The Orlando Magic’s streak is as much about who as when

The roster spots in the NBA have almost completely dried up.

The Orlando Magic’s roster for the 2024 season is already full with only two two-way contracts to fill for the team. And so there is not much to look forward to in this offseason besides the end of the Summer League, the FIBA ​​World Cup and the start of training camp.

Of course, the NBA isn’t stopping.

There’s still movement on the roster, and there are still big issues hanging around the league — most of all, the Damian Lillard trade request and the continuing battle between the Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat as they try to get a deal done (the will almost certainly require a third team).

Despite how settled the Magic’s roster feels and the stated intentions of the Magic’s front office to use this season as a season of self-evaluation, the conditions for a trade are still very much present with an unbalanced roster with a lot of guards and several expiring contracts for players with an uncertain future.

Everyone expects the Orlando Magic to take a big leap this season. That means everyone is starting to suspect Orlando is set to hit the trade market. So when and who will the Magic target?

Orlando likely won’t make a move this offseason. But everyone senses that the move is coming very soon. Especially if the team takes the steps forward that everyone predicts this season.

The Magic aren’t exempt from rumors still floating around the league’s rumor mill, though it’s just wishful thinking to think the Magic are constantly rebuilding and not a team on the cusp of a longer playoff run.

The same approach the Magic use for the draft should apply as the team begins to consider its next moves and what that all-in move looks like.

President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman constantly says about the draft that they are more concerned about the person they select rather than the player they select (although the basketball skills have to match). And it feels like the Magic need the same approach when considering what that all-in move might be.

Weltman kind of reaffirmed his stance on sticking with this roster and using this season as a self-evaluation (something general manager Anthony Parker has also publicly said) in an interview with Justine Termine and Frank Isola on SiriusXM NBA Radio Earlier this week:

“I think you can feel it bubbling,” Weltman said in the interview. “Our guys are 20, 21, 22. We’re not there yet. We didn’t push chips up to mid-table this year. We haven’t spent any money. We haven’t traded picks for vets. We’re still growing it in a pace where the young guys are allowed to develop and feel their way through. For us, we have a lot of evaluation to do and self-scouting to do to see how we can best serve it moving forward.”

The radio hosts compared the Orlando Magic’s current rebuild to the Denver Nuggets, where they were able to be patient and wait for young players to grow and wait for injured players to get healthy, grow and develop.

Weltman offered that they actually had one of the players from the early Nuggets years in Gary Harris, and Harris often notes how similar the feeling growing in Orlando is to the early years in Denver.

The Nuggets just won a championship, so at least that path has been paved.

Undoubtedly, though, the Magic are moving into a new phase of their rebuild, and even they recognize it.

Weltman said on draft night and reiterated in the aforementioned interview that the team is hopefully getting to a point where everyone has to earn their minutes. Rookies definitely don’t get 30 minutes per game. match.

Orlando certainly hopes it has developed a bit of depth. But they know big decisions are on the horizon.

And as much as improving and playing better basketball is part of the story for the upcoming season, so is the future for players like Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac. Along with the potential to move other semi-expiring contracts like veterans Joe Ingles and Gary Harris. Not to mention Orlando still has all of its own draft picks – plus a 2025 first-round pick from the Nuggets.

The Magic have the ability to do almost anything when they are ready to strike. So this is very much who the Magic are going all-in on? And at what point does the team put its chips in, as Weltman put it?

The latest rumor isn’t about anything imminent, but rather a situation the team is monitoring.

Michael Grange of SportsNet in Toronto reports that there is at least a sense of discontent among the Raptors’ veterans it has not been eased by the poor performance in the Summer League. Few Raptors veterans have shown up in Vegas at this point, and it feels like the team is on a downward spiral after losing Fred VanVleet in free agency.

There are at least a few rumors that the Raptors are making All-Star forward Pascal Siakam available in trades despite Siakam’s preference to stay. And Grange notes the Magic as a team to watch.

Why Magic is a mystery to everyone. While Siakam can play some center, his best role is at forward where the Magic have two young players they are looking to build their team around.

The Magic are still very likely to be the boogeyman in trade rumors and negotiations as a team ready to get involved in trades for All-Star level players. It’s still about who.

By all accounts, Siakam is the kind of person the Magic would be chasing. He is very much a self-made All-Star and has the versatility that the Magic typically look for from their wing players. But the fit doesn’t make sense with the team’s current roster.

The question for Magic to monitor and pay attention to is who is the right person to push their chips in for.

Clearly, the Magic haven’t found that person yet. This person and player may not have revealed themselves on the trade market yet. And Orlando seems more determined to see this young group out and give them the chance to prove themselves.

But to be sure, everyone knows the time is coming for the Magic to put some of their future assets in the middle and get some skin in the game to make significant improvements.

And so Orlando will shift its focus from maximizing their draft value to maximizing their trade value. And finding the right person and player to chase.

When the time is right, of course.

  • Published on 07/12/2023 at 17:57
  • Last updated 07/12/2023 at 17:57

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