The Magic paid big money to Nikola Vucevic to return at center, four-years $100 million (although descending in costs each season, making it more tradable on the back end). Behind him is Mo Bamba, last year’s top 10 pick who didn’t play after Jan. 31 due to a leg injury and played just one game at the Las Vegas Summer League before shutting it down due to general soreness.
Looking to shore up the position, the Magic are bringing back Khem Birch, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 10, 2019
That contract does not break the bank — or, more accurately, make them pay the tax — in Orlando.
The two-year $6M Khem Birch contract keeps Orlando under the luxury tax threshold. The Magic now project to be roughly $675K under the tax and $4.5M below the luxury tax apron. The roster is now at 14 players. https://t.co/kklPuA4pTS
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 10, 2019
The stretching of Timofey Mozgov’s contract served a dual purpose. It enabled the Magic to frontload Nikola Vucevic’s new contract and enabled the team to re-sign Birch without going into the tax. https://t.co/rSNazIKLR4
— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) July 10, 2019
Birch averaged just less than 13 minutes a game in the 50 Magic games he got in last season (most after Bamba went down with a leg injury), and he averaged an efficient 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds a night in those games. He was part of the Magic’s playoff push at the end of the season, giving them solid backup minutes behind the All-Star Vucevic.
This is a good pickup at a reasonable price for Orlando, and if Birch plays the next couple of seasons like he did the end of the last one his next contract is going to have more zeros on it than this one.