Losers: Orlando Magic
It was only natural that after their first playoff appearance in seven years, the Orlando Magic would prefer to retain most of that same core. This was evident in agreeing to re-sign both Nikola Vucevic (four years, $100 million) and Terrence Ross (four years, $54 million).
Coming on the heels of Vucevic’s first All-Star appearance with career-high marks across the board, Orlando was sensible in bringing back a foundation piece to build around for the future. Where things seem to get confusing is in the contract given out to Ross, one that seems far above what other teams may have paid for his services.
Despite having averaged a career-high 15.1 points per game last season, Ross has long been known as a streaky scorer. It’s why he shot just 42.8 percent from the field coming off a 39.8 field goal percentage the previous year.
The Magic are in desperate need of perimeter scoring, but investing so heavily in a guy like Ross doesn’t seem to be the answer. It’s an issue that only seemed to be exacerbated by the later acquisition of Al-Farouq Aminu for $29 million over three years.
A rangy forward with good size and athleticism, Aminu has done most of his damage from the power forward position in each of the last three seasons. Having shot 34.9 percent from distance this past year, he now joins the excess numbers of players in Orlando with a similar skill-set, including rotation pieces Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon and recent No. 16 pick, Chuma Okeke.
There’s no reason to think the Magic couldn’t have used Aminu’s money to help shore up their perimeter deficiencies. For comparison, the reputable sniper J.J. Redick signed for two years on a contract worth $26.5 million. Veteran 3-and-D point guard George Hill was given the same deal as Aminu.
The list is much longer than just those two, filled with capable perimeter options at either guard spot could’ve helped improve an offense ranked 22nd in offensive rating. Instead, Orlando stockpiled more assets at a position where it’s not lacking, failing to take a step forward from what was actually a surprising 2018-19 campaign.