Offseason Plans: Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic: Get a Star or Commit to Rebuild

The Magic are a tricky team to assess. They had a great season, in fact, it was their first winning season since 2010. They ended the season 42-40 and they also were able to steal a game before the Raptors moved on to the next round in five games. But I say their best bet is to get a star or rebuild. I am leaning more towards the rebuild and I think they were too. The Magic made a mid-season move to snag Markelle Fultz from the Philadelphia 76er’s for a top-20 protected first round pick in the 2020 NBA draft and a unprotected second round pick in the 2019 NBA draft. The Magic won this trade, and the potential the Fultz has is much better than a second round pick. But I mention this trade because I believe the Magic weren’t expecting to make the postseason.

They need to commit to something. Mohamed Bamba, who was their first round selection in the past draft is sitting on the bench. He played a little over half the season with 47 games played. I don’t blame the Magic for going with Nikola Vucevic either. Vucevic had an amazing season and he was also a first time all star as well. If they commit to making the playoffs then getting a star is the path they should take. If they choose to commit to a rebuild, then that sadly means they need to let Vucevic walk in free-agency. They need to focus on the young players getting better. Mo Bamba has a lot of potential to be unicorn-esque. A unicorn in basketball is a player that is ridiculously tall and has some skills similar to a guard. Fultz is a player that they’re going to have to be incredibly patient with as well. His time in the NBA has been murky, and just very odd. From dealing with shoulder problems, as well as what they called the “yips”. But for this article, I am going to say they commit to a rebuild.

Players to Let Go

So the Magic have eight free agents this offseason. With the restricted and team player options, deny each one. A restricted player option is a player that can be offered other contracts by other teams but their original team has the opportunity to match the offer. A team option is when your original team has the option to accept or deny it. If accepted, you stay on that team, if it is denied, you are an unrestricted free agent. Their free agents are Nikola Vucevic, Terrence Ross, Jerian Grant (restricted), Khem Birch (restricted), Jarell Martin (restricted), Troy Caupain (restricted), Amile Jefferson (restricted), and Wesley Iwundu (team). So they have a ton of free agents. Since this offseason they truly commit to a rebuild, they let Vucevic go. It hurts now, but if they can tap into Mo Bamba’s potential then you could be looking at an even better player at the center position. Like I said earlier, let every restricted free agent go. Even Iwundu, deny the team option as well.

Players to Keep

The only free agent left out of the eight is Terrence Ross. Keep him because of his ability to score. Ross scored a career high 15.1 points per game and he will be able to provide a nice spark off the bench for them as well. Ross also is entering the prime of his career so I would offer him around a two or three year contract. The only restricted free agent I would even think about keeping is Jerian Grant. That is only because the Magic have never been able to have any kind of point guard depth. Grant is a decent back up and I would see him being a bit better and also cheaper than any other player that is in free agency.

Players to Sign

This is definitely my favorite part to write about for these articles. The Magic should focus on signing Tobias Harris, Kelly Oubre Jr. (restricted), and Delon Wright. As ironic as it is for the Magic to get Tobias back, there’s no denying the skill he possesses. Tobias is a terrific shooter (39.7% from three) and he has really blossomed into a great all around scorer (20 points per game). He even grabs a good amount of rebounds as well (7.9 rebounds a game). The fact is, the Magic need a small forward and Tobias is very capable of playing both of the forward positions plus, he is only 26 years old. Kelly Oubre Jr. is another good option but he would be used off the bench to use at the small forward and shooting guard positions. He shoots the ball at a decent clip as he shoots 32% from behind the arc and he averaged 15.2 points per game off the bench. He is also only 23 years old which is a great option for a rebuilding team. Finally we get to Delon Wright. Delon is the brother of Dorell Wright. Delon was dealt at the trade deadline this season and he actually played really well for the Memphis Grizzlies. He is a good point guard that would be able to start as Fultz gets more comfortable in the NBA. Delon played 26 games for the Grizzlies and he scored 12.2 points per game, and he dished out 5.3 assists a game. The Magic basically need to go for players to bridge the gap for their young players. They need to continue to develop their young players and they need to make sure they commit to something at the end of the day.

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