In Zach Lowe’s latest column for ESPN.com, he examines the Magic‘s offseason moves, attempting to make sense of some of the club’s unusual decisions. After investing huge money into Bismack Biyombo and sending a significant trade package to the Thunder for Serge Ibaka, Orlando has a roster that appears a little heavy on frontcourt talent, and one that lacks offensive playmakers.
As Lowe details, the Magic may attempt to roll out a lineup that features Biyombo at center, Ibaka at power forward, and Aaron Gordon at the three in a Paul George-type role, per new head coach Frank Vogel. That would give the team impressive length, athleticism, and rim protection in the frontcourt, but it remains to be seen whether it would be effective against NBA teams that are increasingly reliant on three-pointers and perimeter talent.
Lowe’s piece also includes a handful of interesting tidbits of information he has gleaned from league sources, so let’s round those up…
- Despite the logjam up front, the Magic are in no rush to trade Nikola Vucevic, writes Lowe. Given the team’s lack of pure scorers, but Orlando might want to keep Vucevic around to take advantage of his offensive prowess and his ability to pass in the post.
- Vucevic believes he should be the starting center, but hasn’t been promised anything yet, and acknowledges that the newly-signed Biyombo is making a few million dollars more per year than him. “Do I wish I were a free agent now?” Vucevic said, referring to new contracts signed by Biyombo and others. “Yes. But I can’t do anything about it. I’m happy guys are getting paid, and in the normal world, it’s still a lot of money. I mean, I’ll never spend all that money.”
- Victor Oladipo, traded by Orlando to the Thunder in the Ibaka deal, is seeking a maximum-salary contract extension for now, sources tell Lowe. That asking price likely played a role in the Magic‘s decision to move him, if the club was unwilling to go that high to lock him up.
- Before signing Biyombo, the Magic were “sniffing around” the possibility of signing Joakim Noah at around the same price, according to Lowe. The two veteran bigs ultimately received similar deals, and will both count for $17MM against the cap in year one.
- As an aside in his story on the Magic, Lowe also provides an update on the Sixers, reporting that most of Sam Hinkie‘s old regime – including his “handpicked analytics crew” – is expected to be gone from Philadelphia by the end of August.