Markelle Fultz, Mo Bamba, Jonathan Isaac Contract Options Exercised by Magic

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 25: Jonathan Isaac #1 and Mohamed Bamba #5 of the Orlando Magic high-five during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 25, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Orlando Magic exercised the 2020-21 contract options for Markelle Fultz, Mo Bamba and Jonathan Isaac, the team announced Monday. 

"Mo, Markelle and Jonathan have each demonstrated a strong work ethic, while exhibiting a commitment to team values," president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said. "We look forward to exciting futures with them as part of the Magic family."

Fultz appeared to provide his reaction to the news on Twitter:

Markelle Fultz @MarkelleF


Orlando's decision to pick up Fultz's fourth-year option is by far the biggest surprise of the three.

Bamba is heading into only his second season, while Isaac showed improvement in his second year with the team in 2018-19. There was little reason to think the Magic would consider cutting bait on either player.

However, Fultz has played in only 33 regular-season games since the Philadelphia 76ers selected him first overall in 2017. He has yet to play for Orlando since the Sixers traded him in February.

The Magic are now committed to paying Fultz just under $12.3 million in 2020-21. But as ESPN's Bobby Marks noted, that figure doesn't drastically alter their salary-cap situation:

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

Orlando was over the cap in 20-21, with or without Markelle Fultz. Without playing a game in Orlando, I don't see the downside in exercising the $12.3M team option. Still worth the risk based on age (only 21)/upside/tease (can he revert back to 16-17 at UW?).

Orlando reached the playoffs last year for the first time since 2012, losing to the eventual champion Toronto Raptors in the first round. The team followed up by giving a four-year, $100 million extension to Nikola Vucevic and a four-year, $54 million extension to Terrence Ross, as well as signing Al-Farouq Aminu for $29 million over three years.

The Magic are clearly looking to take a step forward this coming season, making it easy to lose sight of how young the franchise's core pieces are.

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Some see the Magic as committing to a core that only made the playoffs for the first time this year. But the ages of that core should give hope: Bamba - 21 Fultz - 21 Gordon - 24 (today HBD AG!) Isaac - 21 The vets are even youngish with Ross and Vucevic the oldest at 28.

Fultz might never figure out his shoulder issues, providing little return on his 2020-21 salary before hitting free agency. But the Magic are smart to take the plunge and bank on him being their point guard of the future because they have no other long-term options at the position. D.J. Augustin, 31, will be a free agent in 2020.

Fultz now has two years to prove that he can be a part of the Magic's foundation.