With NBA free agency frenzy in full swing, few expected the Orlando Magic to be players this time around. The franchise has used this period over the last decade to mostly make small moves around the fringes, even when an apparent no-brainer deal was out there for them once free agency began last Thursday.
NBA Free Agency: Why the Orlando Magic re-signed Mo Bamba
What was perhaps more surprising was the fact that the Magic felt the need to bring 2018 lottery pick Mohamed Bamba back on a new, two-year deal. This despite the center never really having a memorable run of games or even a period where he showed real upside throughout his time with the organization.
As surprising as the news that Bamba was coming back, there are actually very obvious reasons as to why the Magic didn’t let him walk. The first reason relates right back to that previous sentence.
The Magic would have been letting a lottery pick who has had a bumpy first four years in the league walk away for nothing. It is not nice to talk about players, who are human beings, as assets. But if you look at it from that perspective, then the front office of the Magic would be taking a large L in letting Bamba go and getting nothing in return.
As it is, they ended up trading for the player taken after Bamba in that draft, Wendell Carter Jr., as part of the Nikola Vucevic deal, and even that isn’t a great look. Teams have to spend their money somewhere as well, and in bringing Bamba back they were able to do so on a non-guaranteed deal.