Magic Rumors

Sixers Expected To Add Peter Dinwiddie, Prosper Karangwa To Front Office

4:42pm: Dinwiddie will become the Sixers’ executive vice president of basketball operations, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).


1:40pm: Having vowed to make changes to their front office this offseason, the Sixers are expected to bring in Pacers executive Peter Dinwiddie and Magic executive Prosper Karangwa to join GM Elton Brand‘s group, reports Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Dinwiddie has been with the Pacers for nearly a decade and a half, getting his start in ticket sales before eventually transitioning to a front office role, as Scott Agness detailed in a story for The Athletic last year. He received a promotion in 2017 from VP of basketball operations to senior VP of basketball ops, and has played a key role in Indiana’s salary cap management.

Karangwa, meanwhile, joined the Magic as a scout in 2012 after spending several years playing professionally overseas. He was promoted through the department in recent years and was named Orlando’s director of scouting in 2019.

It’s not clear yet what titles Dinwiddie and Karangwa will have in the Sixers’ front office, but reports since August have indicated the team was looking at changing its front office personnel and structure.

The expectation is that Brand will retain his GM role – or receive a promotion and a new title, per Pompey – and be the primary decision-maker going forward, but there are a number of changes happening around him. Executive VP of basketball operations Alex Rucker isn’t expected to return and – as we wrote on Thursday – VP of strategy Sergi Olivia has also left the organization.

Eastern Notes: Sixers, Raptors, Pistons, Magic

Former Kings head coach Dave Joerger is under consideration to join Doc Rivers‘ coaching staff with the Sixers, according to Frank Isola (Twitter link). Joerger, who also coached the Grizzlies, interviewed for the Pacers’ head-coaching vacancy earlier this month.

As things stand, Rivers has not finalized his coaching staff in Philadelphia. Derek Bodner of The Athletic looked at several candidates last week who could join Rivers on the sidelines next season. Some of the names mentioned were Tyronn Lue, Sam Cassell, Armond Hill, and Rex Kalamian.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic considers possible free-agent center targets for the Raptors, explaining that center is a pressing need for Toronto, even if the team re-signs Serge Ibaka or Marc Gasol. Murphy breaks down multiple free-agent targets into three tiers based on the Raptors’ financial situation, identifying Montrezl Harrell and Danilo Gallinari as expensive options while naming the likes of Jakob Poeltl and Noah Vonleh as more affordable alternatives.
  • In his latest mailbag, Rod Beard of The Detroit News suggests that Tyrese Haliburton or Killian Hayes would be a good pick for the Pistons in the 2020 draft. “Most mock drafts I’ve seen have one of those two available, and if they come out with either, they’d be happy with the pick, because they’d have filled a big roster gap,” he writes. The Pistons currently own the seventh overall pick, which means they’re in a prime position to take the best player available. Both Haliburton and Hayes are expected to be lottery picks next month.
  • Josh Robbins of The Athletic discusses the potential offseason moves that could be in store for the Magic in his latest mailbag. One of the questions that Robbins answered concerned the future of Evan Fournier. The 27-year-old guard has a $17.2M player option for the 2020/21 season, which he could ultimately decline next month. However, Robbins believes Fournier will likely accept the option due to the dip in NBA revenue as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Last season with Orlando, he averaged 18.5 PPG and shot 39.9% from three-point range.

Community Shootaround: Eastern Conference Odds For 2020/21

The Heat lost just three games during the first three rounds against their playoff opponents in the East en route to an NBA Finals appearance this year, eliminating three of the top four seeds in the conference in the process. However, Miami’s impressive postseason run hasn’t made the team the favorite to come out of the East in 2021, according to oddsmakers.

At BetOnline.ag, the Heat are listed at +450 to win the Eastern Conference in ’21, meaning you’d win $450 on a $100 wager should Miami repeat as conference champs. The Bucks (+375), Celtics (+425), and Nets (+425) are currently considered more likely to represent the East in next year’s NBA Finals.

The rest of the odds to win the East next year are as follows, per BetOnline.ag:

  • Raptors: +750
  • Sixers: +1200
  • Bulls: +3300
  • Hawks: +3300
  • Pacers: +3300
  • Wizards: +3300
  • Magic: +10000
  • Cavaliers: +12500
  • Knicks: +12500
  • Pistons: +12500
  • Hornets: +17500

It’s obviously way too early to forecast the outcome of the 2020/21 season with any confidence. The draft and free agency are still to come, and we don’t know yet which teams will make major splashes on the trade market. If Victor Oladipo is dealt from Indiana to another Eastern team, for example, it could significantly change the conference’s outlook for next season.

