At the conclusion of the 2019-2020 NBA Season, the Orlando Magic had a record of 33-40 which placed them at 8th in the Eastern Conference and 18th in the league. The Magic were able to make the playoffs and put up a fight against the Bucks before ultimately being eliminated in the game 5 of the first round. The Magic are in limbo with a roster that is too good to end up in the lottery but not good enough to become a serious playoff contender. This is a difficult position to be in as it appears unlikely the Magic will enter a full rebuild with long-term contracts already in place, but they do not have any young pieces that have developed enough to build a championship team around. It is expected that the Magic will look at improving their depth and especially their offensive depth as this was a key area of weakness for them falling in the bottom third of the league in offensive rating. The Magic were met with some challenges this season, most notable losing Jonathan Isaac who is expected to miss all of next season with a knee injury. There were some positive stories to come out of Orlando however with Markelle Fultz reviving his career to become a competent starting point guard for the Magic. Ultimately, I don’t expect Orlando to make many moves this offseason and they should go into next season with a relatively similar roster.
Currently, the Orlando Magic have eight players with guaranteed contracts for the 2020-2021 NBA season. Evan Fournier has a $17.1 million player option which promises to be the most intriguing option of the 2020 offseason. Fournier will have to decide if he wants to be a big fish in the 2020 offseason or a smaller fish in the 2021 season for teams that miss out on the star free agents. He also runs the risk of decreasing his value should he fall to injury next season. Ultimately, I expect Fournier to opt out of his player option and enter free agency as one of the top names as he has the potential to earn a more lucrative contract or at least earn more security. James Ennis also has a $2.1 million player option which I expect him to opt into in order to gain security and stay with a team for more than one season for the first time in his career. Melvin Frazier has a $1.6 million player option which I expect to be picked up by the Magic. Frazier is a serviceable, young bench player who is worth bringing back on a minimum contract. Wesley Iwundu and Gary Clark are restricted free agents along with two-way players BJ Johnson and Vic Law. The Magic have a number of unrestricted free agents in DJ Augustin, Michael Carter-Williams and Chuma Okeke. The Magic project to have the full $9.2 million mid-level exception available to them as well as the $3.6 million bi-annual exception.
Depth Chart –
The Orlando Magic will most likely enter the 2020 free agency period as an over the cap team, even with Evan Fournier opting out of his player option. Their main focus this offseason will be either re-signing or replacing Fournier. He may be willing to return on a slightly smaller contract if it is spread over multiple years but the Magic might be unwilling to do that after already extending two other mid-level starters for the next several seasons in Vucevic and Ross. Ultimately, I don’t expect the Magic and Fournier to come to an agreement which will leave the team without a quality starting shooting guard. Jeff Teague is an interesting target for the Magic with their lack of depth at the guard position. If he is able to be a consistent shooter throughout the season, then he will be a valuable pickup for the Magic who look to remain in the playoffs. The Magic will also focus on retaining DJ Augustin in order to keep some level of depth at guard with Augustin coming of a solid season. As the Magic have bird rights on Augustin, they should be able to comfortable retain him on a medium-term deal. Finally, the Magic will continue to maintain their guard rotation by re-signing Michael Carter-Williams with their bi-annual exception.
The Orlando Magic will have the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Magic will look to draft a guard who can shoot and run the offence off the bench as they lack depth at that position. It is unknown which prospects will be available at pick 15 as teams are expected to draft based on team need rather than talent, due to the weaker draft class. With the 15th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic should look to select Theo Maledon, a 6’5” guard out of France. Maledon is an intelligent point guard with the ability to play multiple positions. He will be able to provide the Magic with some consistent shooting and is smart enough to run the offense when he is on the floor. He is also a solid defender which will fit in well as Orlando is a defensive team, placing in the top 10 in the league last season.
The Orlando Magic are a team stuck between contender and lottery team. With very few assets and a number of players locked into long-term contracts, they are expected to remain a borderline playoff team for the next few seasons. While they may be losing one of their top players in Evan Fournier, they will be able to bring in some key players to strengthen their guard depth. They can also look into Aaron Gordon trades should they decide that he no longer fits their future plans. Look for Orlando to perform similarly to last season and they may be able to make some noise in the playoffs before most likely falling again in the first round.
Projected Depth Chart 2020/21 Season –
Players IN: Jeff Teague, Theo Maledon
Players OUT: Evan Fournier
Trade Potential: Aaron Gordon