The Free Agency Profile for the Orlando Magic
*Photo via Getty Images
Orlando Magic (25-57) – (5th Southeast Division, 13th Eastern Conference)
The Orlando Magic finished the 2014-15 NBA season as one of the worst teams in the NBA. A little more than halfway through the season, they fired their head coach, Jacque Vaughn, after 52 games. Vaughn was in the midst of leading the Magic to their third straight season with a winning percentage under 30 percent, and was replaced by interim head coach, James Borrego.
Second year guard, Victor Oladipo improved in all major scoring and shooting categories, while his other offensive and defensive statistics took a dip compared to his rookie campaign. Rookie guard, Elfrid Payton, was named to the All-Rookie first team and was the only Magic player to appear in all 82 regular season contests. Versatile forward, Tobias Harris, averaged 17.1 points per game while shooting a career best 36.4 percent from distance. Fringe All-Star performer Nikola Vucevic was a beast offensively last season. Vucevic averaged 19.3 points while also pulling down 10.9 rebounds, but the knock on him will always be his defensive capabilities and he was one of the worst rim protectors in the league while also leading the Magic in total blocks, a bad combination.
Leading Orlando into the 2015-16 season will be newly appointed head coach, Scott Skiles, and number five overall pick (my favorite drafted player), guard Mario Hezonja. Along with Hezonja, the Magic are hopeful that second year forward, Aaron Gordon, is able to stay healthy and make an impact.
Cap Space: $26,431,860
Luxury tax space: $40,931,860
F Tobias Harris (Restricted)
Harris is Orlando’s best offensive wing but that doesn’t mean they’ll break the bank for his return. Reports have suggested that Harris is looking for a big time pay day and possibly a max contract. The Magic will have to decide if a player who averaged 17.1 points per game on a bad team is worth big time money. Add in the addition of coach Scott Skiles, who coached Harris when they were together in Milwaukee, and the projected jump in the salary cap in 2016-17, and this situation becomes even more uncertain. With Mario Hezonja now in the fold, Orlando probably won’t match offer sheets in the $13-15 million range and Harris will have a new home next season.
F Kyle O’Quinn (Restricted)
If you haven’t seen Orlando play basketball in the last three seasons (I don’t blame you), you probably don’t know Kyle O’Quinn. However, you may remember him as one of the faces of the 2012 NCAA Tournament as his 15-seed Norfolk State Spartans shocked the 2-seed Missouri Tigers in the round of 64. Since then, he’s been primarily a reserve big man for the Orlando Magic. With Orlando also having center Dewayne Dedmond under contract they may move on from O'Quinn. Both Dedmond and O’Quinn are similar players, with O’Quinn being slightly more versatile. With that being said, O’Quinn will have a new home next season.
G Willie Green (Unrestricted)
It’s hard to see Willie Green return to Orlando unless the Magic really overpay for his veteran leadership. Green could be a great veteran presence on a young, playoff contending team. While he may not be able to produce in heavy minutes, this era of the NBA sorely lacks veteran leadership and know-how throughout the league. I expect Green to be wearing a different jersey in 2015-16
Superstar – Orlando is comprised of a bunch of role players, they need to find their 2009 Dwight Howard.
Scoring/Shooting – 27th in offensive rating during the 2014-15 regular season.
Veteran leadership – Orlando had four players over the age of 25 this past season. Two are already gone and Willie Green may also be gone.
Rim protector – Nikola Vucevic led the Magic in total blocks and the 24th best defensive rating indicates that won’t lead to success.
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C Robin Lopez – Formerly known as the other Lopez, Robin has become quite the mascot battling big man during his time in Portland. He is a good rim protector, allowing opponents to score only 48 percent of the time at the rim.
G Lou Williams – The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is instant offense off the bench. He would also provide veteran leadership on the court along with his award winning scoring, ball handling and three-point shooting.
G Danny Green – As a player who won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs, Green understands winning basketball and would provide veteran leadership. He can flat out shoot the three and can defend both guard positions and small forwards.
F Paul Millsap – Millsap is one of the most versatile offensive and defensive players in the league. Would be an upgrade from Tobias Harris in the short term and provide veteran leadership along with plenty of know-how.
F Andrea Bargnani – Bargnani is another player who can’t really defend but can play decent offense. He could be the stretch-4 that Vucevic desperately needs to create more space for him to operate in the paint.