Magic deal Arron Afflalo, with more moves in mind

Written By Sean Deveney
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(AP Photo)

NEW YORK — Two summers ago, the Denver Nuggets tucked guard Arron Afflalo into the package that sent Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers. Now, they've gotten him back, dealing away 21-year-old swingman Evan Fournier in a draft-day trade.

That could be just the first of a handful of moves the Magic make as they try to strengthen a roster that netted them just 43 wins in the last two years.

Also on the block will be 32-year-old point guard Jameer Nelson, who has been in Orlando his entire career and has one year and $8 million left on his contract. The Magic have found few takers for Nelson, however.

The Magic have the No. 4 and 12 picks in the draft, with begins at 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday. Their willingness to move two veteran backcourt starters is an indication that they will try to find a point guard. Both Dante Exum and Marcus Smart have been connected with the Magic in the weeks leading up to the draft.

The Afflalo move is something of a blow to the Chicago Bulls, who had targeted Afflalo as a potential solution to their shooting guard hole. Chicago has the No. 16 and 19 picks in the draft, but the Magic instead brought in a young player for Afflalo.

The Los Angeles Clippers also were known to covet Afflalo, who averaged 18.2 points last season on 45.9 percent shooting (42.7 percent 3-point shooting). They came close to a deal for Afflalo that would have sent Eric Bledsoe to the Magic last summer, but that was nixed by since-banned owner Donald Sterling. The Clippers could not offer Orlando a quality young player this time around.

Afflalo's numbers were somewhat inflated last season, given that he was on a bad team, but still, the fact that the Magic got nothing better than Fournier in return comes as a surprise. Ultimately, the Magic wanted to bring in a prospect at shooting guard, as they had little behind Afflalo — essentially, just Doron Lamb and E'Twaun Moore.

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