Magic Send Tobias Harris to Bucks For Two Players
The Orlando Magic made a bold move on Tuesday afternoon, shipping versatile forward Tobias Harris to the Detroit Pistons for point guard Brandon Jennings and big man Ersan Ilyasova.
Source: Orlando trades Tobias Harris to Detroit for Brandon Jennings @ Ersan Ilyasova
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 16, 2016
The move hypothetically frees up a bigger role for second-year forward Aaron Gordon, while improving Orlando’s depth with two veteran pieces that can come off the bench and provide an offensive spark.
With the Magic on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture and looking in, this move could be enough to get them back in the playoff conversation. Harris was a key part of Orlando’s starting five with a solid 13.7 points and seven rebounds per game, but has gradually been made more expendable with the rise of both Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon.
At least hypothetically, this trade frees p Fournier to stick in the starting lineup, along with Gordon, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic. Jennings and Ilyasova, if relied on just as solid bench players, could then play within their respective roles and serve as major depth upgrades. Orlando would have a strong starting unit and when searching for an offensive spark, could go to Jennings and Ilyasova.
This is a win for the Pistons, as well. Jennings was on the trade block even before tearing his Achilles tendon last year, while Ersan Ilyasova was never the consistent starting power forward the Piston thought they were signing last year. Both players make for excellent bench additions in Orlando, but were odd fits with the Pistons during the 2015-16 season. Getting rid of two seemingly expendable pieces in their rotation allowed the Pistons to improve their starting unit, where the versatile Harris will undoubtedly find himself within the next week.
While a good depth move by the Magic, this is also a shaky move for the future, as Harris was locked up to a nice contract at a decent rate for the next three years. Then again, if giving Fournier and Gordon more playing time has the Magic quickly forgetting about Harris, it could pay off in the end.
This goes down as the first big trade of the 2016 NBA trade deadline, which hits on Thursday at 3:00 pm ET. Orlando and Detroit both gradually improve with these swap, but it’s arguably the Pistons, who rest ahead of the Magic in the playoff seeding, who took the bigger step forward for now.
Orlando is said to still be interested in making deals, already going public with big man Channing Frye being on the trading block. More trades are sure to follow in the next couple of days. Stay tuned.
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