As one of the most visible franchises in the NBA, the Orlando Magic are known these days for their stylish pinstripe uniforms as they are for success. Indeed, playoff participation, nevermind success, is a thing of the past for the franchise. So much so that, with a poor record so far this season, the team decided to blow-up the roster and start all over again. This has seen crucial first-team players move on from the squad, with the headline departures including Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier.
All three players were seen as some of the most impressive on the Magic roster, but most have been with the team for some time and seen little, if any, meaningful success. As such, the decision to detonate the roster and start again was taken – Vucevic was traded to the Chicago Bulls, and was a clear signal that the Magic were facing a roster reset.
Long-term prospect and former No. 4 pick in the NBA Draft Aaron Gordon was also traded. Though expected to arrive as a Celtic via the Boston Celtics, Gordon won’t be wearing Kelly green. Instead, he’ll be heading to Denver to assist Nikola Jokic and Jamaal Murray ensure that contention windows stay open for as long as they can in Colorado.
Fournier, who has an expiring contract, made a move to Boston instead for a mixture deal that would see second-round picks, Jeff Teague (who was waived), and other assets traded along the way. All three players were seen as regular contributors on a Magic team who have now admitted the current roster needs a complete reset from top to bottom.
Armed with enough draft capital to fill slots in the near future, the Magic look set to begin a rebuild.
Why did the Orlando Magic make this call?
There are various reasons to consider this, but part of it stems from frustration. All three players who left had been known to make it clear they were unhappy with results and performances. With Gordon in particular making it clear that an exit would be beneficial, the exit for Vucevic was seen as by far and away the biggest shock.
This will see the Magic having to rebuild from scratch whilst empowering several other teams around them. They also missed out on taking too much back in return, instead ensuring they have cap space and draft picks to use in the years to come.
As a franchise that is seen as respectable and storied, the current rebuild comes after a few years of total dissatisfaction. The removal of Vucevic was seen as a catalyst from change, with the All-Star traded at the deadline – in return, the arrival of Otto Porter, Wendell Carter Jr. and two first-round picks was seen as a major deal.
With a rebuild now set to begin in earnest, this should come as little surprise to Magic fans who watched this current roster fail to build any consistency.