The Orlando Magic decided to go full rebuild last season, trading some of their more prominent players, such as Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, and Evan Fournier at the trade deadline.
These moves had many around the NBA scratching their heads. However, this needed to be done in order to put the team in position to potentially get to the next level.
Orlando Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman made the bold moves but he was comfortable in his decision despite scrutiny.
Weltman spoke about how he felt about these plans for a longer-term rebuild.
“We do need to develop these young guys,” Weltman said Saturday. “We definitely want to move them forward. We want our team grow and develop. The sooner the better. That said, we’re not going to sacrifice the bright future that’s in front of us for a sugar high, which I kind of felt like we had been doing previously. I think what we’re looking for is someone who can develop young player, put them in positions to succeed and moving us toward winning as quickly as possible.”
The players the Magic received at the trade deadline are part of Orlando’s new “Youth Movement”.
These players include Forward/Center Wendell Carter, who is 22 years old. R.J. Hampton who is 20 years old. Also, received 27 year old Guard, Gary Harris from Denver. They combined this with some young guys who were already on the roster such as Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Issac, Chima Okeke, and Mo Bamba.
One great thing that Weltman made sure to do is to receive excellent draft assets from the teams he traded with. These picks ended up turning into the No. 5 and No. 8 overall picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. With those picks the Magic selected Jalen Suggs out of Gonzaga University and Franz Wagner out of the University of Michigan, respectively.
The Orlando Magic know that ultimate success may not happen overnight for this group. However, this roster is loaded with a lot of young talent. They look to continue to mesh and hope to really surprise some people this season.
The Magic will continue their preseason schedule tonight (10/10/21) in Orlando’s Amway Center. Tip-off is at 6 pm ET.