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Orlando Magic get Justin Harper in trade with Cavs, draft Kentucky's DeAndre Liggins at No. 53

Orlando Magic

fans wanted the franchise to make a major splash during Thursday night's 2011

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NBA draft

. Even superstar

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Dwight Howard
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hoped something would be done to upgrade the roster.

Acquiring a pair of second-round selections, University of Richmond forward

Justin Harper

and

Kentucky

shooting guard DeAndre Liggins, will have to do.

For now, anyway.

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"We look at any ways to make our team better, that goes without saying," Magic General Manager

Otis Smith

said. "But this team doesn't need to be imploded. It needs to be tweaked. It needs guys to have better years. Chemistry needs to be built. We need a training camp. There's a lot of things that we need."

And, now, the Magic hope Harper and Liggins are a part of the solution.

After the

Cleveland Cavaliers

selected Harper 32nd overall, the Magic acquired his draft rights by trading their second-round pick in 2013 and their second-round pick in 2014 to the Cavs.

In four seasons at Richmond, the 6-foot-9, 228-pound forward stretched the floor, making 38 percent of his 3-point attempts. As a senior, he averaged 17.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and shot almost 45 percent from beyond the arc, drawing comparisons to former Magic forward

Rashard Lewis

.

"I think I can give them kind of the same type of game, just being able to stretch the floor with my 3-point range and the same skill set," Harper said.

Smith said the Magic had ranked Harper somewhere in the 20s on their draft board, then were surprised to see him fall to No. 32.

"We like skilled big guys," Smith said. "We like guys who can shoot the basketball. He can rebound the basketball and he's got nice size and a good

NBA

body."

The Magic used the 53rd overall pick to select Liggins, a 6-foot-6, 205-pound shooting guard who played three seasons at Kentucky and earned

SEC

All-Defensive Team honors as a junior.

Smith envisions Liggins as someone who can guard opposing point guards, shooting guards and small forwards.

"Probably more than anything else he's a tough kid," Smith said. "He works. He's not afraid to work. He's one of those guys that we can throw into different situations. Probably the biggest thing about him, I think, is he can defend multiple positions."

Shooting is not Liggins' best attribute, but after dreadful long-range shooting seasons as a freshman and sophomore, he upped his 3-point accuracy to just over 39 percent during his final season.

"My toughness will carry on towards the Orlando Magic," Liggins said. "As you've seen at Kentucky, I bring toughness to the team. I competed. I was the reason why we won some games."

Magic fans, still stunned by a first-round playoff exit, probably wanted to see bigger moves on draft night.

As the draft approached the Magic reportedly had pursued trades for

Golden State

guard

Monta Ellis

,

Atlanta Hawks

forward

Josh Smith

,

Phoenix Suns

guard

Steve Nash

and

Philadelphia 76ers

wing

Andre Iguodala

.

But, with Howard not available for a deal, Orlando almost certainly lacked the quality trade chips that would've been needed to complete a deal with the Warriors, Hawks, Suns or Sixers.

That didn't prevent some Magic fans from hoping a combination of point guard

Jameer Nelson

, power forward

Ryan Anderson

, power forward

Brandon Bass

and shooting guard

J.J. Redick

could be packaged for an all-star.

At midday Thursday, a reporter for the website DraftExpress.com said over Twitter that the Magic were discussing a deal that would send Nelson to the

Portland Trail Blazers

for point guard

Andre Miller

and the 21st overall pick.

That never happened. An NBA source said it never came close to happening.

League teams still can make trades through June 30 because the collective bargaining agreement isn't scheduled to expire until July 1.

Otis Smith didn't rule out a deal by the end of the month.

"There's a lot of things out there," he said. "We'll look at a little bit of everything. Is there anything that we will revisit? I think there's just constant talk. You have to wait to see what the new CBA's going to be and what rules we're playing by before you start making some of those things happen."

Fans and probably even Howard himself wanted to see the Magic add bigger names on Thursday.

People at home had the chance to tune-in online to watch a live feed of the Magic "war room" on the team website

Smith, Assistant General Manager Dave Twardzik, CEO

Bob Vander Weide

, President

Alex Martins

and Chief Financial Officer Jim Fritz mostly sat around a table watching the picks unfold on TV.

Even Martins yawned shortly after the

Houston Rockets

used the 23rd overall pick to select Serbian small forward

Nikola Mirotic

. The irony was that the draft choice originally belonged to the Magic, but it was traded away in December in the deal that sent

Vince Carter

,

Marcin Gortat

,

Mickael Pietrus

and cash to the Suns for

Jason Richardson

,

Hedo Turkoglu

and

Earl Clark

.

Maybe the most exciting moment of the early evening occurred around 10 p.m., after the 27th pick, when

Gilbert Arenas

poked his head into the room where 10 members of the press had congregated.

"You guys look excited in there," Arenas said.

Around 10:45, the news broke that the Magic were trying to acquire Harper.

The team officially acquired its guy about half an hour later.

Just perhaps not the guy fans had wanted.

jbrobbins@tribune.com. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog. Subscribe to our Orlando Magic newsletter at OrlandoSentinel.com/joinus.

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