six months down the line, the majority of NBA fans concerns have been validated, as the Orlando Magic are14th in the Eastern Conference after an abysmal season that has seen them become one of the more unwatchable teams in the NBA.

The Magic have won only two of their last 10 games and they have allowed more than 100 points in 18 of their last 20.

Frank Vogel was hired to try and steady the ship as he did in Indiana, but it hasn’t worked out and his hands have mostly been tied by terrible roster construction.

The man responsible for that awful roster construction is general manager Rob Hennigan and his job oddly doesn’t appear to be under any real threat.

In his most recent interview with John Denton of nba.com, Hennigan stressed that he is in “constant contact” with Vogel and he is planning to make moves near the deadline that can get the Magic closer to that much-coveted playoff spot.

Although Hennigan has shown himself to be an unpredictable GM, it is fair to infer that he will be in the market for a small forward.

Vogel told the Orlando Sentinel that small ball lineups “give the Magic fits” and it is clear that the Magic need to ship some of their taller players for some smaller ones.

When the Timberwolves came up against the Magic Monday night, Tom Thibodeau opted to play Nemanja Bjelica at the 4 down the stretch instead of Gorgui Dieng, as he knew that the Magic could not cope with small lineups. This is something that has to be addressed, especially in 2017.

Although teams generally do not consider wings expendable in the current era of the NBA, there are a couple of players on the market who could really help the Orlando Magic become a more cohesive and efficient unit.

Below, I explore some potential trades whereby the Magic can acquire some small ball type players that can coexist with Aaron Gordon while he plays at the power forward position.

Trade One:

Magic get SF- Wilson Chandler

Nuggets get PF- Serge Ibaka

Why the Magic do it: The Magic are desperate for a small forward and Chandler is one of the better small forwards in basketball. Right now, Serge Ibaka is providing a human barricade in the way of Aaron Gordon’s progress and moving him is the right thing to do at this point in time.

Chandler has had injury problems, but he would immediately become the Magic’s most gifted offensive player as he can shoot from outside and drive into the paint with power.

He has shot around 35 percent from beyond the arc as a Denver Nugget and he would immediately become a huge contributor in central Florida.

Why the Nuggets do it: The Nuggets are a fun team offensively, but they have a Swiss cheese defense that needs all the stopping power it can get.

Ibaka hasn’t worked out in Orlando, but he still one of the premier inside defenders in basketball and he could be the long-term fit for the Magic next to star center Nikola Jokic.

Ibaka allowed a field goal percentage of 43 percent at the rim last season, which was the second-best mark in the NBA for a player who played more than 1,000 minutes.

The risk from Denver’s point of view is that Ibaka is a free agent this summer, but he has previously said wants to be a part of the offense and he will get a lot of opportunities in Mike Malone’s pace offense.

This essentially means that there is a high chance he would be willing to return to Denver.

Trade Two:

Magic get SF- Omri Casspi

Kings get PG- CJ Watson, 2018 Second Round Pick

Why the Magic do it: Omri Casspi is a cheap reliable wing option who is more than capable of playing real minutes in a Frank Vogel team.

Casspi was a pivotal player in George Karl’s system in the 2016 season, but he hasn’t really found a place in Dave Joerger’s system, as the former Grizzlies coach has preferred veteran players such as Matt Barnes and recent draft picks such as Malachi Richardson.

Frank Vogel’s offense uses a lot of off-screen shooting action and Casspi ranked in the 92nd percentile in the 2015-16 season on this particular play type.

Casspi has had a positive defensive real-plus minus in three of the last four seasons and his reliable defense would mean Frank Vogel wouldn’t have to sacrifice defensive stability in order to chase outside shooting.

Why the Kings do it: No one really knows what the Kings are doing, but they seem committed to blowing up their current roster and surrounding DeMarcus Cousins with young players.

Casspi hasn’t found a place in Dave Joerger’s team, and to get a veteran like C.J. Watson in return isn’t a terrible haul. Watson is an above average perimeter shooter, and he could help them improve on their 36 percent team clip from downtown.

Trade Three:

Magic get PG- Brandon Knight, SF- PJ Tucker

Suns get PF- Serge Ibaka, PG- DJ Augustin

Why the Magic do it: The Magic need scoring and Brandon Knight is a player who simply tries to score in multiple ways. He needs to be rescued from Phoenix and Frank Vogel is the sort of coach who would be able to mask his defensive flaws whilst giving him the freedom to run an offense.

P.J. Tucker is one of the more underrated wings in basketball and his defense would make Frank Vogel happy, while his outside shooting would allow Aaron Gordon to spend most of his minutes at the power forward position.

Tucker is allowing his opponent to shoot 46 percent from the field, which is around the league average. He may however thrive in a team where he is surrounded by better defenders.

Why the Suns do it: The Suns are an offensive-minded team, but they could do with more help defensively, as they are currently 27th in field goal percentage allowed.

Ibaka is an amazing shot blocker and his ability to play outside means that he wouldn’t be obstructing the development of Marqueese Chriss.

The Suns need to move on from Brandon Knight and D.J. Augustin is a reliable point guard who would be able to come in and run an up-tempo bench unit.

Ibaka’s pending free agency makes such a move a risk, but he is a player who wants offensive touches and the Suns would grant him this.

Trade Four:

  • Magic get: SG- Tyreke Evans (Pelicans), SF- Quincy Pondexter (Pelicans)
  • Nuggets get: PG- Tim Frazier (Pelicans), PF- Serge Ibaka (Magic), 2018 First Round Pick (Pelicans)
  • Pelicans get: SG- Will Barton (Nuggets), C- Jusuf Nurkic (Nuggets)

Why the Magic do it: In Tyreke Evans, the Magic get another playmaker who can open up so many things on the offensive end of the floor. He is a player capable of doing nearly anything and he is also a good defender which would fit in with Frank Vogel’s philosophy.

Quincy Pondexter is another big get in this trade for Orlando; he is an above-average defender who could play real minutes at the wing, which would allow Aaron Gordon to move to the 4.

Evans is a flexible player and he can play the first three positions, which would allow Frank Vogel to be more creative and innovative with his rotations.

Why the Pelicans do it: The Pelicans are desperate for a franchise center to go alongside Anthony Davis and Jusuf Nurkic could be their long-term option at the position.

Nurkic is an excellent defender, as shown by the fact he only allows a field goal percentage of 46 percent, and he pulls in rebounds, which would help give Alvin Gentry’s team some much needed extra possessions.

Will Barton is another player caught in the Denver logjam and he seems a natural fit in Alvin Gentry’s up-tempo offense due to his shooting ability and also his ability to collapse defenses and dunk.

These players are also on team-friendly contracts, which gives de facto general manager Danny Ferry the ability to go after players in the off-season.

Why the Nuggets do it: Getting Serge Ibaka would be huge for Denver, as he provides an interior presence that is much needed.

They also get a future first-round pick from the Pelicans, which could come in handy when a few of their young players inevitably have to be sacrificed in order to pay for the gigantic contracts that Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray will get in the future.

Tim Frazier is also a very good player, as NBA writer Justin Jett outlined in his column just over a month ago. Alvin Gentry prefers Jrue Holiday which is understandable, but he is the kind of player who could take Denver’s bench unit to the next level.

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