Much like anything in life, preparation and planning lead to success, and running an NBA team is no exception.
The offseason is a critical time for organizations because they have three ways to rebuild their rosters.
These are: drafting rookies, signing free agents and making trades, all of which are available following the regular season.
We'll now investigate the course of action the Orlando Magic should take this summer to best situate themselves for future success.
With several prospects such as Tobias Harris, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O'Quinn displaying enormous potential and growth, the Magic need to continue adding young pieces and shed expensive contracts.
Additionally, several of the players previously mentioned will become free agents within several years, so the organization should clear cap space to ensure they can re-sign their up-and-coming stars.
Here are two trades Orlando can make in order to achieve these goals.
Trade 1: Orlando Sends Glen Davis to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Alonzo Gee
Trade Details (courtesy basketball.realgm.com)
Glen Davis is a talented power forward who was in the midst of a career-year before breaking his foot, but finds himself a likely trade candidate because of his contract and lack of minutes to share.
Davis would provide the Cavaliers another presence in the post, and as Cleveland currently sits below the salary cap, they would be able to make the deal work.
Gee, a solid player in his own right, would provide the Magic sorely needed depth at the small forward position as Moe Harkless is the only current small forward on Orlando's roster.
Finally, the deal would save Orlando $3.15 million for the 2013-14 season, and a non-guaranteed option of 3 million dollars could open cap space for the following season.
Trade 2: Orlando Sends Hedo Turkoglu, Andrew Nicholson, Doron Lamb, DeQuan Jones and Denver Nuggets/New York Knicks first-round pick in 2014 to the Los Angeles Clippers for Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler (after Orlando picks up Turkoglu's option and extends a qualifying offer to Jones)
Trade Details (courtesy basketball.realgm.com)
While both clubs give up valuable assets in this transaction—Nicholson for the Magic and Bledsoe for the Clippers—there are plenty of benefits for each team.
The Clippers are trying to win a championship now, and need to convince upcoming free agent Chris Paul to stick around.
Following the deal and waiving Turkoglu, Los Angeles would open up around $7.75 million extra to spend on free agents this offseason (a total slightly under $18 million).
So if the Clippers are willing to break the bank and pay the luxury tax next season, they can lure several big-name players to come to L.A. and re-sign Chris Paul using the bird rights exception (status on Paul's bird rights courtesy of hoopsworld.com).
Additionally, the team would acquire talented prospects in Nicholson and Lamb, while Jones provides a cheap contract to help fill the roster.
Obviously, the Clippers would want assurances from Paul that he would re-sign before the team considers dealing Bledsoe, but this trade significantly helps Los Angeles keep stars Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Jamal Crawford while carving out room for Paul.
From Orlando's perspective, they would receive Bledsoe, one of the most heralded young point guards in the league and eventual replacement for Jameer Nelson, as well as a superb veteran on an expiring contract (Butler).
First Pick (1-4): The Magic currently have the highest probability of winning the first overall selection in the upcoming NBA draft (courtesy of USAtoday.com) and are guaranteed a top-four pick.
Regardless of where they end up in the draft order, and if the team was able to make the previously mentioned trades, the ideal player to add is Ben McLemore.
McLemore, the top-ranked prospect on nbadraft.net's big board, is an explosive athlete with the potential to be an excellent shooter and defender in the NBA.
Drafting McLemore would provide Orlando with another potential star and likely be the team's shooting guard for the future. He also could give the Magic backcourt depth playing the sixth-man role and back up Arron Afflalo until he fully develops into a starter.
Second Pick (51): The Golden State Warriors' second-round pick—traded to the Knicks, then the Nuggets and finally to the Magic (via prosportstransactions.com)—falls late in the draft, but could provide the team much-needed depth at the power forward and center positions (assuming they make the earlier discussed transactions).
A perfect player for Orlando to select would be Mike Muscala, a senior from Bucknell.
A 6'11" big man with solid skills as a scorer, rebounder and defender, his presence coming off the bench could be vital for the Magic in the upcoming season (player profile courtesy of nbadraft.net).
With most of the holes in the roster filled, along with 13 players on the roster with this plan, the only remaining need for Orlando is depth at point guard.
And who better to take that role than recently acquired point guard Beno Udrih?
Udrih, who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, could be signed to a short-term contract at a reasonable price. To assure the Magic are above the NBA-mandated salary cap floor, and that Udrih would sign a shorter deal, the best offer to make him would be single-year agreement for $7 million to $8 million.
Should the Orlando Magic make all the moves we've covered in this article, their outlook for the upcoming season and beyond would be spectacular.
The resulting depth chart would look something like this:
Point Guard: 1. Jameer Nelson 2. Eric Bledsoe 3. Beno Udrih
Shooting Guard: 1. Arron Afflalo 2. Ben McLemore 3. E’Twaun Moore
Small Forward: 1. Moe Harkless 2. Caron Butler 3. Alonzo Gee
Power Forward: 1. Tobias Harris 2. Kyle O'Quinn 3. Al Harrington
Center: 1. Nikola Vucevic 2. Mike Muscala
With the addition of talent across the board, while maintaing future financial flexibility, this is the blueprint for a perfect offseason for the Orlando Magic.
note: article edited on May 6, 2013
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