OTG's NBA Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 20.5
*The Orlando Magic receive the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first round pick from Cleveland*
The Orlando Magic have been really bad for a long time, and they have basically nothing to show for it.
Two of their draft picks — Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis — are off thriving in an Indiana Pacers uniform. They shipped Tobias Harris off for nothing, and Elfrid Payton is likely nothing more than a good bench guard.
Their one jewel is Aaron Gordon, and even he is pretty crummy by jewel standards. Gordon, the fourth pick in the 2014 draft, has taken a nice step forward this year and looks to be a really good NBA player, currently only 22 years old.
So why should the Magic trade the only good player to come out of their rebuild?
First of all, Gordon enters restricted free agency at the end of this year. While restricted free agency is an advantageous position for a team to be in, it may be max or bust for Gordon. He has no reason to return to a bad situation on a team-friendly deal. If he can’t find a max offer, he may take the qualifying offer and bet on himself.
Even if the Magic decide to go in on Gordon, giving him a large, long-term contract — what’s their next step? They have a free agency decision to make about Payton as well, and their only other young player of interest is Jonathan Isaac, who’s likely to miss the rest of his rookie season due to injury.
On top of that, they won’t have any cap flexibility for years. Before long, the Magic will be making short-sighted moves to make the playoffs, or trading Gordon for pennies on the dollar. If they act now, they have a future.
Getting the Brooklyn pick means the Magic go into this draft with twop top nine picks, one of them likely being top three. Now you can stroll in to 2019 with Jonathan Isaac, Luka Doncic, and Jaren Jackson Jr. Now you’re doing something.
For the Cavs, they absolutely have to trade the Brooklyn pick to try and save this season. Aaron Gordon is the perfect choice because he helps you this year — a lot — and he’s also a young budding star you can keep long-term. Evan Fournier is a two-way player who can play in any playoff matchup. It doesn’t get you past the Golden State Warriors, but it gets you a ticket to the party.