Year three of the post-Dwight Howard rebuilding project continues for the Orlando Magic. As expected, they were one of the worst teams in the NBA this past season but with a pair of lottery picks and a ton of cap space available, third year general manager Rob Hanigan is handling the team makeover the right way.
Here are the Orlando Magic off-season team needs.
Orlando Magic (23-59 last year)
2014-15 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Nikola Vucevic/Kyle O’Quinn/^Jason Maxiell
PF: Tobias Harris/Andrew Nicholson
SF: Aaron Afflalo/Moe Harkless
SG: Victor Oladipo/^Doron Lamb
PG: ^Jameer Nelson/^Ronnie Price
NBA Free Agents:
^PG-Jameer Nelson (TO)
^SG-Doron Lamb (TO)
^C-Jason Maxiell (TO)
^C-Kyle O’Quinn (TO)
^PG-Ronnie Price (TO)
^C-Dewayne Dedmon (TO)
G-E’Twaun Moore (UFA)
2014-15 Team Salary: Approximately $35.6 million
1. Face of the franchise:
As solid a rookie campaign as Victor Oladipo had this past season, his role at the next level seems more destined for a do-it-all type of complimentary player rather than being a superstar who can carry a franchise. Sitting with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Magic figure to fill this void with that selection.
Dante Exum seems to be the player most likely available when Orlando is on the clock and though he may not be a superstar right away, the potential is there for him to be a go-to option down the road. Even if Exum gets taken earlier, that means either Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, or Joel Embiid would fall to number four.
2. Point guard:
Orlando holds a team option on the final year of Jameer Nelson’s contract which is due to pay him $8 million. While his experience and veteran leadership in the locker room is an asset to a young Magic team, it might be time for he and the franchise to cut ties. This would especially be the case if Orlando ends up taking Exum with the fourth overall pick.
If the Magic land one of the other three aforementioned draft prospects, they still hold the 12th overall pick and could snag a young guy like Tyler Ennis, Elfrid Payton, or Shabbaz Napier who the team could try and groom to replace Nelson in a year.
3. Power Forward:
Once the Magic let Glen Davis go, they were forced to use a smaller line-up with Tobias Harris at power forward. While Harris is a nice player, he certainly isn’t your prototypical starting power forward in the NBA. Orlando has the cap space to bring in a veteran but could also try and plug this hole through the draft whether that be reaching for Noah Vonleh or Julius Randle at four or snagging someone like Adreian Payne at 12.
4. Shop Afflalo:
With Aaron Afflalo entering the final guaranteed year of his contract, Orlando should without question entertain any possible trades for the veteran wing especially if they end up taking Exum fourth overall. Afflalo has a very reasonable contract and could certainly bring back some assets like a quality young player or future picks that would accelerate the Magic’s rebuilding efforts.
OTHER NBA OFF-SEASON TEAM NEEDS PAGES:
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Milwaukee to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag), and finished with the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft (nearly a three-peat.) You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks