The proverbial dust has settled following Thursday’s 2011 NBA Draft and Orlando Magic fans may not like what they see, which is a Magic roster that looks more or less the same as it did on Wednesday.
Sure the Magic made a nice move to acquire Richmond forward Justin Harper from the Cleveland Cavaliers and got good value by selecting Kentucky guard DeAndre Liggins with the 53rd overall pick.
Harper has the potential to crack the Magic’s rotation this season and Liggins is valuable because he’s an athletic, defensive-minded wing player and Orlando sorely needs someone like that.
However, neither rookie really is expected to make a significant impact for the Magic and in light of the various trade rumors going around before the draft, it seems highly unlikely that Orlando is satisfied with the roster that is currently constructed.
Magic General Manager Otis Smith said after the draft that he was looking to “tweak” the roster, not to make wholesale changes.
“We look at any ways to make our team better, that goes without saying,” Smith said. “But this team doesn’t need to be imploded. It needs to be tweaked. It needs guys to have better years. Chemistry needs to be built. We need a training camp. There’s a lot of things that we need.”
Yeah the team does need time to gel, no argument there, but is Smith truly happy with the team that is assembled right now? There were an awful lot of rumors floating around to believe that Smith is content.
And we definitely know that Dwight Howard isn’t pleased with the cast of characters that are slated to join him next year.
It’s fairly safe to assume that the Magic won’t remain stagnant for the rest of the offseason, but what moves are next for Orlando?
Draft night might be over and thus the rumors that accompany the annual event are dead too, but that doesn’t mean the Magic still won’t be looking to make a move. The odds that they bring on someone big like Atlanta’s Josh Smith seem lower now than before Thursday.
To be honest, nothing significant will probably happen because the Magic’s trade assets are just not that attractive.
The best bet to add a star player alongside Dwight is that a team looking for a shooting guard would be willing to do a sign-and-trade for Jason Richardson (ahem, the Chicago Bulls.) Other than that it seems unlikely the team will make a big move, although it will still be entertaining to listen to the various trade rumors that appear before the NBA lockout.
The Magic have two trade exceptions available to them: Marcin Gortat’s $6.3 million exception and Rashard Lewis’ $1.8 million exception.
Basically those can be used to trade for a player of near equal value (explanation here) and Orlando can utilize them to add a decent player from a team looking to cut salary.
Forwards like Paul Millsap of Utah and Trevor Ariza of New Orleans are viable options.
The downside with using Gortat’s trade exception is that the NBA could set a hard cap next season and the Magic would be even further over the cap if they take on another contract.
Who knows what free agency will look like when the new collective bargaining agreement is put in place. If there is a mid-level exception like there is now then the Magic can use it (roughly $5 million) to add a starting-caliber player like Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince.
But like the trade exception, bringing in extra money may not be a viable option under the new CBA.
Sorry Magic fans but it looks like you’ll have to take a ‘wait and see’ approach because so much is pending on what happens with the expected NBA louckout.