The Orlando Magic have traded away one of their youngsters yesterday when they sent 23-year-old forward Tobias Harris to the Detroit Pistons for point guard Brandon Jennings and power forward Ersan Ilyasova. However, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, the Magic plan on keeping the rest of their core of youngsters that includes Evan Fournier, Alex Gordon, Mario Hezonja, Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton, and Nikola Vucevic unless a deal blows them away.
But that doesn’t mean the Magic are done shuffling their roster.
Veteran forward Channing Frye’s name has been bantered around recently. Frye, a stretch-4, is drawing a bunch of interest with the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers being among the teams interested per Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical.
“Frye is enthusiastic about the chance to join the Clippers. Nevertheless, Cleveland also has been discussing a deal for Frye, and could still be aggressive in pursuing him prior to completion of a Clippers trade. The Clippers need to include Lance Stephenson’s contract into the package for Frye, and told the Magic they need until Wednesday to finish pursuing what it is a long-shot larger deal.”
Frye is an elite shooter who can defend at times though he is not a good rebounder or does not provide a paint presence. The 32-year-old is averaging 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 17.1 minutes a game while shooting 43.5 percent from the floor as well as 39.7 percent from beyond the arc. Over the Magic’s last 10 games, Frye has seen his minutes reduced to 12.1 minutes a contest and he has not played in three of those games. He has three years left on his contract.
If the Magic trade Frye to the Clippers, Wojnarowski said that Orlando will receive guard C.J. Wilcox, Lance Stephenson and a future second round draft pick. The Magic will reportedly release Stephenson if the trade is completed before the trade deadline.
Wilcox is raw but is a good athlete with some defensive potential. The 25-year-old also had the reputation as a good shooter while in Washington though he hasn’t shown that ability through 29 NBA games as he is averaging 1.8 points while shooting 38.0 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc in limited action.
Wilcox has also played 15 games for the D-League’s Canton Charge, averaging 17.9 points and 4.1 rebounds along with 2.9 assists. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard shot 44.9 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent on his three-point attempts. He tallied double-figures in 14-of-the-15 games, which included eight 20-point contests.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer says that the Cavs are interested in Frye for floor spacing, which is something Timofey Mozgov does not provide. There is no indication that Cleveland has officially made an offer for Frye, but the Cavs have three trade exceptions totaling around $14 million – with Brendan Haywood’s being the largest at over $10.5 million.
Update: The Cavs have offered veteran Anderson Varejao for Frye.
Orlando (23-29) is 4-and-a-half games out of the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference. The Magic have lost 7-of-10 and are 4-16 in their last 20. Orlando closes out February with four-of-its-six games at homes, where the Magic are 14-13 at home.
Gordon will likely start at power forward with Ilyasova coming off the bench though the 28-year could work his way into the starting-five before the season is over. Gordon has increased his numbers across the board from his rookie campaign, averaging 7.7 points and 6.1 rebounds while shooting 46.5 percent from the floor in 21.8 minutes of action. The 20-year old high-flyer has been better as a starter, producing 9.7 points and 10.0 rebounds in 11 starts.
The Magic appear to be focusing on the future, which is why they dealt the dynamic Harris to Detroit. Jennings is in the final year of his contract and Ilyasova has a team option for next year at $8.4 million. Reserve center Jason smith will also be an unrestricted free agent next season and Dewayne Dedmon, Fournier and Andrew Nicholson will be restricted free agents.
[photo by John Bazemore/Associated Press]