Earlier today, the Magic decided to make a late season push for the 8th seed (3.5 games back) by trading Tobias Harris to the Detroit Pistons. This is the second time Harris has been traded while being coached under Scott Skiles. I personally still do not know why the Magic re-signed Harris this past off-season to a $64 million dollar deal over the next four years, but that is Detroit’s problem now. Also, during last season, Harris said he wanted to play along side Carmelo Anthony in New York and that he did not want to stay in Orlando.
Now, the two players the Magic picked up in this deal are playmaking and no easy layups, Brandon Jennings, along with stretch four wing like threat in Ersan Ilyasova. Remember, Jennings said in public that he does not take easy layups. Jennings is a free agent after this season and could draw some interest from Orlando to keep him as the sixth man. Ilyasova is currently locked up for next season and becomes a free agent after the 2016-2017 season. Interestingly, Ilyasova is only guaranteed $400K next season. The Magic save money by doing this deal. With the Magic acquiring the 27-year-old power forward, they can look to part ways with veteran stretch four, Channing Frye.
In addition, Jennings is still trying to find his old form from that gruesome injury he suffered back in the 2014-2015 season. Jennings has only played in 23 games and started one. Now, Jennings has posted averages this year of 6.8 points and 3 assists per game, which is a career low, but he has played in fewer games as he usually averages around 70 games a year. This will provide a spark off the Magic bench, which they need. The lack of a second point guard and scoring off the bench is checked off.
Meanwhile, Ilyasova will come off the bench along with Jennings to provide a spark offensively. He is a nice addition to add more scoring even though his defense is very shaky. The Turkish native has started all 52 games of the season and provided lots of help to the Pistons’ push to stay in the top eight of the Eastern Conference. So his season has gone a little something like this, 11.3 points, 5.4 rebounds per game, while shooting a .425% from the field and .363% from the three point line.
Finally, the Magic have opened up more minutes to Mario Hezonja, who has played well in the end of the first half of the season. Evan Fournier also will receive more opportunities to start. Now, could this trade also set up the Magic to potentially sign Kevin Durant in the off-season? Well find out!
Note: Both Jennings and Ilyasova have played under Skiles before.