The coming new year means an unwelcome reality for several Magic players. The trade market and rumor mill will certainly pick up with the February trade deadline coming up quickly. And the Magic continue to plummet down the standings sitting now at a disappointing and frustrating 8-20, someone is going to come calling for the team's veterans who are able to contribute.
The unfortunate reality this Christmas is that Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis do not really know how long they will remain on the Magic. It could be two more months. It could be six more months. It could be another year.
That is the reality of the NBA.
Magic fans, thinking about the long term, have long begun running through the possible trade scenarios and wondering exactly what the Magic could get in return for these veterans. The proposals I have received through Twitter conversations range from the realistic to the somewhat insane -- yes, I know people who think Afflalo is sure to fetch a first round pick THIS YEAR.
My clear answer to whether the Magic would make these deals is simple: if it makes sense for the Magic and will help them in the long run, they will do the deal. As Rob Hennigan proved with his dealings with J.J. Redick last season, the Magic will not make a deal just to make a deal. It has to have a purpose.
At least, that is the sense I get.
When it comes to actual reporting, now is not the time for trades. That will pick up more the closer the calendar gets to February. There are a few status updates leaking out into the rumor mill.
The first involves Arron Afflalo.
If any player on the Magic has the most value, it is Afflalo. He is currently 10th in the league in scoring wtih 21.9 points per game, ahead of luminaries like Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and Dirk Nowitzki. Afflalo has shown himself to be a much more efficient scorer but probably still a better option as a second or third guy on a Playoff team.
Of course, the right offer is what matters most for the Magic in making any deal. And right now, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports the Magic are listening but not willing to take up on any offers for Afflalo:
NBA teams keep inquiring about whether guard Arron Afflalo is available for trade. Orlando keeps saying no, a source said.
It appears the Magic are not quite ready to part with Afflalo or get into serious discussions about him. Really, it does not seem the Magic are quite prepared to get into serious discussions involving any player.
Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld reported Monday the Magic are "value shoppers" right now. But Afflalo appears to remain a bit of a non-starter:
League sources characterize the Magic as ‘value shoppers’ in the current trade market. They have a couple of players that they would entertain moving, namely guard Jameer Nelson and forward Glen Davis but do not seem overly engaged on trying to craft a deal for either one and are turning away calls and offers on guard Arron Afflalo.
The Magic appear to be in a position to make a trade only if it makes sense to them. If the value they are getting in a deal is not good, they will hold onto their assets. Remember Arron Afflalo has two years remaining on his contract for about $15.7 million, Jameer Nelson has only one year remaining with only $2 million guaranteed and Glen Davis still has one more year left at $6 million.
It appears with these contract numbers, the Magic might have a better chance at making these deals closer to the Draft. But if the right deal comes along, the Magic will jump.
That means the future for several Magic players are very uncertain. All they can do is duck their heads and keep playing.