The Orlando Magic are a team that many people have been keeping an eye on as the deadline approaches, but it’s looking more and more likely that they’ll stand pat unless they’re blown away by an outrageous deal. The Magic are clearly planning for the future and that has been reflected in both their willingness to listen to trade offers and their rejection of offers for Arron Afflalo.
Grantland’s Zach Lowe sees the Magic as major players in the upcoming free agent market, but there are certain players they may not be going after. Lowe cites Indiana Pacers star Lance Stephenson as a specific example of a guy the Magic will not target.
Stephenson is a very good player, but there is anxiety around the league that he won’t be quite as selfless, on and off the court, if someone extracts him from the Indiana–Larry Bird cocoon of winning veterans. He also has some positional overlap with Oladipo, though in a modern NBA in which having multiple expert ball handlers on the floor at once is a basic necessity, they could easily function together.
There are two interesting ideas here, with the first being that the Magic are in the market to rebuild through superstar talent and the second being Stephenson may not attract the kind of universal attention some think he’ll get.
While still a top free agent, Stephenson hasn’t played outside of Indiana, and the concerns Lowe brings up about how well he’ll operate outside of that ‘cocoon’ the Pacers have placed around him are strikingly valid.