Brandon Jennings, Ersan Ilyasova Traded to Magic for Tobias Harris

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2016

FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2016, file photo, Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Jennings brings the ball up court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, in Auburn Hills, Mich. With Brandon Jennings finally back from an Achilles tendon injury, the Detroit Pistons now have to figure out how best to manage their two talented point guards _ with Reggie Jackson already signed to a long-term deal.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Brandon Jennings did not get his wish, as the Detroit Pistons have traded the point guard to the Orlando Magic as the Magic confirmed.

Chris Broussard of ESPN first reported the deal. TNT's David Aldridge confirmed the trade.

Former Grantland NBA writer Zach Lowe added that as things stand now with the deal, the Pistons are not sending any first-round draft picks back to Orlando in the trade. 

Harris took to Instagram to give his thoughts on the deal:

Lowe provided more comments from Harris:

"I've already talked to Coach Van Gundy about that. I'm not big on the position thing. I'm versatile. We'll just figure out which guy everyone is best fit to defend, and go from there every night."


"My goal is to play winning basketball. People can look at my numbers and say, 'Oh, his scoring is down,' or this and that, but I want to win."

"Thank You Detroit for everything," Jennings said on Twitter. "I had a great 3yrs. Some amazing Moments we had. Love!"

"I'm happy to reconnect with (Coach) Skiles," Jennings added, per Broussard.

Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy said to Mayo that same night the team was planning to use the oft-injured Jennings as a key piece down the stretch. 

"Our plan, right now, is that Brandon can help us make a playoff push, and that's what we're going to do," Van Gundy said. "That's our plan right now. If something happens in the next five weeks, we'll look at it. But right now, he's a very good player who can help us, and that's the only way we're looking at him."

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News started fanning the trade flames, noting the New York Knicks were looking at points guards, "including Jennings."

Injuries have limited Jennings the last two seasons, as he missed nearly 12 months after rupturing his Achilles last January in a game against Milwaukee. He made a successful return, notably scoring 17 points and adding six assists in a Jan. 4 game against the Magic, but is averaging a career-low 6.8 points per game. 

Never a high percentage shooter, Jennings does have a tendency to let his eye for the basket get in the way of incorporating teammates into the game. His ability to pass the ball around and get everyone involved in the offense will help take pressure off his body while he works his way back into game shape. 

The Magic have had another difficult season, though this one is particularly frustrating for the franchise, because they got off to a 19-13 start. It looked like all of their young talent was starting to mesh so they could at least make a playoff push. 

However, over their last 20 games, the Magic have gone 4-16 to fall into last place in the Southeast Division. 

ESPN's Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst reported on Monday that Orlando was willing to discuss deals involving Harris and Victor Oladipo. 

Getting rid of Harris' contract, which pays him $48 million for three years after this season, does help Magic general manager Rob Hennigan have more room to play with during the summer. 

"We've been looking for more veteran stability on the roster to help us make a playoff push the rest of the season." Hennigan said, per the Magic. 

Per Broussard, Harris didn't seem too broken up about leaving Orlando:

D.J. Foster of Fox Sports likes the addition of Harris to Detroit's rotation under head coach Stan Van Gundy:

Harris is having his worst season since 2012-13, averaging 13.7 points and shooting 31.1 percent from three-point range. Advanced metrics still look upon him favorably, with Basketball Reference listing him as being worth 3.7 win shares, just 1.1 shy of matching his career-high set last year. 

The Magic aren't getting much back in the trade, other than salary relief. Ilyasova is a usable role player who is shooting 36.3 percent from beyond the arc and is signed through next season, but he's not going to change Orlando's fortunes. 

ESPN's Tom Haberstroh speculated this could be a prelude to another move for the Magic, with Ilyasova or Channing Frye potentially in play. 

The Magic are gambling on the best version of Jennings showing up, though they are also looking to get salary relief when his contract expires at the end of this season. His ability to score, even though it hasn't shown up yet this season, is valuable, and quality depth at point guard is never a bad thing to have in the NBA. 

The Pistons are a borderline playoff contender in the Eastern Conference with a 27-27 record. Harris is an upgrade over Ilyasova, but it comes at a steep financial cost for the franchise.

Adding Harris to a team that has a star in Andre Drummond and valuable starter in Reggie Jackson, so as long as Van Gundy figures out a way to hone in on what makes the 23-year-old effective, will turn into a good deal for the franchise with long-term upside.