The Orlando Magic, who were officially eliminated from playoff contention a week ago but unofficially eliminated around January, signed Argentine wing Patricio Garino on Monday night in a move that shouldn't have made headlines. And it wouldn't have, except Garino's agent, Carlos Prunes, tweeted a photo to congratulate his client on the deal. The photo could've been as innocuous and unexceptional as so many agent photos before it. Instead, Prunes' picture included a whiteboard filled with offseason plans.
The whiteboard had a comprehensive list of names, including free-agent and trade targets. Magic general manager Rob Hennigan downplayed the importance of the list to the Orlando Sentinel, calling it "not indicative of plans" and said the team was "simply listing options, including some of which other teams have inquired about." That statement, however, doesn't completely check out given the proposed trade of Dario Saric for Aaron Gordon, which is only the tip of the iceberg in regards to surprises.
So let's for a second imagine the whiteboard included the team's blueprint for the offseason and wasn't simply a catalog "not indicative of plans." Here are five things you may not have noticed about WhiteboardGate.
Aaron Gordon for Dario Saric
In a trade that would accomplish little for either side, the Magic would send the bankrupt man's unpolished Blake Griffin, Gordon, to the Philadelphia 76ers for Saric, the potential Rookie of the Year. Saric is certainly a nice young player, but he has also benefitted from being the offensive focus of a team devoid of Joel Embiid—a generational talent—and Ben Simmons, last year's No. 1 overall pick.
Trading for Saric wouldn't improve Orlando's outlook. While he has shown flashes, he's not a franchise building block. He's basically Simmons with considerably worse athleticism, a slightly better jumper and a Croatian accent. Trading Gordon for Saric, while possibly an upgrade, would not move the needle for an organization whose biggest accomplishment is "we had Shaquille O'Neal for a little while." Which, in a way, makes this potential trade very Orlando Magic-like. Just imagine the headline if this trade happened: "Teams Trade Guys."
Jeff Green and the Mysterious 'X'
Year after year, teams have been suckered into the "Jeff Green is finally going to put it together this season" game. This is often a game they lose.
Green is an intriguing bet, given that he puts together a few games every year in which he looks like a franchise building block. But Green's been in the NBA since 2007, so it's a little late to expect him to flip the switch. He played for the Seattle SuperSonics. He is who he is.
And is he on this list twice? Is the second "J. Green" supposed to be JaMychal Green? If so, why not just write out the full name instead of having two J. Greens? Why use an X? Why are the Magic trying to hoard the NBA's entire supply of J. Greens? Why?
Other Potential Transactions
Derrick Williams. Kelly Olynyk. Chandler Parsons. Michael Beasley. These are all extremely Orlando Magic players. Even if they've worn different jerseys their entire careers, they're Magic players. Derrick Williams? Kelly Olynyk? Chandler Parsons coming off by far the worst season of his career? Super-cool Beas? Welcome to Orlando!
The Percentages in the Corner
In the corner of the whiteboard:
12 months: Prime - 2.26% (~2.5%)
Thereafter: Prime - 0.595 (~3.2%)
While it's not entirely clear what these percentages mean, they happen to also represent the chances that officials in the Magic front office have to keep their jobs after netting Terrence Ross and a single protected first-round pick for Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris and Domantas Sabonis after initially turning those assets into Serge Ibaka.
Pitching Paul Millsap
Paul Millsap is a good basketball player who should have no interest in wasting the end of his prime years playing for the Magic. The team has no building blocks, recently traded most of its best assets for 10 cents on the dollar and could see major front-office shakeups in the near future. So the thought that Orlando could successfully pitch one of the better free agents on the market is pretty ludicrous. Here's how it's probably going to go:
Location: Orlando Magic boardroom
Paul Millsap sits across the table from general manager Rob Hennigan. Millsap leans back in his chair, tossing a stress ball in the air. Hennigan bends over the table. A bead of sweat drips down his forehead.
Hennigan: Welcome to Orlando, Paul. We want to give you a lot of money to spend the rest of your physical peak as the face of the Orlando Magic.
Millsap: I have other options. Why should I come to Orlando?
Silence envelops the room. Hennigan stutters, and he's having difficulty coming up with an answer. Crickets chirp. Birds tweet. An entire NBA season passes by. It is now 2018.
Hennigan: No income tax in Florida. A-And you can ride Space Mountain or get Butterbeer whenever you want.
The room is again silent. The planet turns. Flowers bloom. Babies are born. Another NBA season passes by. It is now 2019.