Summer rewind: Orlando Magic
A look at the key offseason moves and changes for every team in the league. Next up are the Orlando Magic.
All about timing
The first three weeks of May set the tone for the Magic’s offseason.
With Scott Skiles’ sudden resignation on May 11, Orlando, for the third time in five years, was forced to search for a head coach. Fortunately for the Magic, the search lasted only a week.
The Indiana Pacers’ decision not to retain coach Frank Vogel, who led Indiana to the playoffs five out of six years, benefited the Magic and will provide stability.
Change in draft philosophy
After missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season, Orlando altered its philosophy when it came to building through the draft.
With a team filled with former lottery picks, the Magic made the bold move of acquiring veteran Serge Ibaka for former lottery pick Victor Oladipo, the rights to Domantas Sabonis (the No. 12 pick in the draft) and role player Ersan Ilyasova.
The Ibaka acquisition signals that the Magic are willing to take risks even if that comes with the loss of key young players.
Similar to the Charlotte Hornets’ acquisition of Nic Batum last June, Orlando will need to sell Ibaka, a free agent in 2017, on the long-term vision of the team or risk losing two lottery picks (Oladipo and Sabonis) for a one-year rental.
Big money for role players
Orlando wasted little time when free agency began, shelling out close to $40 million this season for role players Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Green and D.J. Augustin.
With veteran C.J. Watson missing 49 games due to injury last season, Augustin should provide a consistent presence coming off the bench. He played 28 games after getting traded to the Denver Nuggets last season, averaging 11.6 points in 23.5 minutes.
With Biyombo, Orlando now has $29 million invested in its center position along with starter Nikola Vucevic.
Biyombo, 23, is coming off a year in which he played all 82 games and provided a major impact for Toronto during the playoffs. He should mesh well with Vogel’s commitment to defense and rebounding.
1. Bismack Biyombo $17,000,000
2. Evan Fournier $17,000,000
3. Jeff Green $15,000,000
4. Serge Ibaka $12,250,000
5. Nikola Vucevic $11,750,000
6. D.J. Augustin $7,250,000
7. Jodie Meeks $6,540,000
8. C.J. Watson $5,000,000
9. Aaron Gordon $4,351,320
10. Mario Hezonja $3,909,840
11. Elfrid Payton $2,613,600
12. C.J. Wilcox $1,209,600
13. Stephen Zimmerman $950,000
Salary table 2016
Guaranteed salaries $104,824,360
Dead money $0
Tax variance $0
Free-agent cap holds $0
Incomplete roster charge $0
Salaries: cap $104,824,360
Salaries: tax $104,824,360
Salary cap $94,143,000
Luxury tax $113,287,000
Cap space None ($10,681,360 over)
Tax room $8,462,640
The trade for Ibaka left Orlando with $21 million in room heading into free agency.
However, Orlando saw cap space increase to $43 million once the free-agent holds of Brandon Jennings, Jason Smith, Andrew Nicholson and Dewayne Dedmon were released.
With the $5.7 million Evan Fournier cap hold still on the books, Orlando signed Biyombo, Green, Augustin and second-round pick Stephen Zimmerman with the cap space available.
Once room was used, Orlando inked Fournier to a five-year, $83 million contract with a starting salary of $17 million in 2016-17.
Free agents signed in the offseason cannot be traded until either Dec. 15, Jan. 15 or for three months if they signed after Sept. 15.
Biyombo, Green and Augustin cannot be traded until Dec. 15.
Because Fournier was signed using Bird rights and his salary exceeds his previous contract by 20 percent, Jan. 15 is used as the date when he can be traded.
Wilcox, acquired in a July 15 trade with the Clippers, can be traded to a team with room but his salary cannot be combined with a current player in a trade until Sept. 15.
Ibaka, entering the final season of a four-year, $49 million rookie scale extension, can have his contract extended. Because the Magic are over the cap, Ibaka’s current salary of $12.2 million can only increase 4.5 percent in the first year of the extension.
Ibaka is still within six months from being acquired in a trade, so Orlando can only add two seasons to his current contract.
Starter Bench Bench
PG Elfrid Payton D.J. Augustin C.J. Watson
SG Evan Fournier Mario Hezonja Jodie Meeks
SF Jeff Green C.J. Wilcox
PF Serge Ibaka Aaron Gordon
C Nikola Vucevic Bismack Biyombo Stephen Zimmerman
Orlando currently has 13 guaranteed contracts and two roster spots.
Because of Jodie Meeks’ recurring foot injury and Wilcox being unproven, Orlando’s biggest need is finding another wing.
The Magic currently have the $2.8 million room mid-level exception.
SNEAK PEEK TO NEXT SUMMER
Orlando, with $46 million in free-agent cap holds (Green, Ibaka and Meeks), is currently over the cap.
The Magic could have $13 million in room while leaving the Ibaka cap hold on but would need to renounce Green, Meeks and let go of Watson (partially guaranteed contract).
KEEP AN EYE ON
The key for the Magic will not be their offseason additions, but the development of 21-year-old Mario Hezonja.
With a lack of depth at the wings, Orlando will rely heavily on the No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 draft. Hezonja, who saw sporadic minutes under Skiles, should find more of a consistent role under Vogel.
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