The Orlando Magic signed Argentinian Patricio Garino to a contract for the rest of the season today. As is common in the NBA social media sphere, a photographer took a picture of Garino inking his deal with Orlando, which Garino’s agen then proceeded to publish in a (now deleted) tweet.
That post seems innocent enough, but a closer look, as Bill DiFilippo of Uproxx noted, indicates that the whiteboard behind Garino seems to have intricate parts of the Magic’s offseason plan written on it. Whoops.
Here’s a closer look at that board:
The Magic’s roster feels haphazardly thrown together at times. A lot of the pieces don’t fit together. They have more big men than a healthy Sixers team. They need to shake things up this summer, so it makes sense that the organization is already targeting new players to potentially acquire. There is one name of significance to Sixers fans in that first column under the heading “Hybrid Trade”: Saric.
The Magic actually drafted Dario Saric with the 12th pick in the 2014 draft. Sam Hinkie then used some Jedi mind tricks to convince Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan that the Magic should trade for Elfrid Payton, the Sixers’ pick at 10, while surrendering Saric and some additional picks to Philly. It now looks like he’s a target for them as a “hybrid” forward with a versatile offensive game that’s been on display during his rookie season.
Another wrinkle to the Magic’s mystery board: “(For AG?)” was scribbled next to Saric’s name, potentially alluding to the Magic’s willingness to trade Aaron Gordon, the fifth pick in the 2014 draft, for Saric. Are the Magic ready to give up on Gordon already? He’s been consistently played out of position at the three instead of the four during his tenure in Orlando. Maybe the Magic feel that Saric would mesh better with the rest of the team’s young player. Would the Sixers entertain trading Saric after what will likely end up as a Rookie of the Year-winning season?
It’s certainly possible, though I wouldn’t quite see it happening for Gordon. I was very high on Gordon out of Arizona in the draft three years ago, but he seems to be an even worse fit for a team that’s centered around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid than Saric’s imperfect fit. After three seasons in the league, Gordon has shot just 28.6 percent from three-point range for his career. There’s also the matter of Gordon only having one more year left on his rookie contract that expires in 2018, as opposed to Saric’s, which runs through 2020. Fit and cost-efficiency aside, Bryan Colangelo and the Sixers’ front office might not even view Gordon has having superior upside to Saric at this point despite his top-pick pedigree.
While I wouldn’t expect to see him in Magic pinstripes next season, it’s clear that Saric is viewed as valuable around the league. Maybe the Sixers will move on from Saric if a trade for a star-caliber player presents itself, but I don’t see Gordon as the guy to make that deal for.
UPDATE: The Homie got asked about this at shootaround:
Here's #Sixers PF Dario Saric talking about his name being on the #OrlandoMagic white board for free agent and trade targets. pic.twitter.com/zIJFCFGIoh— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) April 4, 2017
“That’s life,” indeed.