With the Orlando Magic in rebuilding mode and the trade deadline approaching, anything can happen with this team. Being what some would call a bottom feeder allows for the team to be mentioned in all kinds of different trade scenarios, from the thought provoking to the downright outrageous. Arron Afflalo, who we must mention for the hundredth time is having a career year, has been at the center of many a trade rumor and in some ways it makes sense to part with the guard. There is also a strong case to hold onto the player though, one which will only be seen down the road when the Magic are relevant once again.
Afflalo has a lot of things going for him that make him desirable for a number of teams in the league. As a leader on this young Magic team, he can score quite easily, distribute the ball well and also get involved where rebounds are concerned. More than that, he is a complete professional who has never once expressed his dismay in landing on a Magic team that was also going to lose a lot more than it won, angling itself for a prime pick in the upcoming NBA draft. He is in a sense the complete package and while this is important to Orlando, he could arguably do an even better job on a contending team. If, for arguments sake, he played for the Clippers, a destination he will never land, he would be the best third, or even fourth, option for a team in the league. He is that missing piece kind of player, somebody who gets a team over the top and into true championship contention and for that reason it makes sense that relevant teams would want to acquire him. It also makes sense for Orlando, because they would get in return a combination of veteran players, expiring contracts or yet more draft picks, the main currency for rebuilding teams. But hold up … at what point does the rebuilding stop and the push for the playoffs begin?
The Magic will more than likely get offers for Afflalo and they would have to look at them all seriously. As the go-to guy on a team, they can never hope to be true contenders. As mentioned, if he became a solid third option, that team in question would have a real shot at competing. But if the Magic could hold onto him, he certainly would be a large piece in the rebuild going on in Florida. Should Victor Oladipo come good and morph into even a second option for a team, which early indications suggest that he will, putting Afflalo next to the rookie leaves a solid foundation for this franchise. The pick that Orlando use in this summer’s draft could turn into a franchise changer along the lines of Anthony Davis or Damian Lillard going forward. Add that to Afflalo and Oladipo, and eventual All-Star Nikola Vucevic, and you have a playoff team, no question. Trade Afflalo, however, and you send a message both to the team and the fans that the organisation has no problem toiling away at the bottom of the standings for a considerable amount of time. In some ways this is an enviable position to be in, and shows the flexibility the Magic have going forward.
While trading away Arron Afflalo before the trade deadline seemed a certainty early on this season, it has now become much more complicated than that. Rebuilding a team is all well and good, but there comes a time when the front office must believe that the players they have are good enough to take them forward. If the Magic are serious about making the playoffs again anytime soon, Afflalo must surely be a part of those plans. Yet trading him away is an intriguing prospect, especially as his stock has probably never been higher. So why not cash in now on a player who could work wonders on a contending team, and who could give the team yet more experience or prospects back in return? Whatever happens Afflalo will play a massive role in the future of the Orlando Magic, whether he is on the court for them or not.