Bits and pieces of the Orlando Magic’s off-season plans may have been accidentally exposed on Monday night, when a photo was posted to social media. The Magic had just signed Argentinian swingman Patricio “Pato” Garino to a 2-year contract. Garino’s agent photographed the signing and posted the picture on Twitter, not realizing the significance of the words on the whiteboard behind his client.
Three columns were fully visible on the whiteboard—one labeled “Hybrid Trade,” one labeled “Hybrid Free Agency,” and one labeled “Spread Bigs Trade.” Each column was populated with names of players that the Magic might target in the coming off-season. Near the bottom of the “Hybrid Trade” column, Portland Trail Blazers forwards Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless were listed.
Harkless played three seasons in Orlando before the Magic traded him to the Trail Blazers for a top-55 protected 2020 second-round draft pick—a pick that will likely never be conveyed. It is possible that the Magic now realize their folly and see Harkless as an option moving forward. Both Harkless and Aminu are on friendly contracts and playing the best basketball of their careers in Portland.
All of this, though, should be taken with a grain of salt. The whiteboard appears to be the result of a brainstorming session, not anything concrete. Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka even appears in a partially visible fourth column, even though the Magic traded him away less than two months ago.
Magic GM Rob Hennigan has stated that the lists are “not indicative of plans” and were “simply listing options, including some of which other teams have inquired about,” according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
However, aside from spreading like wildfire on social media, the blunder was not without repercussions. Next to Philadelphia 76ers forward Dario Saric in the “Hybrid Trade” column were parentheses with the words “For AG?” referring to third-year Magic power forward Aaron Gordon of dunk contest fame. Gordon was previously unaware of any potential plans involving his departure, and head coach Frank Vogel spoke with him privately about the clumsy tweet that has since been deleted.
Gordon later told Robbins “It wasn’t for me to see, so for me to see something like that, it brings something that’s out of my control into my reality. But that’s neither here nor there. My plan and my focus is to play basketball and to enjoy the game of basketball. Anything other than that is out of my control. I love this organization and I’m going to continue to work hard and play.”
Although it would be impossible for every listed trade target to be acquired, it is unfortunate for the Magic that a chunk of their private thought process is now publicly available.