Entering a second straight NBA winter with more teams looking to upgrade their rosters than sell their veterans, no competing front office may be keeping an eye on this fluctuation. Chicago Bulls‘Decision making is closer than that Orlando Magic.
That was when league executives were cruising around Orlando two years ago as the trade deadline approached, and the magic delivered: the layoff of Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon And the Evan Fournier via postseason map.
The fallout from the Vucevic deal lies at the heart of Chicago’s current predicament. Forget the fact that talent evaluators are constantly attached Wendell Carter Jr., the centerpiece of the Bulls’ lineup that landed Vucevic, as a more influential player at the moment than the veteran quarterback. The first of two picks Chicago sent to Orlando has already signed up dynamic winger Franz Wagner in the 2021 NBA draft. The outgoing Bulls second pick to the Magic is a top-five pick this year and only protected No. 1-4 — which could bring Orlando a lottery pick Second in a highly anticipated draft class.
Their six-game winning streak ended Monday, Paolo PancheroThe stellar rookie season, as well as Orlando’s unique blend of size and young talent makes spectators somewhat optimistic about the near future for these Magicians. They’re not knocking on the doors of championship play, but Orlando, at 11-21, showed the positive step toward competitiveness that the Magic crew was hoping to see this season.
“They’ve got two top-flight positions – industry forwards – with entry-level contracts, intriguing young talent around them with solid contracts, no bad money going forward, and some veterans who could bring back a little more capital just in case,” one expert said. Eastern Conference team strategists for Yahoo Sports.
There are certainly pieces in the way for Orlando moving forward before this season’s deadline, but the Magic won’t earn nearly the return it saw two years ago.
Terence Ross It has long been of interest Los Angeles Lakerssources said. New York had been after Ross in previous years as well. However, while Orlando has turned down offers less than a first-round pick for the veteran driver in recent seasons, sources said, it’s hard to predict a playoff contender who would sacrifice more than one second-round pick to Ross’ services. The same applies to Gary Harrisalthough both wingers do not carry a guaranteed salary following the 2022-23 campaign.
RJ Hampton He is another strong trade candidate in Orlando after the Magic did not select a fourth-year option for next season. Hampton made a change of representation and looked for more playing time with Orlando’s G League affiliate in Lakeland, Florida, but it’s also unlikely he’ll make a huge return.
Mo Bamba, a former 6th place finisher, may be Magic’s greatest trading chip. Follow Orlando Isaiah Hartenstein In free agency, sources said, before the Center joined New York, the Magic then re-signed Bamba to a two-year, $20.6 million deal. League executives expect Orlando to hold up to a protected first-round pick or a late first-round pick to shed Edge’s 24-year-old presence. There are teams like the Lakers and clippers, as well as Toronto, Sacramento, and Brooklyn, the front office staff expect to get a sniff of the big men’s market before the February 9 trading deadline and may be willing to stake a pair of second-round options for the Pampas. Chicago, too, was weighing its options after Vucevic with his contract expiring at the end of the season.
All of this is to say that any in-season overhaul that comes from Orlando may be based more on exaggerating the bright prospects that rival staffers believe is coming.
If the Magic keep their full roster next season outside of Harris’ unguaranteed 2023-24 salary, they’ll be playing around $37 million in cap space. And there are direct avenues for Orlando to clear over $60 million this summer. Markel Fultz On the books for just $2 million guaranteed next season. Bamba’s second year isn’t entirely foolproof either. was was He has an unsecured salary for 2023-24. And that’s not to mention Jonathan IsaacA deal that specifically could cost Orlando anything after this season if the Magic choose to part ways with the injury-plagued defensive stalwart.
If you sense a topic, it’s pretty clear how important Magic is to valuing financial resilience amid this rebuilding process. And you don’t keep your books clean just for the sake of forever monetary arrangement. League insiders keep Orlando thinking Magic ownership will be ready to eliminate when the time is right to back Banchero and Wagner.
Will that come this summer? Or will the Magic pounce on an incoming free agent before the deadline to acquire the birdie rights to that player or simply start integrating him into the flex lineups at coach Jamal Mosley’s disposal?
“Everyone talks about playing positionless basketball, but they’re the only ones who really say, ‘F*** it,'” one scout told Yahoo Sports.
With a pair of massive ball handlers in Orlando, playing guard isn’t necessarily much needed for magic. In addition, Fultz has shown continued promise in 11 games this season, converting over 40% from distance while also being more comfortable shooting from dribbling.
However, the Magic’s backcourt is an obvious area for Orlando to consider spending. Especially early on Cole AnthonyExtension talks for the rookie next summer, for which league workers are preparing for a huge gap between Anthony’s wishes and his eventual market value. Maybe we’ll get an extra glimpse into the magic’s plans if they entertain Anthony before the deadline.
It’s too early to say what specific Orlando targets will be if the Magic becomes aggressive between now and next season’s opening night. But check out the list of upcoming free agents and pick the one you pick the best place beside Magic’s staples.
Can you fault magic for spending the most money, for example, Chris Middletonwho has a player option for next season and who was landed by Magic general manager John Hammond to Milwaukee when he was leading dollars?
Here’s to waiting and seeing if Orlando’s current system is willing to make a big move.