A source tells Price that the team isn’t expected to submit a qualifying offer to Bamba before today’s deadline. That would make the fourth-year center unrestricted and take away the Magic’s opportunity to match any offer he receives in free agency.
Bamba’s qualifying offer would be $10.1MM and it would provide him with the option of signing it and returning to the Magic next season. He has been with Orlando since being selected with the sixth pick in the 2018 draft.
The team remains interested in keeping Bamba when free agency begins, Price adds, but presumably at a lower figure. A sign-and-trade deal also remains a possibility.
Several teams are expected to pursue Bamba on the free agent market, with a source telling Price that the Raptors, Knicks, Lakers, Bulls, Rockets, Heat and Timberwolves have all shown interest.
Bamba is coming off his best NBA season, posting career highs with 10.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.2 assists per game. He became a full-time starter for the first time in his career, starting 69 of the 71 games that he played.