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Seven Free Agents the Magic Should Target


The NBA Draft has come and gone and the Magic arguably have more questions to answer now then they did heading into draft night. After the selections of Anthony Black and Jett Howard, Jeff Weltman and John Hammond still have work to do for this roster make sense.

Orlando is rolling into free agency with plenty of money to make a splash, with up to $23.9M in projected cap space headed into the off-season, according to Spotrac. That number could go up depending on what they decide to do with their current players who have team options, namely Jonathan Isaac and Gary Harris. Regardless, they have money to spend and have an opportunity to lure some key targets to “The City Beautiful.”

The most glaring hole remains the back-up center position. There’s uncertainty surrounding the future of Orlando’s two back-up centers from last season, as Moe Wagner is an unrestricted free-agent and Goga Bitadze has a team option at just over $2m. Even so, the Magic could use an upgrade over and each is probably best suited as third-string big.

And of course, the Magic could still benefit from adding more shooting. Jett Howard can certainly light it up from beyond the arc, but as a rookie, shouldn’t be entirely relied upon to fix the Magic’s shooting woes. It also remains to be seen whether they will pick-up the option for the aforementioned Harris, their best shooter from last season.

With the selection of Black, the front office decided to muddy the waters in regards to the guard rotation, so it’s no longer a foregone conclusion that Harris will be back. I ultimately think Harris’ option at $13MM will be picked-up, even if his time in Orlando may be nearing its conclusion. But adding one more shooter to supplement Harris and Howard, specifically at the forward/center position, would be an ideal addition to help round out this roster.

After scouring the free agent list to find the perfect fits for the Magic, these are the guys I think make the most sense. For the most part, I kept the players on this list as options I believe are realistic, but in a couple cases, couldn’t resist the temptation to swing for the fences. One or two players here I wouldn’t necessarily expect the front office to target, nor would I expect that player to sign if they did; regardless, they would improve this roster exponentially.

We’ll break down these targets into three categories

Swing for the Fences

I Could See it Happening...But Probably Not

Realistic Options

Let the spending begin...

Swing for the Fences

Options I don’t actually think would happen, but would love to see.

Target #1 - Brook Lopez

Potential Contract Offer - 3 Years/$48 Million

Even at 35 years old, Brook Lopez is the ideal fit for the Magic and someone who would perfectly compliment Paolo Banchero. A defensive minded behemoth who can protect the rim and stretch the floor, Lopez also brings championship pedigree and veteran leadership to one the youngest teams in basketball. He can either start next to Banchero or come off the bench, backing up current starter, Wendell Carter Jr. Either way, adding a stretch big who can shoot the three at a high clip and play high level defense should be extremely attractive to the Magic. The reason I don’t think Lopez is a realistic option is because I simply believe the Bucks will do whatever it takes to retain him. Lopez has the freedom to leave the Bucks, but playing next to Giannis and running it back for another championship run should be enough to lure him back to Milwaukee.

Target #2 - Cam Johnson

Potential Contract Offer - 4 Years/$90 Million

Johnson is a long-shot, as he's a restricted free agent and highly valued by the Brooklyn Nets, whom acquired Johnson in the Kevin Durant deal last season. But that shouldn't stop the Magic from at least sniffing around. There would some concerns about giving Johnson this much money, namely that you would be bringing him in to become a sixth man type player, as Orlando pretty much has the starting forward positions locked up for years to come. However, Johnson is a versatile piece and can shoot the rock, hitting 39% of his three's for his career. He would be an excellent addition to this Magic roster, but is admittedly probably too expensive and will most likely end up back in Brooklyn.

I Could See It Happening…But Probably Not

It could happen, but could be a difficult pull.

Target #3 - Grant Williams

Potential Contract Offer - 4 Years/$60 Million

Williams could slide in nicely as a rotational piece off the bench. He’s a versatile forward who can defend multiple positions and has proven to be competent with his 3-point shot, as he’s a career 38% shooter from deep. Even though he’s still only 24 years old, Williams brings plenty of playoff experience with him, making deep postseason runs with the Celtics over the last couple of years. The problem is he’s a restricted free agent, giving Boston the right to match any offer given to Williams. Even if they don’t see him as a part of their long-term future, they may want to retain the asset to use in a subsequent move down the line. Although with the recent acquisition of Kristaps Porzingis and a max contract eventually coming for Jaylen Brown, Boston may choose to let Williams walk. If they do, the Magic should be knocking.

Target #4 - Max Strus

Potential Contract Offer - 4 Years/$48 Million

The allure of Strus is simple – he can shoot. The Magic desperately need more players who can put the ball in the basket from behind the arc and Strus fits that bill. After a mostly successful playoff run with the Miami Heat, Strus is due for a nice payday. The impending second apron rule could leave the Heat with a tough decision, however, as they’re already over the tax threshold and have a similar player in Duncan Robinson already on the roster. While the two sides may work together to keep this relationship going, it’s quite possible that Strus looks to get the biggest bag possible. While the Magic would likely have to do some roster maneuvering to have this make complete sense, Strus’ high volume 3-point shooting and 37% accuracy is an enticing option.

Realistic Options

Scenarios most likely to happen

Target #5 - Mason Plumlee

Potential Contract Offer - 2 Years/$16 Million

Plumlee sits near the top of a not so great second tier of free agent centers. He’s coming off a pretty successful season, splitting time with the Hornets and the Clippers after a mid-season trade. Although his shooting isn’t pretty to look at, he did make improvements at the free throw line after switching to left hand, shooting 77% from the line during his time with Los Angeles. Plumlee also provides Orlando with someone who can consistently rebound the ball, another skill they could use more of on their roster. Plumlee isn’t the sexiest name, but he would bring a veteran presence to the locker room and provide an immediate upgrade to the back-up center position.

Target #6 - Drew Eubanks

Potential Contract Offer - 2 Years/$12 Million

Again, there’s not a ton of options here and Eubanks provides defense, rebounding and rim protection while playing with a high motor. He would also be a potential rim running threat, something the Magic lack, with the multitude of playmakers the Magic possess, including new Magic rookie, Anthony Black. Eubanks would be a solid back-up center coming on a fairly cheap contract. He makes a lot of sense for this team moving forward.

Target #7 - Paul Reed

Potential Contract Offer - 3 Years/$15 Million

Reed would be a player the Magic feel just needs opportunity, as he’s been used sparingly in Philadelphia over the last couple of seasons. He earned the back-up center position in Philly about mid-way through the season, and put together some impressive performances in the playoffs when filling in for the injured Joel Embiid. The Sixers have matching rights, but if the Magic wanted to target a big man with some untapped potential, Reed is someone I like to fill that void.

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