Channing Frye is available for very little in return, sources from around the league tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe, who nonetheless cautions that Magic officials say that’s not the case as he writes amid a piece on Tristan Thompson‘s situation. A knee injury Frye suffered a year ago plagued him in his first season in Orlando after he signed a four-year, $32MM deal with the team in the summer of 2014. He’ll make more than $8.175MM this season on the front-loaded contract.
Frye, 32, saw averages in points, rebounds and minutes per game last year that were his lowest since the 2008/09 season. Still, he started 51 games and shot 39.3% from three-point range. That marksmanship was the second-best percentage of his career and testament to his value as a floor-stretching 6’11” big man, especially for a team that has trouble with spacing as much as the Magic do. However, his path to more playing time is muddied in Orlando, where Tobias Harris, fresh off signing his new four-year, $64MM contract, Nikola Vucevic, whose four-year, $48MM-plus extension kicks in this season, and 2014 No. 4 overall pick Aaron Gordon crowd the front line.
The Magic appear anxious to win, having fired coach Jacque Vaughn midway through last season, one in which Orlando failed to make a leap forward in the franchise’s rebuilding project, and hired Scott Skiles, who has a history of sparking fast turnarounds when he arrives on a team’s bench. The Magic could open more than $10MM in cap space if they trade Frye for no salary in return, but aside from Thompson, who’s demanding much more than the amount of cap room Orlando could open in a Frye salary dump, the existing free agent market is largely devoid of intriguing options. The Magic could use cap room to position themselves to take on a player via trade, such as Markieff Morris, who makes a salary similar to Frye’s, but it’s unclear if they have any such inclination.
Should the Magic cut bait with Frye now or keep him and find a way to make the most of his outside shooting? Leave a comment to tell us.