It took less than forty-eight hours after exiting the playoffs, for the focus to switch from losing, to how to get better for the Orlando Magic.
Winning an NBA Championship remains the goal in the City Beautiful.
Outside of the disappointment that comes with losing a playoff series, fans still hold on to hope. A hope based upon All-Star center Dwight Howard's showing in the playoffs.
We now know he can carry the team—not just defensively—but on both sides of the ball. His offense still needs work, but even in its present state, not many teams can handle Superman.
General manager Otis Smith enters the off-season at a disadvantage. He made major moves last summer to make his team a true contender. The moves put the Magic about $27 million over the salary cap.
So many high priced players have created repercussions for this off-season. Orlando now has very little room to sign players outright in free-agency. Any big moves will most likely require sign—and—trade deals.
In order to make such deals happen, the Magic will need to find big name players. The big names make matching salaries in the trade easier.
Smith comes in with a big advantage—a team everyone believes to be a contender. This year's free-agency theme for players has become “I want to win”.
Smart money would bet the Magic are closer than all but two or three teams to a title.
If the Magic do make any quality moves, expect to see Marcin Gortat and Rashard Lewis as part of what Orlando gives up. Getting some of the names on this list might mean sacrificing even more.
At this point, that's fine, Orlando possesses most of what it needs to contend: Dwight Howard.