If the Orlando Magic want to make a late push for a chance at a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, they will have to do something by the NBA trade deadline on March 25th.
Right now, Orlando is being carried by Nikola Vucevic virtually by himself. The All-Star is putting up gaudy numbers, having arguably the best season of his career, but is getting little help. He leads the team in scoring, rebounding, averaging 25 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, also chipping in 3.7 assists and 1.0 steals.
Orlando has been contemplating moving on from Aaron Gordon before the deadline. If that occurs, expect the Magic to try and acquire a point guard in return. Markelle Fultz is out for the season after tearing his ACL and rookie point guard Cole Anthony has been sidelined with a rib injury and remains without a clear timetable to return.
According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, the team has their eyes set on two point guards ahead of the NBA trade deadline; Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics.
“The Magic have been looking for point guard help, kicking the tires on Ricky Rubio recently. Celtics guard Kemba Walker remains a favorite of Magic coach Steve Clifford, but it’s unlikely Boston, without much depth behind Walker, will part with him at this point.”
Both players would help shore up a backcourt that sorely needs it. Ricky Rubio is a steady playmaker that would help the team on the defensive end as well. While sometimes lacking defensively, Walker would give the Magic some much-needed offensive punch as someone who can create their own shot.
Interestingly, the Timberwolves are one of the teams that have been aggressively pursuing Aaron Gordon in trade. They were deep into discussions before Gordon’s recent injury and could start talks back up with him nearing a return to the court.
The Celtics have also been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Gordon, but with the trade exception they have from the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade with the Charlotte Hornets, they would unlikely include Kemba Walker, as Mannix pointed out.
It would be a surprise to see the Magic buy at the NBA trade deadline instead of sell, but you can’t blame them for attempting to maximize the prime years they have left with Nikola Vucevic.