Still, anticipated roster moves are at least somewhat baked into BetOnline’s current odds — if the Pacers had a ton of cap room to use this offseason and Oladipo and Myles Turner weren’t viewed as potential trade candidates, it’s a safe bet that they wouldn’t be listed alongside lottery teams Chicago, Atlanta, and Washington on the list above.

So, with the caveat that plenty could change in the coming months to alter the outlook of the East for the 2020/21 season, we want to get your thoughts on the early projections from oddsmakers.

Should the Bucks be considered the favorites to win the East? Should the Heat be listed higher than fourth among Eastern teams? Are the Nets or other teams being overvalued? Are the Pacers or other teams being undervalued? Which team do you like to come out of the East next season? And which club do you view as the best value pick based on the odds listed above?

Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your early forecast for the Eastern Conference in 2020/21!

Knicks Looking To Trade Down In Draft?

The Knicks will try to trade down from their lottery spot unless James Wiseman or LaMelo Ball slide to the eighth spot, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Considering both players are expected to be selected in the top five, the Knicks sound likely to be actively shopping the pick. Wiseman is ranked as the top big man in the draft and No. 3 overall on ESPN’s best available list, while Ball is ranked No. 2 overall behind fellow guard Anthony Edwards.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the Knicks want to move out of the lottery. They’ve discussed the idea of moving into the 12-15 range and acquire a player on a rookie contract as part of the deal, per Berman.

New York could have plenty of company in terms of teams seeking to move down, as the November 18 draft is generally considered weak with no surefire stars.

Berman shares some other insights:

  • The Magic, who hold the No. 15 pick, have some interest in Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. and that could lead to a broader deal.
  • The Knicks could package the No. 27 overall pick, acquired from the Clippers in the Marcus Morris three-team deal, and their second-rounder at No. 38 to move into the middle of the first round.
  • Kentucky shooting guard Tyrese Maxey is a player the Knicks are eying, according to Berman, who notes Maxey’s connection to former Kentucky assistant and new Knicks assistant Kenny Payne. Maxey is rated No. 15 on ESPN’s list.

Construction Delayed On Magic's New Practice Facility

  • The coronavirus pandemic has slowed construction of the Magic‘s new practice facility, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic, who says that team officials are now hopeful the project will be completed by December 1, 2021. The original target date was September 2021.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Magic, Chealey, Butler

The Wizards will have several options available to them to improve their roster this offseason. In the second installment of a two-part chat, David Aldridge and Fred Katz of The Athletic discuss the many paths towards improvement the team could take.

Aldridge posits that some teams may be looking to sell off late first-round picks for cash considerations, and suggests Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard look into procuring one, while Katz discusses the possibility of using the team’s mid-level exception to add a veteran big man. The Wizards, who finished with the ninth seed during the NBA’s summer restart in Orlando, will have the Nos. 9 and 37 picks in this year’s draft at their disposal.

There’s more out of the NBA’s Southeast Division:

  • The Magic departed the league’s Disney campus after a 4-1 first round defeat to the Bucks. Now, Josh Robbins of The Athletic assesses the rise or fall of Orlando players’ “stocks” around the league. Potential free agents Gary Clark and James Ennis are both assessed to be on the ascent.
  • Hornets guard Joe Chealey will not partake in the team’s training camp this month after suffering a lower leg injury, the team tweeted.
  • Heat All-Star wing Jimmy Butler has taken just 14, 11 and 13 field goal attempts in the first three games of Miami’s Eastern Conference Finals series with the Celtics. Despite the Heat’s 2-1 lead, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wonders if Butler needs to correct his relative passivity on offense. “No matter how many shots I take, no matter how many points I score, our job is to win,” Butler said after a Heat practice Tuesday. Butler’s signing as a free agent in 2019 and the improvement of Bam Adebayo have helped push the Heat to the brink of their first NBA Finals appearance since 2014.

2020 NBA Offseason Preview: Orlando Magic

Hoops Rumors is previewing the 2020 offseason for all 30 NBA teams. We’re looking at the key questions facing each club, as well as the roster decisions they’ll have to make this fall. Today, we’re focusing on the Orlando Magic.


