The Orlando Magic have claimed veteran forward Chris Copeland off the waivers list following the Milwaukee Bucks' decision to part ways with the 31-year-old.
Following the acquisition of Steve Novak, Copeland was waived on February 22 in order to balance the books for the Central Division outfit. It now seems the Magic will follow suit and also waive the stretch-forward.
Channing Frye's move to the Cleveland Cavaliers meant that the Magic were around $8 million lighter, taking their salary cap below the NBA salary floor of $63 million.
Article continues below
Taking on Copeland's $1.1 million guaranteed deal till the end of the season takes the Magic above the $63 million threshold and avoids a charge up to the amount that they were short.
The excess would have been divided up amongst the players on the roster at a percentage determined by the NBA Player's Association.
Acquiring and then waiving Copeland enables the Magic to retain a strong position entering free agency this summer and prevents their current roster from garnering inflated deals as a result.
On the floor, the Magic's backcourt is arguably their strongest area with Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Brandon Jennings all capable scorers.
Although Copeland gets paid, it's a tough break for the dreadlocks-sporting forward who may have enjoyed the opportunity to help fill Frye's void in the frontcourt.
Copeland is a stretch forward equally adept at playing at the three or four spot. After going undrafted in 2006, the 6'8", 235-pounder spent time in the D-League before playing across Europe for five years.
The New Jersey-native got his break in the NBA at the age of 28 with the New York Knicks, where he averaged a respectable 8.7 points and 2.1 rebounds in just 15.4 minutes a night.
At the climax of his debut season with the Knicks, Copeland would tie Harrison Barnes in sixth place for NBA Rookie of the Year; a class that was won by Damian Lillard with Anthony Davis the runner-up.
Since then, Copeland has started just 13 games in the last three years. Two of those years, he spent behind Paul George at the Indiana Pacers before playing back-up to a young Bucks unit this term.