Right now the entire NBA is holding its breath and waiting for LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to decide where they are going to play next season. On top of that, both Kevin Love and Chris Bosh may also take up residence in a new location moving forward as well.
You would think this doesn’t concern the Orlando Magic in any way, and you’re pretty much correct there. These players wouldn’t come to Orlando with the roster it currently has and is building.
Not moves to set the world alight, but the right veteran pickups to help this young team grow. Particularly Frye, who if you believe most sources is the very definition of a good locker room presence.
In a different scenario, the Phoenix Suns may have put up more of a fight in trying to keep him. Instead, with the possibility of a big name out there to catch to add to their exciting young core, they are more willing to offload players and their contracts to go after a big fish.
Every team serious about winning needs a star, so the actions of these teams is to be expected. However, the Magic seem to be the only team really taking advantage of this uncertainty and doing anything about it.
They are striking early and picking up the mid-level/veteran type players that have become an afterthought at this moment in time. In fact, it would be no surprise to see Orlando continue to do this a couple of more times this free agency, and really it is beneficial in more ways than one.
Getting their business done early allows the roster additional time to gel and come together as a team, creating an identity at the club. The team will also not be held to ransom over deals and forced into panic moves like so many other teams undoubtedly will as this summer rolls on.
There are absolutely more deals to be done, and getting them in now is a priority that a lot of other teams that are trying to rebuild strangely haven’t copped on to. A player like Jarrett Jack, who only yesterday moved to the Brooklyn Nets, would have been the perfect pick up right about now, and while that didn’t happen there are many equivalents out there.
So while some may be tiring of this LeBron business (It really is everywhere you know) the longer the show goes on, the better it is for Orlando. As it is they have built a nice little team quietly and in the background, with most people sleeping on the talent on this team.
If you have watched any of the summer league as well, you will know that while Aaron Gordon has been exactly as advertised so far, and that’s not a bad thing by the way, point guard Elfrid Payton has surprised some in his abilities thus far.
Building on this further, why don’t the Magic aggressively target up and coming young players on teams that are freaking out over the superstar free agents available and trying to carve out cap room/a bright future? Purely using these names as an example, somebody like a Dion Waiters or a Tristan Thompson could now be available for a short time frame if the Cleveland Cavaliers genuinely believe they can land James and Ray Allen, and maybe even bring back Luol Deng.
Or how about the New York Knicks, nobody really knows what they are right now because of their desperate pleas to hold onto Carmelo Anthony and the terrible contract of Amar’e Stoudemire. Also Andrea Bargnani still exists in that part of the world.
So a player like Iman Shumpert, a solid young player, may want out. The Knicks may want to offload him to take the franchise in a different direction to prove to Anthony that they can compete once more.
Again, purely hypothetical situations, but you get the idea. This is Orlando’s chance to really strike while everybody else’s heads are turned.
They’ve done a good job of it up until this point, why not collect some more bargains before people wise up to what is going on here.
Regardless, the whole saga of the top tier free agents has had a trickle down effect to the Magic that has been beneficial to them. It’s the story everybody is talking about, and while they do, Orlando is plucking capable players from teams on the sly.
Calling it genius might be a step too far, but it is smart. In the strangest way, the crazy offseason so far has been a huge help to the Orlando Magic, who have a roster that may sniff the playoffs in the weakened East already in place next year.
Not bad for a team nobody is talking about.