NBA TRADE DEADLINE: ORLANDO MAGIC AFTERMATH
By. Angel Rodriguez
On Thursday, February the 9th, the NBA trade deadline happened, which meant that after 3:00 PM ET, NBA teams could only make trades at the end of the season and the beginning of the offseason. Many blockbuster trades went down in league with the fire sale of the Brooklyn Nets, who decided to trade Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks after his request to be traded, and then trading Superstar Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns, that being the end of the “Big Two” era in Brooklyn and possibly the end of success for Brooklyn in the NBA.
Although Brooklyn decided to destroy and rebuild their team, there were other teams who were very active during the trade deadline. The Los Angeles Lakers, also known as the most popular team in NBA History (maybe rivaled by the Bulls/Celtics), decided to make some trades to help LeBron James, one of the Greats of the sport and best athletes ever, to go back to the playoffs and get a shot to win the Finals.
The Los Angeles Lakers traded with the Orlando Magic to acquire ex-first-round pick Center Mo Bamba in exchange for Patrick Beverly and a 2024 2nd-round pick from Denver. The Magic lost one of their young Big Men in the young core of players to the Lakers for the 2nd round pick since Patrick Beverly agreed to a buyout with the Magic to pursue signing with another team.
So why would the Magic trade Bamba to the Lakers? That's because they already have a good player at their Center position who isn't a Center, but with his size, the Magic will hope he can reshape his game to play some Center. Until then, they will rely on veteran Wendell Carter Jr. and hope he can fill the hole until they can form a team competing for a championship. The Magic right now has a very young core of exciting players with Paolo Bancero, Franz Wagner, and others who are helping the team be exciting.
This young core is entertaining to watch; they cannot compete with other Eastern-Conference teams like the Finals favorites Celtics who won last Year's Eastern Conference Finals, Giannis Antetokounmpo's 2021 NBA final champion Buck's, and their in-state rival Miami Heat's duo of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Although they could be a fun play-in team to watch for to see Bancero, the 2022 NBA Draft's 1st Round pick, the team at this point should go for the shot to get the lowest pick possible in the draft lottery.
The Magic last year got the 1st round pick to draft Duke superstar Paolo Bancero, and in 2021, they had the 5th pick, which they used to draft Jalen Suggs. In this year's draft, the most rated prospect is French superstar Victor Wembanyama, who is currently playing overseas in France in the LNB Pro A, the French professional Basketball league. Although it would be tough for the Magic to get the #1 overall pick to draft Wembanyama, they should still be able to get a top 10 pick.
The Magic have a bright future, and they have to capitalize on that, but at the right time, they can't start winning big games and making strides in rankings until they can compete for the Finals since that should be the goal for all teams in the league. If their only hope is to be able to make the playoffs to make some more money and repeat the selling of the franchise players, if they cannot compete, then they will keep staying in the same process of rebuilding they have been since the 09 Finals when Dwight Howard's magic lost to Kobe Bryant's Lakers.
Although this trade seems to be a minor trade, as it probably will be once they draft that with that 2024 pick, it just signals that the Magic are in a stage of rebuild and should stay there until they can pair Bancero with another Superstar and it could mean that the Magic are heading towards the right direction and in the future, they will be able to build a team that will go to the Finals and finally bring a championship to Orlando.