The Magic lost by a single point in Atlanta on Monday night, but prior to that game, Orlando had reeled off six straight wins, with many of them coming against tough opponents. The Magic won home games against the Clippers, Hawks, and Raptors (twice), then capped off the streak with a pair of victories in Boston.
Orlando is still just 11-21 on the season, but the team seems to be taking the sort of positive step forward that management wanted to see in 2022/23, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
“They have two of the premier positions in the league — play-making forwards — on rookie scale contracts, intriguing young talent around them on solid contracts, no bad money moving forward, and some veterans who could get them back even more draft capital should they choose to trade them,” an Eastern Conference team strategist told Fischer.
While the Magic haven’t been big spenders in free agency during their rebuilding process, league figures familiar with the club’s thinking tell Fischer that ownership will be prepared to open its check book when the time comes to invest in complementary pieces around those two young forwards, Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero.
Here’s more on the Magic:
- Among potential Orlando trade chips this season, Mohamed Bamba may have the most value, according to Fischer, who says league sources believe the Magic will likely be seeking a first-round pick for Bamba and would settle for a protected or late first-rounder. Fischer notes that the Magic pursued Isaiah Hartenstein in free agency this past summer, which is perhaps an indication that Bamba was a fallback option and isn’t in the team’s long-term plans.
- Although it’s unclear which teams might have interest in Bamba specifically, front office personnel expect teams like the Clippers, Lakers, Raptors, Kings, and Nets to explore the trade market for big men, Fischer writes.
- Veteran wings Terrence Ross and R.J. Hampton, both in contract years, are also considered potential trade candidates, as is Gary Harris, who has a non-guaranteed salary for 2023/24. However, their appeal will probably be limited, given their modest production relative to their respective cap hits. Ross has previously drawn interest from the Lakers and Knicks, and the Magic have sought a first-round pick for him in the past, but it’s hard to envision them getting more than a second-rounder if they move him, says Fischer.
- League personnel think there may be a “sizable gap” between Cole Anthony‘s asking price and what the Magic are willing to offer when the third-year guard becomes eligible for a rookie scale extension next offseason, per Fischer.