Some of the most interesting action involving the Orlando Magic these next few weeks will occur away from the basketball court.
It will transpire during phone conversations, via email messages typed over BlackBerrys and, perhaps, in Amway Center conference rooms and offices as executives discuss and debate possible outcomes.
The NBA trade deadline looms on Feb. 21, a little more than one month from today, and the Magic will have choices to make. A wise move — if the Magic make any move at all — could accelerate the franchise's rebuilding project. A foolish one could set the team back years.
What follows is a primer on some of the considerations the Magic might make.
Magic general manager Rob Hennigan declined to comment for this article. But Hennigan has said it's the front office's responsibility to listen to potential trade offers and evaluate the proposals.
What are the Magic's goals?
The Magic are trying to build for the future.
During Hennigan's tenure, they've attempted to acquire young players with upside and to obtain draft picks. They've also tried to divest themselves of long-term salary commitments in order to give themselves salary-cap flexibility.
If he makes any move at all before Feb. 21, Hennigan likely will want to continue to add youngsters and/or draft picks and also shed salary. Young players can be developed into assets — assets who either can produce on the court or be packaged in a future deal for impact players.
Who are the Magic's most tradeable assets?
Shooting guard J.J. Redick, who will be a free agent after this season, has enhanced his trade value this season. He's averaging career highs in scoring (14.6 points per game), assists (4.5 per game), field-goal percentage (.448) and minutes (31.0). He's also improved his 3-point shooting percentage lately, increasing it to .385.
Redick can help a contending team, and he already has generated interest. Redick, who will turn 29 in June, has developed into a good player, a good teammate and a solid professional.
Redick has said he wants to stay with the Magic, but the franchise's decision-makers need to decide whether they want to sign him to a long-term deal this offseason. If they don't want to allocate long-term money to Redick, then they need to listen to offers.
Power forward Glen Davis has shown his value this season. The Magic's defense struggled when he missed 11 games due to injury. Davis could help a contending team that needs rebounding and a rugged one-on-one defensive presence. He also has played well in the playoffs before, both with the Boston Celtics and with the Magic last season. Davis is due about $6.5 million next season and in 2014-15, so his contract isn't that burdensome.
Power forward Josh McRoberts has an expiring contract that pays him about $3.1 million this season.
Of all the Magic's players, perhaps no one has improved his value more than second-year center Nik Vucevic, but the team is highly unlikely to part with him.
Memphis apparently has told teams Rudy Gay is available, so would the Magic have interest?
Almost certainly not.
Gay is a good player, for sure, but he's owed about $17.9 million next season and has a player option of almost $19.3 million for 2014-15.
It's unlikely that the Magic would want to clog up their salary cap for a player who isn't an elite-level star, especially at a time when the Magic aren't contenders.
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