With most of the prominent free agents snapped up, there are really only second-tier free agents worth fighting over at this point. For the Orlando Magic, though, this is fine.
We have seen from the moves made so far that they are hoping to become a bit more competitive, but still plenty flexible for the future. So with no big name coming through the door this summer, are there any impact free agents left who wouldn’t eat into cap room going forward?
Of course there are, but not all of them are immediately visible. Really a financially fair deal for two to three years with a player option should be the target here, but there are players out there who would take that and less.
A good place to start would be with Mo Williams, who opted out of the final year of his contract with the Portland Trail Blazers looking for a bigger role and bigger cash.
This would be a particularly good move for many reasons. Williams appears to be a mercenary of sorts, pretty comfortable coming into a city for a year or two, playing well and getting paid, before moving on.
In Orlando he could start while teaching the promising Elfrid Payton some tricks. Alternatively the team could go with Payton starting, with Williams doing what he does best.
What that is would be is an impact player off the bench. How many times have you seen him check into a game and quickly put up some points or an assist? He heats up, and could help this team offensively for a couple of years before moving on once again.
In a similar vein, Drew Gooden might be worth picking up for a year. Most thought he was finished, until a revival in Washington last year put him back on some people’s radar.
He knows he’s coming to the end of his career, but getting Wizards Gooden for a season certainly wouldn’t hurt. You can’t teach experience, and that is what Gooden would give this young team.
Digging deeper, there’s still some potential for value around. MarShon Brooks is available for example (brief confession, this writer has always had a soft spot for Brooks, and he was absolutely not given a fair crack in Golden State, Boston or Los Angeles. He showed something when playing with the Nets in New Jersey/Brooklyn, and he might have arguably the largest chip on his shoulder in the league given how his career has panned out).
He’s young, would be cheap and surely craves a fresh start on what is turning into an upstart team in Orlando.
Other than that, why not look into the low risk, high reward category? By this we mean the likes of Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum, two of the most injury-plagued players in the league. They’ve made considerable dollar, surely they’d at least think about taking a year contract for a low expectation team in a desirable living location?
Worst-case scenario for the Magic, they lose some money and a roster spot, it’s not exactly like offering Rashard Lewis close to $100 million again. Another risky move, albeit a longer one, would be seeing if Evan Turner would be interested in coming on board.
Some of you fans squirm at the very thought, but he’s a former second overall pick who showed flashes of that in Philadelphia. The less said about his time in Indiana the better.
Looking at trades, there’s no point on compromising the bright future this team has with long-term deals for players, all while sacrificing talent to acquire it. It would absolutely have to be the right move, which it undoubtedly wouldn’t be, not unless the player in question is Kevin Love.
Actually, given how smart the Magic have already been this summer, maybe they’ve got one trick left up their sleeve? They could get in on any potential blockbuster deals left to happen. They wouldn’t be the main beneficiaries of course, but teams involved would have to shed cap space, roster spots, etc, so maybe the Magic can vacuum them up?
Best-case scenario–a player of Klay Thompson‘s caliber is worked in somehow (OK, we got too far ahead of ourselves there). Still there is plenty of opportunity to make things happen and get some late deals in.
So there you have it. We know now Orlando won’t be big time players at all this summer, but there are still some smart pickups available if they look in the right places. These are the things the team must remember as the organization continues to move forward.