Although the Magic exercised 2020/21 rookie scale options this week on three players, only one of those decisions really generated headlines. The option pick-ups for Jonathan Isaac and Mohamed Bamba came as no surprise, but Orlando’s decision to exercise Markelle Fultz‘s $12.3MM option for ’20/21 raised some eyebrows.
Picking up Fultz’s fourth-year option is “the most tangible sign yet” that the Magic are pleased with the progress the former No. 1 overall pick has made in his rehab from thoracic outlet syndrome, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. As Robbins points out, making the move official a month and a half before the October 31 deadline helped relieve some of the pressure on Fultz, since there was no opportunity for speculation about that option decision to gain any steam.
As we wait for an update on when we can expect Fultz to make his debut for the Magic, here’s more on the young point guard, plus a couple other notes out of Orlando:
- In the wake of their decision on Fultz, Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer wonders what the Magic know that we don’t. As Uggetti writes, guaranteeing another $12.3MM for the 21-year-old is a significant investment in a player who has appeared in just 33 total NBA games and has struggled with his shot.
- In a separate article for The Athletic, Robbins examines the burning questions facing each player on the Magic’s roster this season. Among the questions Robbins poses: Can Orlando’s major free agent addition, Al-Farouq Aminu, effectively space the floor on offense? Aminu is a career 33.7% three-point shooter.
- In a Q&A with John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com, Magic head coach Steve Clifford addressed a handful of topics, suggesting at one point that the team’s readiness to keep working hard is even more important than the roster’s continuity. “Often, we look at professional athletes as if they’re a given. The thing for us to all understand is this – we played better (in the second half) because we put a lot into it,” Clifford said. “The consistent players put a lot into it every year. And the really talented players who don’t really ever reach the level that they should, it’s because they have a fluctuation in their focus from year to year.”