The Orlando Magic wrapped up the 2013-14 NBA season with a 23-59 record, and finished dead last in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. Safe to say the Orlando Magic are a rebuilding team, but they’re one with a talented roster as it is. With young, talented players such as Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, and Nikola Vucevic, the future looks very nice for the Magic.
But could it be brighter by trading away one of their best players?
That player would be 28-year old shooting guard Arron Afflalo. He was one of, if not the best, players on the Magic squad this past season. In 35 minutes per games, the former UCLA Bruin averaged 18.2 points, 3.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and a 16.09 PER. One of the most talented scoring guards in the league, Afflalo would be an attractive piece for many teams in the league.
There’s no doubting what Afflalo can bring to a team, so why is he the subject of trade talks? For one thing, he’s 28. While he’s not an aging veteran, the Magic are a young team, and by the time the Magic are contending, Afflalo might not be the scorer he is now.
Aside from the age factor, the Magic already have a few talented, and younger, players at the shooting guard position. Rookie guard Victor Oladipo burst onto the scene in 2013-14, throwing down 13.8 points, 4.1 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game. Oladipo already has “star” written all over him, and it wont be long until he’s performing at a higher level than Afflalo.
At first, the Magic may miss Afflalo’s elite scoring, and the athleticism. But with players like the aforementioned Oladipo, and the young Tobias Harris, who after being traded to Orlando in 2012-13, averaged 17.3 points per game over a 27-game stretch. He’s shown to have the ability to be a leading scorer, and at the young age of 21, this may just be the beginning for Harris.
So it’s been made clear that the Magic could get by in the future without Arron, but where would he be landing? At the 2013-14 NBA trade deadline, it was rumored that the Charlotte Bobcats had interest in swinging a deal with the Magic for Afflalo. Charlotte, eighth in the Eastern Conference at the time, was looking to bring in a scorer that could raise their offense, ranked eighth-worst in the league.
Charlotte and Magic obviously never worked out a deal, but they might still be interested in bringing in Afflalo this offseason. They’re second-to-last in scoring so far in the playoffs, at 92.5 points per game. Bringing in someone of Afflalo’s caliber could do wonders for that offense.
Looking at Orlando’s roster, power forward is one of their main needs. Andrew Nicholson, someone who could have taken huge steps in his second season, only averaged 5.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. He’s still young, but adding a more capable power forward might not be the worst idea.
That’s where Cody Zeller, Charlotte’s rookie power forward, comes in. In 17.3 minutes per game, the former Indiana Hoosier averaged 6.0 points per game, along with 4.3 rebounds. At 21, Zeller might already be a better option for Orlando compared to Nicholson, with a higher ceiling as well.
Zeller, however, may not be enough to grab a player who can score more than 18 points per game in the NBA. Adding Bismack Biyombo to the trade gives Orlando a young rim protector. His stats may not jump off the page at you (2.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game) but he only averaged 13.9 minutes per game. If Biyombo was given more minutes, he could potentially be a double-digit rebounder, and a top shot-blocking player in the league.
Orlando has a solid stock of guards and forwards, so adding two young, talented big men would give Orlando both depth and a balanced roster. From a Charlotte point of view, pairing Afflalo and Kemba Walker on the perimeter, with Al Jefferson in the paint could make Charlotte much better than just an eighth seed.
The Magic have the liberty of having other options behind Afflalo, and while moving him may hurt the team in the present, but it could make their future brighter than it already is.