Magic Notes: F. Wagner, Carter, Banchero, FA Targets

Magic forward Franz Wagner, who has missed the past two games with a sprained right ankle, returned to action on Friday in Philadelphia in a matchup with major playoff implications (Twitter link via the team).

Wagner is a critical piece for Orlando, having averaged 19.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.8 APG and 1.0 SPG through 70 games (32.4 MPG). Orlando has a 43-27 record with the 22-year-old in the starting lineup, but has gone just 3-7 in games he has missed.

The No. 8 overall pick of the 2021 draft, Wagner will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer.

Here are a few more notes on the Magic:

  • While Wagner’s return was a positive development, center Wendell Carter Jr. picked up a pair of early fouls defending Joel Embiid and was wincing when he exited the court in the first quarter, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Carter is questionable to return to the game due to back spasms, according to the Magic (Twitter link).
  • 2022 No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero achieved his preseason goal of becoming an All-Star, and he would be thrilled if he earns a spot on an All-NBA team, he told Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. “Honestly, this year was more … I was trying to be an All-Star,” Banchero said. “But if (All-NBA) was to happen, that would be awesome. It’s an exclusive club, you know what I mean?
  • As Fischer writes, Banchero has developed nicely in his second season, becoming a better screen-setter both on and off the ball as well as a more advanced play-maker. “That was something that really took on itself this year. Understanding that it starts with me, it starts with Franz,” Banchero said. “Just everyone understanding their role and how important their role is. We need everybody. There have been games where (Jonathan Isaac) has single-handedly shut down a guy, and it’s lifted us to get a win. There’s been times where I’ve had to score the last 18 points of the game just to keep us afloat. There’s been times where Franz took over. Where Jalen (Suggs) took over. We just need everybody. I think it’s translating into a lot of success.”
  • In the same story, Fischer cites league sources who say rival teams expect Orlando to target shooters and scorers like Warriors wing Klay Thompson or Kings guard Malik Monk in free agency. Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, who covers Golden State, recently said it was “one of the worst-kept secrets in the league” that the Magic may offer Thompson “a ton of money” this offseason.
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