While they have made the playoffs each of the last two NBA seasons, the Orlando Magic are in a tough spot as a franchise and their future is very much up-in-the-air. Could they make the playoffs this year? Possibly, but if they do, they will not advance past the first-round once again for the third straight year.
Nikola Vucevic has been playing insanely good this year and should be an All-Star for the second time in his career, but outside of him, this team has really struggled because of factors beyond their control. Jonathan Isaac is out for the year after suffering a torn ACL in the NBA Bubble during the summer, Cole Anthony is out for a few weeks with a rib fracture, Markelle Fultz is out for the year with a torn ACL and Aaron Gordon has missed a handful of weeks with a severe ankle sprain.
Not to mention, other key role players have been in and out of the lineup due to numerous injuries. As a result, Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross have been the only two steady contributors in Orlando’s lineup and have led them to an 13-18 record, which is not terrible considering what this team has gone through.
Ultimately, it seems like a long-shot for this team to make the playoffs and actually do anything this year, which is why they should start looking towards next year and beyond. Cole Anthony looks to be a great young talent, but outside of him, there are a lot of unknowns about the Magic’s young core.
There are definitely question marks surrounding the durability of Fultz, Isaac and others moving forward, which is why the Magic should look to make a move near the trade deadline. Mo Bamba has been in and out of the lineup for Orlando since being drafted in 2018 and could be a player they could get some good value for. He’s become a prime candidate to be moved in NBA trade rumors as a result.
With Vucevic in the prime of his career, there is not an immediate need to force Bamba into the lineup and with Khem Birch being a reliable backup center, the Magic could get good value now if they traded the young center. One team that could be interested in the former first-round pick are the Charlotte Hornets, who’s frontcourt is a mess.
Bamba could be a great fit in Charlotte given all of their youthful talent and with them one the verge of making the playoffs for the first time since 2016, the young center could be a key addition that helps them down the stretch. Let’s take a look at a potential trade between the Magic and the Hornets involving former first-round pick, Mo Bamba.