Orlando Magic: 6 Expectations for New Era of Magic Basketball
The Magic must to be patient. They're in no position to sign a superstar via free agency to play alongside Howard this summer thanks to their limited cap space. Hasty moves because of the Dwight drama need to be avoided at all costs in order for this team to be successful in the years to come.
Here are key steps that this franchise needs to make moving forward.
1. Stay Firm on Keeping Dwight Howard
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The Dwight drama has to be one of the most confusing and frustrating spectacles ever to hit sports. The constant flip-flopping between staying in Orlando, or leaving has angered fans and the organization.
However, the Magic should stay firm on keeping the talented center even though there is a possibility he won't sign an extensions this year.
The Pacers series in the playoffs showed how valuable he is to this team on both offense and defense. Giving in and trading him may seem like a plausible solution after the hell the Magic have gone through this past year, but a player with his skill set must be held onto.
2. Keep Ryan Anderson
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Re-signing Ryan Anderson is a top priority for Orlando this offseason. As a restricted free agent the reigning Most Improved Player of the Year is sure to attract attention from around the league.
His horrible play in the postseason shouldn't affect the Magic's stance on bringing this three-point specialist back.
Expect the Magic to match any offer sheet for Anderson. He has become a perfect complement to Dwight Howard and losing him will only lower the chances of keeping D12.
3. Shed Salary for 2013
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At the moment the Magic do not have enough cap space to re-sign Anderson and give Howard, along with another superstar max contracts.
In order to clear some cap room expect the Magic to waive Chris Duhon and Hedo Turkoglu. Both are outrageously overpaid for what they bring to the court.
Glen Davis and Quentin Richardson are two other players that haven't shown their worth. Trading them for the sake of opening up more space in the cap is likely to happen.
4. Bring in Another Star in 2013
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The Magic haven't had an effective superstar duo since Shaq and Penny were running through the league. Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill could have been something special, but injuries made sure that duo would never find success.
The Eastern Conference has been getting stronger and the Magic need to add another star in order to stay relevant. Their failed attempts with Vince Carter and Gilbert Arenas have hurt the team in the past. Yet, that shouldn't hinder them from trying to sign another big name player such as Chris Paul, Josh Smith, Monta Ellis or Tyreke Evans in the 2013 offseason. Assuming neither of them signs an extension with their respective teams.
5. Better Supporting Cast
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Last season's supporting cast was suspect to say the least. With Chris Duhon, Von Wafer, Quentin Richardson and Glen Davis coming off the bench one can only wonder how this team won 37 games. And with Howard absent from the playoffs this team really showed how sorry they are without him.
Inconsistent play from Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu was a problem all year even, though at times the two showed flashes of their former selves.
The lack of first-round picks in recent years has hurt the Magic's hope for grooming young prospects. The last rookie to have contributed to the team was Courtney Lee, and that was all the way back in the 2008-2009 season.
Look for the Magic to take full advantage of their 19th pick in this year's draft.
6. Deeper Playoff Runs
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Since going to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 the Orlando Magic have failed to even come close in their last few tries.
Garnering only three postseason victories in the last two seasons Orlando has been knocked out of the first round of the playoffs with little trouble.
The lack of success in the playoffs is pushing Howard to want to play alongside another star. After opting into this season the Magic plan to build a championship caliber team around him and reclaim their dominance.