Khem Birch: 2 years, $6 million (Orlando Magic)
The Orlando Magic‘s decision to re-sign Nikola Vucevic to a four-year deal was iffy. The massive overpay on a four-year extension for Terrence Ross was even worse, and the whole strategy of going all in on a 42-win team while adding a small-ball 4 like Al-Farouq Aminu to the frontcourt logjam was questionable at best.
Bringing back Khem Birch on a deal like this, however, is one that doesn’t fall in that same category, even if Orlando’s big man rotation is as crowded as ever. With all the excitement over Mohamed Bamba, people forget or just plain overlooked how much better the Magic were when he was sidelined by injury and Birch became the backup center.
Though his 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game hardly scream “value,” he was a defensive linchpin off the bench, shot 60.3 percent from the floor and from mid-January onward, was a valuable, highly underrated part of the rotation. No one knows how the Magic plan to find time for Vooch, Bamba, Birch, Aminu, Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac, but this is a solid, low-cost depth move either way.