Magic Trade Rumors: Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton, Mario Hezonja to Be Shopped

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC -  JANUARY 12:  Evan Fournier #10 of the Orlando Magic looks on during the game against the Washington Wizards on January 12, 2018 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ned Dishman/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic are prime candidates to be sellers before the NBA's trade deadline, and Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja could all be put on the trade block. 

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, "Rival executives expect Jeff Weltman, Orlando’s new team president, to aggressively hunt for new homes for the likes of Fournier, Payton and Hezonja, given that Nikola Vucevic’s broken finger is likely to preclude dealing the center."

Of that trio, Fournier is likely the most appealing to potential trade suitors. The 25-year-old is averaging 17.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game while shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from three. 

He also has two years and $34 million remaining on his contract, however, with a player option for $17 million in the 2020-21 season as well, so his contract could be prohibitive for some teams unless the Magic are willing to take back big contracts in return. 

Payton, meanwhile, has never quite developed into a consistent starting point guard after the Magic traded up to select him with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. The 23-year-old is averaging 12.9 points and 6.6 assists per game, and his 38.6 percent clip from three-point range is easily a career high, though he attempts just 1.7 threes per game. He'll also be a restricted free agent after the season, making him a potential rental and perhaps hurting his value for interested teams.

And then there's Hezonja, who has been a bust in his first three NBA seasons after being the No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. This year, he's averaging just 6.8 points in 17.3 minutes, shooting 33.3 percent from three. Perhaps a change of scenery would benefit the 22-year-old, who simply has failed to live up to his potential in Orlando. 

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For an Orlando team that started 8-4 and has gone 4-27 since, just about everyone—outside of Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac—could be on the trade block. The current roster composition simply isn't working, and the team should be looking to add draft assets to build around Gordon, Isaac and the team's 2018 first-round pick. 

With a strong draft class at the top featuring players like Luka Doncic, DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III, to name a few, the Magic should be prioritizing their next rebuild and putting themselves in the best possible position to draft a top player. That makes most of the team's roster expendable. 

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