Salary Cap Outlook

The Magic currently have approximately $96MM in guaranteed money on their books for 2020/21. That figure would increase to over $102MM if they use this year’s first-round pick and sign last year’s first-round pick, Chuma Okeke. And it would jump to nearly $120MM if Evan Fournier opts into the final year of his contract.

Whether or not Fournier returns, Orlando is unlikely to have any cap room available this offseason, but the team shouldn’t have to worry about going into tax territory. The Magic would have the full mid-level exception ($9.3MM) and bi-annual exception ($3.6MM) available, but almost certainly wouldn’t use both in full if Fournier is back.

Our full salary cap preview for the Magic can be found right here.


Roster Decisions To Watch

Options:

Non-Guaranteed Contracts:

  • None

Two-Way Contracts:

Free Agents:


2020 Draft Assets

First Round:

  • No. 15 overall pick

Second Round:

  • No. 45 overall pick

The Magic were one of the few NBA teams that didn’t trade either their first- or second-round pick in the 2020 NBA draft. They’ll pick right in the middle of each round.


Three Key Offseason Questions

1. What’s the plan for Evan Fournier?

Before the coronavirus pandemic complicated the financial outlook for teams and players around the NBA, Fournier appeared likely to turn down the $17MM option on his contract in order to test the open market this offseason.

While $17MM is a lot of money to pass up, the stars seemed to be aligning for Fournier — he’s still in his prime (he turns 28 in October), plenty of teams were expected to be in the market for wings, and the Frenchman had put up some of the best numbers of his career, including 18.8 PPG on .470/.406/.820 shooting prior to the league’s hiatus.

However, an illness put a dent in Fournier’s production during the seeding games and the playoffs, and with the salary cap no longer expected to increase, the prospect of finding a team willing to pay him in the neighborhood of $17MM per year on a multiyear deal suddenly looks a whole lot more challenging.

That doesn’t mean Fournier is a lock to pick up his option. He and the Magic could work out a new multiyear contract that significantly increases his overall guarantee without necessarily assuring him of $17MM (or more) per year. A year ago, for instance, Jonas Valanciunas passed on a $17.6MM option in favor of a three-year contract worth $15MM per year, giving him more long-term security.

But the Magic, having already invested long-term in Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross, may be reluctant to do the same for another key contributor to a roster that has finished in the middle of the pack in each of the last few seasons. If that’s the case, Fournier’s safest bet would be to opt in and try his luck on the 2021 market.

If Fournier opts in, there’s nothing stopping the Magic from gauging his value on the trade market. He’d be on an expiring contract and his pre-hiatus play in 2019/20 was impressive — he could appeal to a team looking to add a complementary scorer on the wing.

2. Will the Magic extend Markelle Fultz or Jonathan Isaac?

While it remains to be seen if Fournier is part of the Magic’s long-term plans, all signs point to the team being willing to invest in Fultz and Isaac as cornerstone pieces. It’s just not clear whether that will happen this offseason, when both members of the 2017 draft class become eligible for rookie scale extensions for the first time.

Fultz, who has experienced a pretty unusual career trajectory for a No. 1 pick so far, stayed healthy for the first time in 2019/20 and flashed signs of the upside that made him the first overall choice three years ago. His ability to break down a defense and set up his teammates was on display in Orlando, as he averaged 12.1 PPG and 5.1 APG, but there’s still plenty of work to be done on his jump shot (.267 3PT%).

At age 22, Fultz still has plenty of growth potential. The Magic will have to determine how confident they are that he’ll continue to improve, how much they’re willing to bet on that growth, and whether Fultz will be willing to forgo restricted free agency in favor of an early extension.

If Orlando bets right on Fultz, it could mean getting him on a team-friendly extension as he blossoms into a star, which would change the long-term outlook of the franchise. On the other hand, investing big money in him now and then watching his development curve flatten would hamstring the organization’s spending ability going forward.

It’ll be a tough decision, so it will be interesting to see how high the Magic are willing to go — ESPN’s Bobby Marks suggests the team should wait for Fultz’s restricted free agency unless he’s open to signing a deal that starts in the neighborhood of his 2020/21 salary ($12.3MM).

