Should the Orlando Magic management get the benefit of the doubt?

Looking at the recent trade that sent Serge Ibaka to the Magic for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and rookie Domantas Sabonis, it seemed like a move that was made randomly rather than for improvement.

Orlando has had an interesting off-season so far, starting with former coach Scott Skiles departing the team because he wasn’t happy. The void left by Skiles sent the team in a scramble, but they eventually settled in and hired new head coach Frank Vogel.

The Magic traded one of their best players in Oladipo in a puzzling move, that has fans wondering what the direction of the franchise is.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle
Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle

Ibaka is coming up on a contract year, and he will be unrestricted next summer, with no indication that he will re-sign with Orlando.

Here are more key points to consider when looking at what exactly the Magic are doing.


  • Ilyasova was in from one trade and out the other, so that cancels out.
    They may not even keep Jennings (which is fine).



  • With virtually no rim protectors available in next year's free agent market (when Ibaka is a UFA), Serge will come at a premium and ORL could very easily lose him for nothing.



  • A year from now they not have either Jennings or Ibaka meaning they gave up Tobias Harris + Victor Oladipo + 11th pick for literally nothing.



  • Even if they keep Ibaka, he's turning 27 this year (could be older as some people report) and doesn't match the age of the younger supporting case IMO. By the time those younger guys are really hitting their stride and are perhaps ready to compete, Ibaka will likely be on the wrong side of 30. It's a win-now move that doesn't help them win-now (in terms of competing).


General Manager Rob Hennigan lauded Ibaka and his experience on a winning team, but stopped short of explaining exactly what role he will play, and if he was acquired to lead or just fit in.

Serge is a young veteran who brings tremendous athleticism and toughness to our front-court. Rob Hennigan said. “His tireless work ethic and wealth of playoff experience will help enhance our culture and roster. We thank Victor for all of his contributions both on the court and in the community. We wish him and Ersan the best of luck in the future.

The Magic have made enough questionable moves until now, that fans are starting to question whether they are really trying to win and the way they plan on getting to that point.

They certainly have something to prove, but the question right now is, do they deserve the benefit of the doubt?

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