One of the busiest teams so far this offseason most likely put the finishing touches on the roster for the 2014-2015 season and beyond yesterday. The Magic agreed to a deal with free agent forward Channing Frye yesterday for four years $32 million.
That comes off the heels of signing Ben Gordon, picking up Willie Green off waivers from the Clippers and adding Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton and Roy Devyn Marble in the draft. The Magic have also waived guards Jameer Nelson, Ronnie Price, Doron Lamb and forward Jason Maxiell all within the past week or so. And throw in a trade to the Nuggets in which they unloaded Aaron Afflalo for Evan Fournier and the 56th pick.
The message is clear, they want to add youth as much as possible and overpay veterans to fill out the roster. Keep in mind this is a Magic team that was saddled down by some awful contracts in the past. Just last year, they paid over $40 million in contracts to Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Glen Davis. Otis Smith, the ex-GM has handed out some of the worst contracts in the history of basketball.
Not quite sure new Magic GM Rob Hennigan is doing much better. Not only have they shelved out $41 million to Frye and Gordon, they traded two future draft picks (2nd next year, 1st in 2017) to move up two spots in the draft to get Payton. Aaron Gordon was characterized as a reach at the #4 pick, and at 6'8" with not much of an outside game to speak for, makes you wonder if he's the power forward of the future.
Looking at the future roster, you'll have a rotation of Payton, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, Frye, Gordon, Moe Harkless and Andrew Nicholson. That's maybe a 25-30 win team at max next year. As for the future beyond that, Vucevic and Harris will be restricted free agents after next season, and they'll have team options on Oladipo, Harkless, Nicholson and Fournier. They'll have a bunch of cap space to re-sign or pick up all options, so it's definitely a roster they can keep in tact for years to come, but is it the right one?
Ever since the Magic made six straight playoff appearances from 2006-2012, they've owned a 43-121 record the past two seasons, basically gutting the entire roster and starting anew.
It almost seems as if it's deja vu all over again for the third time. As they've failed to keep hall of fame centers Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard after NBA Finals appearances, and are left to scrap once again to try and fill out a competitive roster.