A lot about the future of the Orlando Magic will be revealed this summer. They are a bit of a mess and a 29 win campaign has left little to be excited about. But they have a quality head coach in Frank Vogel and a brand spanking new GM in former executive of the year John Hammond most recently with the Milwaukee Bucks. If you pay attention at the current iteration of the Bucks you see that they are a young team poised to move into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference. They are a team that grew very fast making good decisions over the course of just a few seasons. Orlando is hoping he can do the same here.
Needs: Small forward and power forward.
Wants: Figure out what the hell they want to do about Elfrid Payton and see if they can keep extension talk cool with Aaron Gordon.
Guaranteed 2017-18 Insider info
Bismack Biyombo $17,000,000
Evan Fournier $17,000,000
Nikola Vucevic $12,250,000 Extension eligible
Terrence Ross $10,500,000 Extension eligible
D.J. Augustin $7,250,000
Aaron Gordon $5,504,420 Rookie extension eligible
Mario Hezonja $4,078,320
Elfrid Payton $3,332,340 Rookie extension eligible
First-round holds 2017-18
No. 6 selection $4,609,200
No. 25 selection $1,516,440
Orlando whiffed pretty damned big last year in the off-season. Sure, it looked great on paper at the time. Serge Ibaka? Sure! Bismack Biyombo on a 4yr. for $70 mil? Gotta spend that brand new cap money somewhere? The result? They got off of Ibaka at the trade deadline for a pick but Biyombo’s contract was too loaded (and the last year is the worst) and his play was too underwhelming to dump off on someone. They also added C.J. Watson to battle it out with fellow veteran D.J. Augustin for 2nd string point guard for some reason. They did smartly commit to Evan Fournier so there’s your silver lining I suppose and with the departure of Rob Hennigan we should expect the Magic to get younger, smarter and more versatile as in it’s current iteration they are far too rigid and chock full of players that can only play one position. Being $21 million over the cap provides quite the roadblock but I think you can expect a fire sale to help provide space.
Up top we discussed the possibility of moving Elfrid Payton. There are plusses and deltas to this. He is still one of the cheapest players on their roster and had an impressive second half of the season. However, he still can’t shoot, he often times looks lost running the offense (which is something you definitely don’t want from your STARTING POINT GUARD) and doesn’t play enough defense to offset his offensive shortcomings. Oh, and he’s up for a rookie extension. To remedy this if they choose, I have them going with Dennis Smith, Jr.. He’s the most athletic point guard in the draft after Markelle Fultz and will be able to score from day one in the league. The Magic have juuuust enough shooting (although they should look to add more this summer) to provide him with enough spacing for him to operate. A clear need for a team that finished 28th in scoring. With their second pick in the first round I have them going with Bam Adebayo the young center from Kentucky from Kentucky. Whether or not they can move Biyombo having a young big to fall back on will not hurt, especially since it’ll just cost $1.5 million.
In free agency the Magic will have to fight for every bit of flexibility they have. With them shifting Aaron Gordon to full time power forward more or less their desire is to find a starting small forward and backup power forward when they may need to go big. Adding one or two more shooters if possible definitely won’t hurt either. They’ll probab;y walk away from most of their non-guarantees which includes C.J Watson and last year’s draft pick Steven Zimmerman and they will take a wait and see approach to Jodie Meeks and Jeff Green.
Names to watch: KJ McDaniels – SG/SF – Team Option, Terrence Jones – PF – Unrestricted, Alan Williams – PF/C – Restricted, Amir Johnson – PF – Unrestricted, Rudy Gay – SF – Player Option (already declined), Tony Snell – SG/SF – Restricted