The "Dwightmare" is over, but the long rebuilding process for the Magic's new management team has just begun. After getting out to a hot start to the season, Orlando has plummeted back to Earth and is currently in second-to-last place in the East with a 15-37 record.
As a result, speculation around J.J. Redick has reached a fever pitch in the days leading up to the trade deadline.
The Redick Situation
On the surface, moving Redick appears to be a no-brainer. New GM Rob Hennigan was a disciple of Sam Presti, who turned the Thunder into a small-market title contender by strip-mining his roster and making top 5 picks for three consecutive seasons. The 28-year-old Redick is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and he will be entering the decline phase of his career by the time the Magic expect to contend again.
At the same, Redick is a popular player both within the Orlando community as well as the locker room. If they re-signed him, his professionalism could be valuable in a locker room that will have more than its share of raw young players. The question is whether Redick would be willing to commit to a rebuilding effort, so if the Magic hold onto him at the trade deadline, they could be letting one of their most valuable assets leave for nothing at the end of the season.
One possible deal reported by CBS Sports' Ken Berger involves sending Redick to the Bucks for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, an intriguing defensive prospect on an affordable contract, and a future first-round pick. Milwaukee would need to find a home for Monta Ellis for that deal to happen, but it's hard to imagine Orlando couldn't find a similar package from another playoff contender in the next few days.
Does Anyone Else Have Trade Value?
Nikola Vucevic, Andrew Nicholson and Maurice Harkless are intriguing young talents, but the rest of their roster is presumably movable as they continue their rebuilding effort. The question becomes whether anyone besides Redick could fetch much on the open market.
Hedo Turkoglu, who has a player option for $12 million next season, was toxic even before his recent suspension for PED use.
Glen Davis has been a pleasant surprise in Orlando, but a broken foot may keep him out for the rest of the season. Al Harrington hasn't played all season while recovering from a staph infection in his knee and is owed $15 million over the next two seasons.
Jameer Nelson would still be able to help a playoff team, but he's on the wrong side of 30 and is owed $8.6 million next season, so there may not be too much interest in him.
That leaves Arron Afflalo, one of the key pieces the Magic acquired in the Dwight Howard deal. While his name hasn't appeared in many trade rumors, he's a starting-caliber SG on a reasonable contract who provides value on both ends of the floor.
For Orlando, everything revolves around the draft, so if they could find teams willing to move a first-round pick for any of their veterans, they would have to think long and hard about pulling the trigger, even if it sends them all the way to the bottom of the NBA. Of course, for Hennigan, ensuring such sustained losing might be one of the biggest reasons to make a deal over the next few days.