The Orlando Magic should flip Terrence Ross or Gary Harris to speed up their rebuild. The two young guards are both on expiring contracts, and could be sent packing for a draft pick in return.

The “magic nba” is a team that has been struggling to find the right pieces to rebuild their squad. They are currently in the bottom half of the league and need to make some changes. One change they should consider is trading Terrence Ross or Gary Harris for an upgrade.

The Orlando Magic Should Flip Terrence Ross or Gary Harris To Speed up Their Rebuild

With a grin and a handshake, the NBA executive approached me, whom I had known for almost two decades throughout my 24 years of covering the league. Then there was a request. There is always a request.

“So, who do you prefer?” The GM, who requested anonymity in the days leading up to the NBA Trade Deadline, said, “Terence Ross or Gary Harris?” referring to the two Orlando Magic senior guards. “Would you rather have one or the other on your squad if you had to choose?”

In the NBA, situations like the one I just described often occur, with different media types and club executives who have built trustworthy relationships over time. In the days leading up to the NBA Trade Deadline, every piece of information counts, and personnel executives are ravenous for everything they can get their hands on.

“I’d rather have Terrence Ross in your job,” I told the executive, who was plainly in need of a seasoned presence and some outside shooting.

Before the NBA Trade Deadline, the Magic must make choices concerning its veterans.  

Orlando-Magic-Terrence-Ross-1024x683

Orlando-Magic-Terrence-Ross-1024x683 Terrence Ross of the Orlando Magic, who might be traded at the NBA Trade Deadline, goes in for a windmill slam against the Phoenix Suns in the fourth quarter at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on December 26, 2018. | Getty Images/Harry Aaron

Orlando is once again in full rebuilding mode, as it was late last season when stalwarts Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier, and Aaron Gordon were released. The Magic made significant progress in retooling their squad by selecting talented youngsters Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner in the NBA Draft last summer. After leading all NBA rookies in scoring, Wagner has earned the nickname “Franz-chise” from his teammates. Suggs, meanwhile, has recovered from a sluggish start and a thumb injury to recently demonstrate his ability as an exceptional defender by smothering fellow rookie Cade Cunningham.

More kids will soon join a Magic squad that boasted the league’s youngest Opening Night lineup. Markelle Fultz, who just passed the one-year mark after suffering a horrific knee injury, might be back soon. After shredding his knee in the same way, defensive ace Jonathan Isaac might play for the first time since the summer of 2020.

That surplus of wingers will almost certainly compel the Magic to respond to a question posed lately by a GM on press row. Gary Harris or Terrence Ross?

The Magic have two highly significant trade pieces in Terrence Ross and Gary Harris.

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Terrence Ross established himself in Orlando and has enjoyed some of his greatest NBA seasons while with the Magic. In 2018-19, he helped the Magic break a seven-year playoff drought by scoring a then-career-high 15.1 points per game. Ross, dubbed “The Human Torch” for his ability to fire up quickly, became the only player in NBA history to make at least 200 3-pointers (217) without ever starting a game. 

In 2019-20, he made another 177 3-pointers, and in 2020-21, he averaged a career-high 15.6 points per game. However, when three of his closest colleagues were traded, Ross was left on a youthful group that was in the midst of rebuilding. 

On Jan. 2, he scored a season-high 33 points in a defeat to Boston, and on Jan. 9, he had 32 points in a loss to the Magic. Ross brought up thoughts of his 51-point performance against Washington in 2014, when he scored 20 points in a row over a portion of the second half. In Magic history, he was tied with Tracy McGrady, a Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer.

Harris arrived in Orlando just as the city was beginning to recover. Last spring, he was traded to the Magic along with R.J. Hampton from the Broncos in exchange for Gordon. 

In his hometown of Indiana on Wednesday, the 27-year-old Harris produced one of his best performances as a Magic player. As the Magic recovered from a 17-point deficit to defeat the Pacers, Harris hit six of 11 three-pointers for 22 points. Harris has improved in December (15.5 PPG, 43.9 percent from three-point range) and January after a difficult start to the season (13.7 PPG, 39.3 percent from three-point range). 

Orlando should consider trading a guard for draft capital, particularly if a first-round selection is available.

And having one of the poorest records in the NBA, despite winning four of their last seven games recently, the Magic are certain to have one of the top selections in the spring NBA Draft. However, if they can choose twice in the top ten, like they did last summer, they may be able to accelerate their reconstruction. 

The Magic received starter Wendell Carter Jr. and a first-round selection in exchange for two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic, who was moved to Chicago last spring. Franz Wagner, a contender for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award, was the result of the choice.

The Magic, without a doubt, would love to have as many first-round selections as possible to help them rebuild. If Ross or Harris can get a second first-round selection before the NBA Trade Deadline on February 20, they should take advantage of it. The Magic should seriously explore trading for veteran big man Robin Lopez in exchange for a second-round selection.

The Magic are in urgent need of outside shooting and senior leadership, but Ross and Harris are suddenly more valuable because of what they may provide Orlando in a trade.

Memphis, Cleveland, Dallas, Philadelphia, and the Los Angeles Lakers are all contenders who could use another seasoned outside shooter off the bench. Although Harris is younger and has had a stronger season, I believe Ross would be a greater trade asset for other clubs. In terms of scoring in bunches, generating his own shot, and finishing with power at the rim, he’s a lot more explosive.

Ross would be prudent to make that move before the NBA Trade Deadline if he can obtain the Magic another first-round selection to help them recover. 

ESPN.com provided the statistics.  

RELATED: Terrence Ross of the Orlando Magic Demonstrates Why He Should Be a Top Target at the NBA Trade Deadline

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