Magic Expect Jonathan Isaac To Miss 2020/21 Season

There’s still little clarity on when the 2020/21 NBA season will begin and end, but Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman confirmed today that his team expects Jonathan Isaac‘s recovery from a torn ACL to sideline the young forward for the full year.

We will not have Jonathan Isaac next season,” Weltman said, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link).

Isaac was on his way to a breakout year in 2019/20, having averaged career highs in PPG (11.9), RPG (6.8), BPG (2.3), SPG (1.6), and a handful of other categories in the 34 games (28.8 MPG) he played. However, a severe left knee sprain and bone bruise sidelined him on January 1, and his comeback effort during the restart was abruptly halted in early August by a torn left ACL.

It’s not uncommon for NBA players’ ACL recoveries to span more than a full calendar year. For instance, Kristaps Porzingis suffered a torn ACL in February of 2018 and missed the entire ’18/19 season. Klay Thompson tore his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals last June and won’t return for the Warriors until the start of the 2020/21 season.

Isaac projects to be one of the Magic’s cornerstone players going forward, so it makes sense for the team to set a conservative recovery timeline for him. Perhaps if the start of the 2020/21 season gets pushed back by several months, Orlando would reconsider Isaac’s return date, but for now it sounds like we shouldn’t expect to see him back on the court before ’21/22.

That timeline means Isaac may be on a new contract by the time he plays his next game. He’ll be eligible for a rookie scale extension during the 2020 offseason and will be a restricted free agent in 2021 if he and the Magic don’t reach a new deal before then.

Isaac’s knee injury may negatively impact his leverage when he negotiates his next deal, but if his recovery is progressing well, the Magic will likely still be confident about investing in him long term — Porzingis and Thompson, for instance, both signed five-year, maximum-salary contracts before they’d returned from their respective ACL tears.

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10 thoughts on “Magic Expect Jonathan Isaac To Miss 2020/21 Season

  1. They’d be foolish to max him. Before his mere 34 games this year, he wasn’t anything too special, though trending upward. With this massive injury plus the durability question marks, going more than 4 years seems risky. It’s anyone’s guess whether he will return to the player we saw for those 34 games. I wouldn’t go over 4/$80m.

    • Luke Adams

      To be clear, didn’t mean for the Porzingis/Klay comparisons to imply that Isaac should get the max too — they’re just examples of guys who got paid big money while they were still recovering from the same injury.

  2. Sillivan

    Zach LaVine has ACL in 2017
    He got 18 million per
    Does LaVine look different?

  3. Sillivan

    Klay Thompson
    True value 4 years 100 million
    Actual contract 190 million

    I made a huge mistake on 34 years Al Horford contract
    Last year I thought his true value is 3 years 60 million
    Actual contract 109 million

  4. KnickerbockerAl

    Isaac hasn’t done anything. Why would they be thinking contract. He needs to play first. Mavs didn’t sign KP hurt. He was already healed. Just needed to get in basketball shape. He was traded a yr after injury. Knicks didn’t want to pay.
    Magic should just move Gordon to Warriors. Move Vucevic for picks. Tank and get ready for a very good draft next yr. That’s what I do.

    • El Don

      Vucevic is a keeper! He just played at historic level in this playoffs against the best D in the league!
      28/11/4 to go with 50/41/91!!!
      I wouldn’t get rid of him unless I am getting a pair of all-stars or a whole bunch of unprotected lottery picks!
      JI, Gordon & the rest of the team, yes get rid of, even for a bag of peanuts!

  5. Tonyb45

    This kid would have been on the all defensive team had he stayed healthy. He would have even been in consideration for dpoy. I wouldnt judge him so quick. The first steps of his journey have only taken place a couple years from now he could be the premier defender in the league

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