• Nikola Cuvalo

OTG Trade Marathon: Day 12


ORL receives: Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr.

DAL receives: N. Vucevic, T. Ross.

The Magic are rumored to be interested in acquiring Dallas Mavericks sophomore guard Dennis Smith Jr, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Quite frankly, any team with a need in their backcourt should at least be entertaining the idea of trading for DSJ, and the Magic are certainly in need of a young building block at the point guard position. As presently constructed, the Magic boast perhaps the worst point guard depth in the league, relying on a cobbled-together point rotation consisting of DJ Augustin, Jerian Grant, and Isaiah Briscoe.

Enter this trade. The Magic turn two soon-to-be unrestricted free agents (that they are unlikely to re-sign because their ages do not match their competitive timeline) into DSJ and an expiring contract in Wesley Matthews. The Magic are not winning anything anytime soon. This trade expedites their rebuilding process by giving them a blue-chip guard prospect to command their forward-heavy stable of young talent, while positioning them well for a fall down the East standings, into a lottery position that would secure them a more favorable first-round pick in the top-heavy 2019 draft.

The Mavericks, meanwhile, acquire a center that they might actually want to pay moving forward in Vucevic (as DeAndre Jordan is also an unrestricted free agent this summer, and has underwhelmed in his short, massively overpaid stint in Dallas). If they choose not to re-sign Vucevic and/or Ross, they have easy access to a max-salary (and more)

slot to convince a star to come to town and play with Doncic, dousing their rebuild in championship-scented accelerant. Finally, with the Mavericks aggressively playing for playoff position in a loaded Western Conference, Ross and Vucevic would go a long way towards locking up the 7th or 8th seed.

Of course, picks may be added in to sweeten the deal from either side. The framework is intriguing enough for both the Mavericks and Magic to seriously consider various permutations of this deal.

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