Magic Trade Frye, Acquire Second Round Pick
By John Denton
Feb. 18, 2016
ORLANDO – When the Orlando Magic signed forward Channing Frye in July of 2014, he seemed to be the perfect piece that the team needed because of his 3-point shooting and his veteran savvy.
But, for whatever reason, Frye never was a good fit in Orlando. And on Thursday afternoon, just before the NBA’s trade deadline, the Magic ended the Frye experiment by trading him to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In return, the Magic will get the contract for backup guard Jared Cunningham, a future second-round pick and loads of financial flexibility when the NBA’s free agency period opens in July. Cunningham will be waived by the Magic so that they can retain roster and salary cap flexibility for the rest of this season and this summer.
Frye’s first cousin, Tobias Harris, was traded by the Magic to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday for point guard Brandon Jennings and forward Ersan Ilyasova. Frye’s mother and Harris’ mother are sisters and the two forwards relished the chance to play with one another in Orlando for 1 ½ seasons.
By taking back little in the transition, the Magic cleared more salary cap room with which to try and lure one or several free agents to Orlando this summer. Jennings has an expiring contract, while Ilyasova has a non-guaranteed contract for next season. By shedding the contracts of Harris and Frye, the Magic could potentially be in position – with a couple of other player renouncements – to offer two maximum-salaried slots to players who become free agents in July.
Frye, 32, averaged just 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds for the Magic this season while shooting 43.5 percent from the floor and 39.7 percent from 3-point range. In 2014-15, Frye struggled mightily on defense and eventually fell out of the rotation by the end of his first year in Orlando. He averaged 7.3 points and 3.9 rebounds last season.
Frye played a major role in Orlando’s best stretch of this season. He started 29 games from Nov. 25 to Jan. 20, sparking the Magic to five straight victories upon immediately going into the starting lineup. Frye also played a role in Orlando going 10-5 in December, helping to spread the floor by shooting 46.7 percent from beyond the 3-point stripe in the month.
Cleveland’s payroll is well above the NBA’s salary cap, but it was able to acquire Frye into a trade exception that the team possessed. The Cavs valued Frye’s ability to knock down 3-point shots and heavily pursued the veteran power forward for much of the past week.
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