• Russell Schmidt

The Free Agency Profile for the Orlando Magic


*Photo via Getty Images

Orlando Magic 2014-15 Record: 25-57 (5th Southeast, 13th Eastern Conference)

Season Summary: The Magic have now completed three seasons since star Dwight Howard and Coach Stan Van Gundy left Orlando. All three seasons have resulted in the Magic missing the playoffs and finishing with 25 or fewer wins. Despite having just 25 wins this season the Magic finished with their best record since Howard and Van Gundy’s departure. The one benefit of all of the losing is that it has allowed the Magic to select very high draft picks. The Magic have many young players with high upside that are still on their rookie contracts. Orlando’s five main building blocks are center Nikola Vucevic, last years first round picks Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon, guard Victor Oladipo, and this seasons 5th overall pick Mario Hezonja. With these five players the Magic have a young player with potential at each position. Orlando has other intriguing young players in forwards Moe Harkless and Andrew Nicholson and guard Evan Fournier. With some internal improvements and solid free agent signings it is not inconceivable for the Magic to make the playoffs in the weak eastern conference. If the Magic are unable to reach the playoffs they can add another high draft pick to their current core group. Regardless of what record the Magic finish with the key to the season is for the young player to develop more chemistry under new head coach Scott Skiles.

Cap Space: about $28 million under the current salary cap projection of $67.1 million.

Impending Free Agents: Ben Gordon ($4.5 Million Team Option Declined), Tobias Harris (Restricted Free Agent), Kyle O’Quinn (RFA), Dewayne Dedmon ($947K TO)

Will They Stay or Go: Dewayne Dedmon provided solid play in limited minutes for the Magic last season. Given his young age and small salary the Magic should look to pick up his team option. Kyle O’Quinn has had a strong start to his career considering he was only the 49th pick in the 2012 drat. O’Quinn averaged 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in 16 minutes per game last season as the backup for Nikola Vucevic at center. Since he is a restricted free agent the Magic will have the option to match any offer made to him. A two-year contract worth about $2-3 Million would be a fair deal for both sides. Orlando’s key free agent is Tobias Harris. Like O’Quinn, Harris is a restricted free agent. Many teams are hesitant to offer contracts to restricted free agents because the player’s previous team can match them. Harris may be the outlier for restricted free agents since it is believed around the league that Harris can be had for the right price. The Magic’s drafting of Mario Hezonja could signal that they are ready to move on from Harris since the two players both play small forward. If any teams were bold enough to offer Harris a $12+ Million per year contract it would be surprising to see that Magic match.

Team Needs: Reserve wing, Veteran presence, Backup Point Guard

Possible Targets:

Brandon Bass (Unrestricted Free Agent), Luis Scola (UFA), Drew Gooden: These players are veteran power forwards that could come in and help provide stability to the position. All three could be solid reserves for a young player with a lot of potential like Aaron Gordon.

Alan Anderson (Player Option), Richard Jefferson (UFA):

Jefferson and Anderson could be solid backups for rookie Marion Hezonja if Tobias Harris is not retained. Anderson and Jefferson could start in a pinch if needed and help teach Hezonja as he transitions to the NBA style of play.

Aaron Brooks (UFA), Shane Larkin (UFA), Jeremy Lin (UFA), CJ Watson (UFA): After trading Luke Ridnour the Magic do not have a true backup point guard to Elfrid Payton on the roster. Given Payton’s impressive defense and lack of shooting, the Magic should target a scorer/shooter to backup Payton that can give them the ability to have a different look at the position.

Sources:

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12711616/teams-told-nba-salary-cap-hit-100m-2017-18-season

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12307054/nba-free-agents-2015-2016

http://hoopshype.com/salaries/orlando_magic/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orlando_Magic_draft_history

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