Biggest Issues Orlando Magic Must Address This Offseason
After enduring one of the roughest seasons in recent memory, the Orlando Magic can wave goodbye to the nightmarish year and use the offseason to expedite the team’s rebuilding efforts.
With the opportunity to add talent to the team through trades, free-agent signings and the draft—while also cutting ties with unneeded players—the Magic will look to continue the roster overhaul since trading away All-NBA center Dwight Howard and shooting guard J.J. Redick.
In this piece, we'll look at the top five issues that the Orlando Magic will need to address this offseason, whether they be making decisions on free agents, looking to trade current players or rookies the team should select in the upcoming draft.
5. Explore Possible Trades for Glen Davis
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Davis has been a solid player for Orlando since coming over from Boston, but the team may no longer have a place for him on the roster.
The Magic currently have an absolute logjam at power forward—Davis's preferred position, although he can fill in at center—with up to five players who frequent the position in Davis, Tobias Harris, Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O'Quinn and Al Harrington.
While I don't believe Harrington will be with the team much longer, the fact remains that the young players—Harris, Nicholson and O'Quinn—showed enough potential and production that minutes will be scarce for Davis, who will earn $13 million over the next two seasons.
So if possible, the Magic should explore any possible trades that would deal Davis to another team and free up more minutes for the youth movement in Orlando. Whether the team gets draft picks, prospects or even another veteran in return, as long as the move helps the Magic either get younger or more talented, the front office should make the move.
4. Make a Decision on Al Harrington
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Harrington, a 14-year veteran who missed a majority of the season after complications following knee surgery, is a player the Orlando Magic will have to take a long, hard look at and decide if he fits into their rebuilding plans.
While Harrington is a highly experienced player, he did not play at a high level this season—or much at all, only appearing in 10 games—averaging 11.9 minutes, 5.1 points (35.1 FG%, 26.7 3PT%, 75 FT%), 2.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.1 blocks and 0.4 steals per game.
Slated to make close to $15 million over the next two seasons, Harrington will be evaluated by the team as it decides whether he can improve his production and merit a roster spot, or if it needs to explore other options.
Because his contract is only 50-percent guaranteed, Orlando can waive Harrington and save upwards of $7 million over the next two seasons, or see if a team desperate to cut expenses will take him off its hands.
3. Add Depth at Small Forward
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When looking at the Magic's projected lineup next season (covered in depth in my piece where we look at Orlando's salary-cap situation), the overall lineup looks fairly solid yet has a gaping hole at the small forward position.
There are little to no options to back up Moe Harkless should he need rest or suffer an injury. Shooting guard Arron Afflalo and power forward Tobias Harris can slide over and play small forward if necessary, but both players are much more productive at their respective positions. DeQuan Jones currently backs up Harkless, but he provides little in the way of production or upside and is unlikely to be with the team this coming year.
And without a small forward prospect the Magic would likely select with their top pick in the upcoming draft, the team will have to add depth through the latter stages of the draft or through free agency.
Several players I outlined in the piece mentioned above who Orlando could target (at a reasonable price) are New Orleans Hornets' Al-Farouq Aminu, Los Angeles Lakers' Earl Clark and Minnesota Timberwolves' Chase Budinger.
2. Find a Trade Partner for Hedo Turkoglu
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Turkoglu's individual season was arguably worse than the team's, with an injury and suspension (after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug) forcing him out of action, while his miserable production made his absence more than welcome. By the end of the season, Turkoglu was known more as a joke for being miserably overpaid than a playmaker.
So why would the former Magic star (in his initial run with the team, not the most recent one) have any trade value? His contract. Although Turkoglu is still ridiculously overpaid given his production—his contract pays him $12 million for the 2013-14 season—his contract is only 50-percent guaranteed; a team can trade for him and then save $6 million by waiving him.
So Orlando should either find a team to take on Turkoglu's contract or waive his rights and save the money.
1. Draft the Team's Next Star
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Finishing dead last in the NBA standings with a record of 20-62, Orlando now has the highest probability of winning the draft lottery and is guaranteed a top-four selection in the upcoming draft.
While the prospect at the top of the Magic's draft board—Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart—has decided to return for his sophomore year, there are still plenty of players who the team can target at the top of the draft.
The top prospect on most draft boards—Kentucky center Nerlens Noel—is unlikely to be selected by the Magic because of the number of big men on the roster. However, Orlando can still draft a star-caliber player should it add either Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore, Michigan point guard Trey Burke or Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo.
Once the draft lottery is conducted and the final order for the 2013 NBA draft is decided, we can better predict which player the Magic will select, but we can look at Orlando's draft board and see which players the team values the most.