When I talked deadline trades with sources and people with teams during the G-League Showcase in Las Vegas last week, I heard two themes:
• An expectation that the trade deadline will be slow and the moves we do see will be smaller ones (such as Jordan Clarkson for Dante Exum) and not franchise-changing moves that will capture the casual fan’s interest.
• A lot of interest in the Pelicans’ Jrue Holiday and the belief some team will pay a lot to land him, which might be the biggest move of the deadline.
The Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier was the popular pick for most likely to be moved. Holding down the final playoff spot in the East, the Magic have shown no inclination to move the guard, but there will need to be a discussion within the next six weeks on what direction to take. Fournier is having a career season, averaging 20 PPG on 48.1% shooting from the field and 42.7% from 3. He has a $17.2 million player option for 2020-21 that many expect he will not pick up.
Fournier had a standout World Cup for France and has carried that over to the regular season averaging 19.6 points per game, shooting 42.3 percent from three, and an 18.7 PER — all career highs. He has turned a lot of heads this season, which leads to the belief he will test the free-agent market in July.
That may motivate the Magic to listen to offers. Orlando is 12-17, if they make the playoffs this season it will be as a lower seed, there is little motivation to keep him around and win games. However, there are a lot of teams that could use shooting on the wing heading into the postseason.
Fournier is another name to watch, along with Holiday and Danilo Gallinari, as guys that will generate a lot of trade buzz between now and Feb. 6 (the trade deadline).