TRADE #1: The Magic Trick
Oct 28, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans (1) drives past Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris (12) during the second quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Magic Receive: Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Pelican’s 2015 2nd rounder
Why the Pelicans do it:
Ryan Anderson is great, but he’s a luxury. He plays the same position as our star player, and he’s good enough to be a legitimate starter in this league.
The execution of this trade would include the Magic giving Tobias Harris a max-contract, and then coupling him with Channing Frye to match the salaries.
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This trade would also be perfect for the Pelicans. Harris averages 17/7 per 36 minutes and can play both forward positions. Odds are he would start for the Pelicans at the three, and then slide down to the four when the Pelicans decide to go small.
He’s not quite the specialty three-point threat Anderson is, but he’s a solid average shooter from everywhere on the floor and offers more versatility.
Channing Frye and his 7+ million dollar contract would need to be included as well. The contract isn’t atrocious but Frye is at least slightly overpaid and is on the wrong side of 30. He isn’t nearly as good as Anderson as a stretch-four, but he would at least be able to fill 70% of the role Anderson had, which is more than enough if it means you get to add Tobias Harris to the roster.
Also a fun fact: Frye and Harris are cousins.
Why the Magic do it:
In this scenario the Magic decide they aren’t necessarily sold on giving Tobias Harris the max. Much like the Rockets with Chandler Parsons, and the Bucks with Brandon Knight, they might decide they don’t want to allocate so many resources to him.
The Magic have an impressive collection of players still on rookie contracts and they will need to eventually delegate between which ones are worth the commitment. If they decide they are lukewarm on Harris, they might decide to see if there’s interest in him around the league.
Ryan Anderson is perfect for this Magic roster. Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic are all great young players, but outside of Oladipo none of them are even average three-point shooters.
Adding a stretch-four to their roster will allow Payton and Oladipo to penetrate much easier, and make up for Gordon’s lack of spacing. They aimed to find this solution in Channing Frye, but he isn’t good enough to play starter minutes and is too old to grow with the team.
The Magic aren’t against paying 8 million a year for a stretch-four, they just want a better one than Channing Frye. Ryan Anderson is a perfect fit.
In order to get out of Frye’s contract, spare Harris a max, and acquire Ryan Anderson they will need to absorb Eric Gordon’s contract. This isn’t a hard pill to swallow though, Gordon is a free agent at the end of this season so it won’t hinder their long-term flexibility at all.
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