For the first time since the 2005-06 season, the Orlando Magic were watching the 2013 NBA playoffs from home instead of contending for an NBA title.
The trading of Dwight Howard signaled a fresh start for the Magic this season, but it’s safe to say we’re still waiting for that new slate to pay dividends in Orlando. The Magic finished the 2013 campaign with the worst record in the NBA. 20-62, scoring just 94 points per game while allowing opponents to average more than 101 per contest.
Orlando still has a ton of work to do before it’s even close to contending for a top-eight seed in the Eastern Conference, but they’re certainly moving in the right direction after making these moves this season.
Let’s take a look at the moves that should help the Magic in the future.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 (via NBA.com)
Orlando Traded: Ryan Anderson
Orlando Received: Gustavo Ayon
Not only was this the worst trade of the season for the Magic but it’s the worst NBA trade I’ve seen in recent memory.
The Magic traded Anderson, a big man who can knock down 3s and averaged 16.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in 2012, in favor of Gustavo Ayon, a 6’10″ non-shooting power forward who averages 4.8 points per game for his career.
I’m not really sure what the thought was behind this move or what Orlando saw in Ayon to make it deal one of its best players in Anderson, but the fact that the Magic traded Ayon seven months later proves my point that this was a terrible trade.
Friday, Aug. 10, 2012 (via NBA.com)
Orlando Received: Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga, 2017 first-round draft pick, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, undisclosed first-round draft pick, Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington and 2014 first-round draft pick.
Clearing their roster of guys like Dwight Howard and Jason Richardson signaled that the Magic were looking to rebuild for the future. Not only did they receive three first-round picks in the trade, but the Magic received solid players in Aaron Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic and Mo Harkless in the deal.
In all honesty, this move was about the Orlando franchise ridding itself of Howard and his antics, as well as freeing up cap space by moving Duhon, Clark and Richardson.
Orlando knew it wasn’t going anywhere with the roster it had, and with the growing hastiness between Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard, it only made sense to send the franchise in a different direction.
With a slew of first-round picks in the coming years, Orlando gave itself a better chance to put together a contending team by dealing Howard.
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 (via NBA.com)
Beno Udrih and Tobias Harris showed promise as soon as they were sent to the Magic from the Milwaukee Bucks, but I thought losing J.J. Redick was huge for Orlando. Redick had finally established himself as a leader of the team and was knocking down shot after shot for the Magic.
Ultimately, I think the additions of Udrih, Harris, and even Doron Lamb further down the road will be more important aspects to the team than J.J. Redick could have brought. Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith hadn’t done anything for Orlando all season, and for the Magic to get in return three players who have decent futures in the league, it’s certainly a win for me.
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Topics: Aaron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Beno Udrih, Chris Duhon, Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Gustavo Ayon, J.j. Redick, Jason Richardson, Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic, Ryan Anderson, Tobias Harris