The Orlando Magic signed forward Tobias Harris to a four-year $64 million contract this past summer and today they traded him for a pair of Pistons veterans in point guard Brandon Jennings and power forward Ersan Ilyasova.
“Brandon (Jennings) and Ersan (Ilyasova) are two veterans that will help balance our roster and provide valuable experience to our team,” General Manager Rob Hennigan said. “Both players bring scoring, competitiveness and added depth to our roster. We want to thank Tobias (Harris) for his contributions, both on and off the court.”
The Magic were underachieving this season and Harris’ scoring was down 3.4 points per game as his three-point shooting had dipped from 36.4 percent last year to 31.1 percent so far this season and his field goal attempts had dropped from 14 per game a year ago to 11 currently.
However, it is unusual for a team to give up on a 23-year-old player with impact potential so soon after signing him to an extension.
Ilyasova turns 29 in May and is in his eighth NBA season. He played two years in Europe after his rookie season before returning to the NBA. He is averaging 11.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 27.6 minutes this season and is a reliable journeyman stretch-four. His contract is only partially guaranteed for next year.
Jennings suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon on January 24th last year and has played in just 23 games for the Pistons this season averaging 6.8 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists. He is a free agent at the end of this year. Jennings was a dynamic volume scorer prior to his injury and he has shown flashes of potential since his return at the end of December.
There is no nice way to describe what the Magic did with Harris. They dumped his contract for two players they don’t have to keep beyond this season.
The Orlando Magic have acquired guard Brandon Jennings and forward Ersan Ilyasova from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for forward Tobias Harris, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.
“Brandon (Jennings) and Ersan (Ilyasova) are two veterans that will help balance our roster and provide valuable experience to our team,” said Hennigan. “Both players bring scoring, competitiveness and added depth to our roster. We want to thank Tobias (Harris) for his contributions, both on and off the court.”
Jennings (6’1″, 169, 9/23/89) has played in 23 games (one start) this season with Detroit, averaging 6.8 ppg., 3.0 apg. and 2.0 rpg. in 18.1 minpg. He has led (or tied) the team in scoring once, in rebounding once and in assists three times this season. Jennings has scored in double figures six times this season, including a season-high 22 points on Jan. 30 @ Toronto.
Originally selected in the first round (tenth overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft by Milwaukee, Jennings has played in 435 career regular season NBA games with Milwaukee and Detroit, averaging 16.0 ppg., 6.0 apg., 3.2 rpg. and 1.34 stlpg. in 33.1 minpg., while shooting .800 (1,233-1,541) from the free throw line. He has also appeared in 11 career playoff games, averaging 16.7 ppg., 3.7 apg., 2.7 rpg. and 1.55 stlpg. in 34.7 minpg. Jennings was named to the 2009-10 NBA All-Rookie First Team and earned NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month four times (October/November 2009, December 2009, January 2010 and March 2010), becoming the first Eastern Conference rookie to capture monthly honors four times during one season. He poured in a career-high 55 points on Nov. 14, 2009 vs. Golden State.
Ilyasova (6’10”, 235, 5/15/87) has played and started in 52 games this season with Detroit, averaging 11.3 ppg., 5.4 rpg. and 1.1 apg. in 27.6 minpg. He has led (or tied) the team in scoring four times and in rebounding three times this season. Ilyasova has scored in double figures 30 times this season, including a season-high 23 points on Dec. 2 vs. Phoenix. He logged a career-high 54 minutes on Dec. 18 @ Chicago.
Originally selected in the second round (36th overall) of the 2005 NBA Draft by Milwaukee, Ilyasova has played in 505 career regular season NBA games with Milwaukee and Detroit, averaging 10.8 ppg., 6.0 rpg. and 1.1 apg. in 24.3 minpg., while shooting .369 (506-1,372) from three-point range. He has also appeared in 17 career playoff outings, averaging 9.8 ppg. and 6.2 rpg. in 24.5 minpg.
Harris (6’9″, 235, 7/15/92) has appeared and started in 49 games this season with Orlando, averaging 13.7 ppg., 7.0 rpg. and 2.0 apg. in a team-high 32.9 minpg. Originally selected in the first round (19th overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft by Charlotte, he was acquired by the Magic from Milwaukee, along with Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih, in exchange for J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith on Feb. 21, 2013. Harris played in 205 games (168 starts) with Orlando, averaging 15.6 ppg., 7.0 rpg. and 1.8 apg. in 33.2 min pg.