The Orlando Magic does not return to action until Friday when they face the Dallas Mavericks at Amway Center. They entered the all-star break at 23-29, good for 11th place in the Eastern Conference. Orlando is three and one-half games behind the Charlotte Hornets for the eighth and final playoff spot.
On Tuesday, management made a move to try and help the team get over the hump. The Magic sent small forward Tobias Harris to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for point guard Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova.
Will this deal help the Magic? In the short term, it just might if they can stay out of the trainer’s room.
Jennings, is only a career 39-percent shooter. He is below that at 37 percent this year, but is coming back from an Achilles tendon injury that kept him out for 11 months.
Jennings has averaged only 18 minutes per game in the 23 he has played. However, he has shot better than 42 percent over the last five games heading into the break. Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton have both shot about the same percentage while alternating at the position.
Ilyasova has avoided injuries and was averaging 11.3 points for Detroit, which would be a career high. He is expected to move into the starting lineup. Harris was averaging 13.7 points and seven rebounds per game.
Magic Coach Scott Skiles has coached both players before in Milwaukee, so they already know what to expect once they get to Orlando. That makes for a short learning curve on the ways and expectations of Skiles.
“I think we’re right in striking distance for a playoff spot,” said Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan. “We see Brandon and Ersan as really good fits.”
The Orlando roster could look different again tomorrow. Rumors swirl that the Magic are trying to send Channing Frye to the Los Angeles Clippers for guard Lance Stephenson.
If that occurs, Stephenson would be released as a salary cap move. The NBA trading deadline expires Thursday night.