The Orlando Magic have accumulated a significant amount of young talent over the years, and they are now faced with a logjam at the guard spots. With Markelle Fultz appearing ready to thrive as the lead facilitator, Jalen Suggs continuing to develop and Anthony Black entering the rotation as a rookie, the Magic may be ready to trade Cole Anthony. Anthony has developed into a solid sixth man for Orlando, but will enter restricted free agency next summer. As one agent told Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus:
“I think they move Anthony, maybe even before the season. But I don’t think they extend him.”
With the Magic aiming to move on from Anthony, there are several teams who could use his services.
NBA Trade Rumors: Magic Expected to Move Cole Anthony
Drafted 15th overall by Orlando in 2020, Anthony—the son of ex-NBA guard Greg Anthony—had a solid rookie season. He averaged 12.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game on .397/.337/.832 splits. He proceeded to break out as a sophomore, starting all 65 games he played and averaging 16.3 points and 5.7 assists. Last season saw Anthony go back to the bench with the re-emergence of Fultz. However, he continued to make an impact, putting up 13 points and nearly four assists per game while shooting 45% from the field and 36% from deep.
Potential Destinations for Cole Anthony
Though there is no list of interested suitors for Anthony yet, the 23-year-old could garner interest from several teams.
The Clippers are searching for an optimal backup to Russell Westbrook. After the failed three-team deal that would have sent Malcolm Brogdon, it makes sense for them to pivot to Anthony. Anthony would have to adjust his game a bit, but he brings a wealth of talent to a larger stage. He’s a solid shooter and facilitator who is ready for a role on a contender, and the Clippers wouldn’t have to give up much to match his $5 million salary. His addition could also move Terance Mann back to his natural role as a two-guard/wing.
The Celtics are in a similar predicament, having no solid backup options after trading away Marcus Smart. Brogdon remains the ideal candidate. However, his injury history and recent animosity towards the organization put him in jeopardy to start the season. Derrick White is another option, but he performed well in the 70 games he started last season (12.9 PPG and 4.8 APG on 46% FG). Trading for Anthony would give the Celtics more stability in the facilitator spot. He’d be able to thrive as a backup or, potentially, a starter.
Finally, the Utah Jazz could be a name to watch if suitors emerge for the 23-year-old Anthony. Sports Illustrated’s Jared Koch outlined several reasons why Utah would benefit through the acquisition of Anthony:
“Many have questioned how talented the team’s guard play is, along with a concern for a lack of playmaking on the roster. Anthony could easily plug in as a key reserve or even a starter to mend those holes.”
Though Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson could be tasked with starting facilitator roles, adding Anthony would be a plus for a rebuilding Jazz squad looking to add pieces for their future. Though he may not be able to supplant Kris Dunn, who performed well as Utah’s backup last season, he’s at least valuable as a combo guard who can cover Utah’s shortcomings. At 23 with experience as a starter and reserve, Anthony makes for an ideal candidate, even if he has to join another rebuilding roster.
The Last Word
The Orlando Magic appear ready to to provide more opportunities to Jalen Suggs and Anthony Black. That means parting ways with a Anthony, who is ready for a better fit elsewhere. And though the market for Anthony is unknown right now, there are a handful of teams that may be in the running for him—ones that could use him well and give him a prominent role.