Assuming Dwight Howard doesn’t come out and say he wants to be traded while I am writing this, the Orlando Magic will need to figure out how to round out their roster to be competitive to a point where Dwight will want to stay after this year. Easier said than done.
I don’t buy into anyone’s scenario that thinks the Magic can trade for Chris Paul. I fully agree with the concept of going all or nothing, I just don’t buy the Hornets interest in the offer. And Deron Williams isn’t coming here either. The Nets are in full, “we will do whatever we need to this year to convince you to stay mode.” Remember, they dealt for Williams and gave up some nice pieces to do it.
So that leaves the Magic with trade possibilities, which are too numerous to list, but I am sure they’ve thought about quite a few of them. Anyone on the roster is available. The only future in Orlando that matter is this season. If Dwight leaves, it won’t matter if a few buildings are left standing because the city will be leveled. So anything could go, bringing in bad contracts is an option that has to be on the table.
The part I can address is who can the Magic get in free agency that can help them this season. Well, let’s look at the roster:
PG: Nelson, Duhon
SG: Arenas, Redick
SF: Turkoglu, Q-Rich
PF: Bass, Anderson
C: Howard, Orton
If Gilbert Arenas is cut with the new amnesty clause, as is expected, that leaves a whole at the off-guard spot. I think this team needs a scorer, a slasher in the back court. The Magic could also use another big guy, preferably a back-up center. Back-up PG may also be a need based on Chris Duhon’s play last year.
FREE AGENT TARGETS (Mid-level):
1) Marcus Thornton, SG- A restricted free agent for the Kings, but could be iffy on them bringing him back after they selected Jimmer Fredette in the draft and traded for John Salmons. They have money to spend and match, but I’d test them. He’s a pure scorer, and has done major damage when given the chance in New Orleans and Sacramento. Even if Dwight leaves, having this 23-year old at a full mid-level exception as your starting shooting guard isn’t a bad thing for the future.
2) Nick Young, SG- A restricted free agent for the Wizards, who will have the money to keep him and would likely match a mid-level. He’s definitely worth looking into though as a 25-year old who finally started figuring it out last year averaging over 17 ppg.
3) Rodney Stuckey, G- A restricted free agent for the Pistons, who drafted PG Brandon Knight, and already have a crowded back court. He’s your classic combo guard, and ironically was selected by Detroit with the Magic’s pick they gave up for Darko. Ouch. He does not have 3pt range, but gets to the basket as well as anyone in the league and he’s only 25 years old.
4) Aaron Afflalo, SG- The unrestricted free agent is someone that a lot of teams will covet because of his solid defense and efficient offensive game. He actually would be a Stan Van Gundy favorite, but he isn’t the one-on-one player and scorer I think the Magic need.
5) Jamal Crawford, SG- He’s an unrestricted free agent, but is out of the Magic’s price range, unless he’d take a pay cut to a mid-level.
6) Brandon Roy, G- He’s currently under contract, but could be cut. I know his knees are shot, but wouldn’t you have to at least think about rolling the dice on an all-star player?
FREE AGENT TARGETS (veteran’s minimum)
1) Kyrylo Fesenko, C- The seldom used Jazz is only 25 and comes in at 7’1″, 280.
2) Jeff Foster, C- Been there, done that at 34 years old, but always plays hard and rebounds when given the time.
3) Nenad Krstic, C- Has some offensive skills, but not much going on at the defensive end.
4) Joel Przybilla, C- Would be a terrific back-up in the middle, but has had injury issues.
5) Ronnie Price, PG- Unrestricted free agent who is much better athlete than Duhon, and still plays defense.
6) Sebastian Telfair, PG- Unrestricted free agent running out of years, but pretty quick player who distributes the ball, but struggled with his outside shot.
7) Sasha Vujacic, G- Combo guard who can be had on the cheap. Plays defense and can make outside shots.