The Magic consider their time at the Disney World complex to be a learning experience as they point toward next season, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. The loss of Al-Farouq Aminu, Mohamed Bamba, Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac and Michael Carter-Williams took away any chance for Orlando to be competitive with the top-seeded Bucks in the playoffs.
“If you go back to, say, our first day of training camp, I envisioned us being a much different team, obviously, than the team that I was speaking with in there,” coach Steve Clifford said after the Magic were eliminated Saturday. “To start the year, we envisioned being a size team that could be great defensively, playing Aaron and Jonathan and then Farouq as obviously a major part of our team. And none of those guys were in there today. It happens in this league, but we did have more than our fair share of bad luck this year with injuries, and not only in the bubble.”
The toughest loss was a torn ACL for Isaac, who was attempting a comeback from a knee injury that had sidelined him since January 1. Two days later, Carter-Williams suffered a strained tendon in his left foot, and then Gordon strained his left hamstring the next day.
“Milwaukee, they’re a championship-caliber team, and we hung in there because we had the right approach,” Clifford said. “We gave ourselves chances in every game but Game 3. It says a lot about the character of the guys in the locker room.”
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- Jae Crowder has been a valuable addition for the Heat, but management will be cautious about making a long-term investment, contends Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Miami may be planning to maximize cap room for a star-filled free agency market in 2021, and the front office learned from overvaluing players such as Tyler Johnson, James Johnson and Dion Waiters. Winderman believes Crowder might have to accept a large one-year contract if he wants to remain in Miami.
- Heat forward Chris Silva has a stress fracture in his left pubic bone and there’s no timetable for his return, the team announced in an email. Silva, who started the season on a two-way contract, appeared in 44 games but didn’t play in the first-round series against Indiana.
- Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports believes the Warriors have the trade assets to make a serious offer for Wizards guard Bradley Beal, but Washington may not be ready to rebuild before seeing what Beal and a healthy John Wall can do next season.