All of those moves — all of them — would have been forgotten with the acquisition of Cousins. Can you imagine the buzz, the excitement, around this franchise once more?
The team has a history of dominant big men, and a starting five of Payton/Augustin, Ross, Fournier/Green, Aaron Gordon and Cousins has a great feel to it.
Biyombo would have been hard to move to another team before the deadline, leaving him as an expensive backup to Cousins every night. But that’s what he already has kind of become, losing his starting spot to Vucevic and being a non-factor offensively.
Do you know what the worst part about all of this is though? The fact that the Magic’s trade package was better than what the Pelicans gave up for Cousins.
Evans is a known commodity having won Rookie of the Year honors while in Sacramento. He has failed to do much more ever since. Galloway likely won’t stay there, and the two draft picks are useless in the wrong hands (the Kings drafted Jimmer Fredette over both Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard).
The Magic could have given them a proven big man in Vucevic, who will consistently get you a double-double, and an ever improving Fournier on a fair contract.
They could have even thrown in something like Jeff Green‘s expiring contract if needed, and also had the ability to match any offer regarding picks that the Pelicans ended up giving them.
Which is to say, this looks like a hugely wasted opportunity. It would have been a risk, but one that any other rebuilding team would have jumped at.
The Magic took a chance on Ibaka on a one-year rental and it didn’t work out, and they lost two members of the Thunder’s starting five as a result.
Cousins could have brought them so much more, and if he’d bounced, they would have been down Vucevic (with Biyombo still in town) and Fournier/draft picks (a bad miss, but not irreplaceable).
Why didn’t Rob Hennigan pick up the phone? Why weren’t the Orlando Magic involved in deep discussions regarding a trade?
It doesn’t matter now, as this team drifts once more towards the NBA Draft Lottery this summer.