4 Biggest Orlando Magic Trades

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Jameer Nelson of the Orlando Magic seeing action during an NBA game in December 2012.
(Wikimedia Commons/Mike)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Aug 15, 2023, 4:38 PM
  • Here's a list of the biggest Orlando Magic trades in franchise history.
  • Penny Hardaway leads the list of players Orlando received through trade.
  • Other notable players the Magic acquired were Jameer Nelson, Rafer Alston, and Tracy McGrady.

Since joining the NBA in 1989, the Orlando Magic reached the NBA Finals twice, in 1995 and 2009. Unfortunately, they were defeated on both occasions, which is why they are on the list of NBA teams that never won a championship. These NBA Finals appearances were because of drafting and developing young talent in the draft that increased their chances in basketball odds of winning the coveted Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

Aside from selecting and honing these young stars, the franchise also made significant trades that greatly helped their quest to win an NBA title. But who among these trades was considered the biggest? Here’s a list of the top four Orlando Magic trades in team history.

Penny Hardaway

Five seasons into the league, Orlando made their first big move in the trade market by swapping their first overall pick Chris Webber for Golden State’s third overall pick Penny Hardaway and three future draft picks in 1993. At that time, many thought, especially Orlando fans, that it was a big mistake, as the team missed the opportunity to pair Webber with Shaquille O’Neal and form a dynamic duo in the frontcourt

But the 6-foot-7 shooting guard proved he was the perfect player to play with O’Neal, as they spearheaded the team’s three successive playoff campaigns from 1994 to 1996, including an NBA Finals appearance in 1995. Hardaway played for the Magic for six seasons and averaged 19.0 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.7 rebounds. Additionally, he was selected to four All-Star Games and two All-NBA 1st Team.

Jameer Nelson

Another draft night acquisition was made by the Magic in 2004. After selecting Dwight Howard as their number one overall pick in the draft, Orlando traded away a future first-round pick for Denver’s 20th overall pick Jameer Nelson. The 2004 National College Player of the Year became the team’s primary playmaker and became an integral part of the rotation.

The 6-foot guard was key in Orlando’s six straight playoff appearances from 2007 to 2012, where they were able to punch a ticket to the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, they were defeated by the Lakers in five games. In 651 games across 10 seasons, Nelson racked up 12.6 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.1 rebounds for the Magic, which allowed him to be a one-time All-Star in 2009.

Rafer Alston

After Nelson suffered a season-ending injury in 2009, Orlando’s title hopes were in jeopardy. Thankfully, they made a trade deadline move that brought in a solid point guard that filled Nelson’s place. The Magic received Rafer Alston in a three-team trade with the Rockets and Grizzlies. The team gave up Brian Cook in the deal.

The second-round pick in the 1998 draft repaid the team’s trust in him by putting up an average of 12.0 points, 5.1 assists, and 2.9 rebounds in 29 games. Sadly, after their failed quest to win an NBA title in 2009, Alston didn’t return to Orlando in the following season, as Nelson already recovered from his injury.

Tracy McGrady

Before his stint in Texas and becoming part of the biggest Houston Rockets trades, Tracy McGrady first landed in Orlando after a sign-and-trade agreement with the Toronto Raptors in 2000. The Raptors traded him to the Magic in exchange for a future first-round pick (turned out to be Fran Vazquez). Upon his arrival in Orlando, McGrady signed a seven-year, $92.8 million contract.

The 6-foot-8 scoring guard led the team’s offense for four seasons, producing an average of 28.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 5.2 assists in 295 games. He also won the Most Improved Player award in his first season as a member of the Magic and was selected to four straight NBA All-Star Games from 2001 to 2004.

4 Biggest Orlando Magic Trades

YearPlayer AcquiredTrade Details
1993Penny HardawayMagic received: Penny Hardaway and three future draft picks / Warriors received: Chris Webber
2004Jameer NelsonMagic received: Jameer Nelson / Nuggets received: a future first-round pick
2009Rafer AlstonMagic received: Rafer Alston / Rockets received: Kyle Lowry and Brian Cook / Grizzlies received: Mike Wilks and Adonal Foyle
2000Tracy McGradyMagic received: Tracy McGrady / Raptors received: Fran Vazquez

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.