A recent report indicated that the Orlando Magic are actively looking to move three players, two of which could be intriguing trade options for the Utah Jazz.
Trade season is certainly upon us, particularly since a number of players formerly unavailable to be traded are now eligible to be moved, including the Chicago Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic who has been frequently tied to the Utah Jazz. Below is a nice little list for your reference:
With more players potentially on the trade block able to be moved to facilitate more deals, you can bet that the trade rumors and speculation are going to ramp up significantly. In fact, one of the first such cases that came out today is that the Orlando Magic (unsurprisingly) are looking to make some major moves. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Magic will be actively seeking to deal Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja.
Here’s the entire statement from his recent NBA Power Rankings piece detailing just that about the Magic:
It might go down as one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time: How did this Magic team start 8-4? Orlando has since gone a ghastly 4-27, which will most likely lead to a fire sale at next month’s trade deadline. Rival executives expect Jeff Weltman, Orlando’s new team president, to aggressively hunt for new homes for the likes of Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja, given that Nikola Vucevic’s broken finger is likely to preclude dealing the center.
Evan Fournier and Mario Hezonja are two trade targets I actually brought up for the Jazz in a former piece discussing guys that Utah could pursue. I actually like both of them and think they could be a nice fit with the Jazz. Evan Fournier has been an electric shooter throughout his career and could pair well with fellow Frenchman Rudy Gobert.
Meanwhile, Hezonja has been somewhat of a disappointment thus far with the Magic, but has all the tools to be a prolific shooter and therefore could look to revamp his career following a change of scenery. He’s the kind of guy that I think Utah’s development staff could work wonders with and help him reach his potential. Not to mention, look how guys like Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo have fared after leaving Orlando. Perhaps something similar could happen with Hezonja.
The biggest concern with Fournier may be that the Jazz won’t want to take on his contract which is $17 million per year through the 2020-21 season. That’s not an outrageous amount for someone of Fournier’s caliber but the Jazz may prefer not to handcuff themselves before seeing what they can get this summer with ample cap space.
I think there’s an argument to be had that making a trade to get Fournier might be better than anyone they could get in the open market, but I also understand the Jazz wanting the flexibility and preferring to see if they can sign a big fish without having to give up assets in return. To acquire Fournier, it’s likely that they’d have to trade away a valuable piece such as Rodney Hood, which might be considered too high a sacrifice.
Hezonja’s downside, aside from the fact that he may still be a bit of a project that isn’t worth the asking price, is that he’s also set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. While trading for him may give his new team a leg-up on signing him long term, if the Jazz are even remotely interested in him, they may prefer to attempt to woo him in free agency at a reasonable price rather than give away an asset for him.
The third guy that Stein mentioned, Elfrid Payton, certainly has some value and is set to hit restricted free agency, so he could be retained. However, between Donovan Mitchell and Dante Exum, I don’t know that he’s exactly the guy that the Jazz will want to throw in their backcourt mix even if they were to move someone like Rodney Hood or Ricky Rubio to get him. Payton may still have a successful career ahead in the NBA, but I very much doubt that he’s a target for the Utah Jazz.
Seeing what comes of Fournier and Hezonja, however, will be absolutely exciting. Both could be ideal fits and may fit the mold of the type of player that the Jazz look to add if they hope to make a late-season playoff push.
Whether those two, or any other players that have yet to hit our radar yet, are moved to the Utah Jazz, you can rest assured that we’ll give you all the details on it. Be sure to stay tuned to TheJNotes.com throughout trade season for all the latest news.