As for Isaac, the blossoming Defensive Player of the Year contender would’ve been a more logical candidate for a rookie scale extension if he were healthy. Instead, he’ll be recovering from an ACL injury that’s expected to sideline him for the entire 2020/21 season, so the Magic will have to evaluate his recovery before making any major commitment.

The injury doesn’t mean Isaac can’t sign an extension in the coming months. We’ve seen players like Klay Thompson and Kristaps Porzingis get lucrative new long-term deals while recovering from ACL tears of their own, and all indications are that the Magic want Isaac to be a part of their future. Unlike Thompson and Porzingis though, Isaac isn’t a lock for a maximum-salary offer, so some negotiation will be required if the two sides are going to come to an agreement before the ’20/21 season begins.

3. Will Aaron Gordon be on the trade block?

Prior to Isaac’s injury, Gordon seemed like one of the NBA’s most logical offseason trade candidates. He and Isaac overlap positionally, his name has come up in previous trade rumors, and his contract gets more favorable with each passing year due to its declining annual value ($18.1MM in 2020/21; $16.4MM in ’21/22).

Now that Isaac will be out for the season though, Orlando figures to be less motivated to move Gordon. With the power forward position to himself in ’20/21, the 25-year-old could be primed for a career year, which would be a win-win situation for the Magic — not only would they enjoy the benefits of his production, but Gordon could increase his trade value ahead of the ’21 deadline and/or offseason.

Gordon’s athleticism and defensive versatility make him a tantalizing trade target, and if there’s a team willing to give up an appealing package for him this offseason, the Magic should certainly listen. Of the players the team would be open to moving, Gordon is the most intriguing, and he represents Orlando’s best chance to acquire an impact player who would be a better fit for the current roster.

If there are no favorable offers out there this fall or winter, however, the Magic shouldn’t be in any rush to shake things up. Gordon is in position to boost his value next season, and still has two years left on his contract, so unless something goes wrong, the club will have more opportunities to cash in its stock down the road.

Information from Basketball Insiders and ESPN was used in the creation of this post. Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jeff Weltman Discusses Magic's Future

  • In an extensive conversation with Josh Robbins of The Athletic, Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman discussed possible contract extensions for injured forward Jonathan Isaac and intriguing guard Markelle Fultz, the first pick in the 2017 NBA draft. “These circumstances (with the pandemic) obviously make things more difficult (to plan) than in a typical summer,” Weltman said. “But we’ll have conversations with them at the appropriate time.”

Pacers Identify 14 Head Coaching Candidates

The Pacers are set to begin a wide-ranging search for a head coach that will include more than a dozen candidates, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. As Wojnarowski details, Indiana is looking to interview the following candidates as the team seeks a replacement for Nate McMillan:

  • Former Kings and Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger
  • Timberwolves associate head coach David Vanterpool
  • Nets associate head coach Jacque Vaughn
  • Trail Blazers associate head coach Nate Tibbetts
  • Spurs assistants Becky Hammon and Will Hardy
  • Heat assistants Dan Craig and Chris Quinn
  • Mavericks assistants Jamahl Mosley and Stephen Silas
  • Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee
  • Sixers assistant Ime Udoka
  • Magic assistant Pat Delany

It remains to be seen whether the Pacers will be granted permission to speak with all of their potential targets. If they do, the team’s first round of virtual meetings would feature at least 14 interviews.

Many of the Pacers’ coaching candidates identified by Wojnarowski have been linked to other vacancies around the league. Vanterpool, Craig, Mosley, Silas, Ham, and Udoka, for example, are all believed to be interviewing for the Bulls’ job. Udoka and Ham have also been mentioned as potential 76ers candidates, as has Joerger. Vaughn was seriously considered for the Nets job before the team hired Steve Nash, while Hardy and Delany interviewed with the Knicks before they hired Tom Thibodeau.

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Others on Indiana’s list, such as Tibbetts and Hammon, have interviewed in past years for various NBA head coaching openings. Only a couple candidates – Quinn and Lee – haven’t received head coaching consideration in the past, as far as I can tell. Meanwhile, Joerger and Vaughn are the only names on the list with previous head coaching experience.

Mike D’Antoni has also been mentioned as a potential target for the Pacers, but he remains active in the postseason with the Rockets and there’s no guarantee he’ll leave Houston when his contract expires.

Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard has spoken about wanting to hire a head coach who takes a “modern approach” to the game and has the ability to connect with younger players. McMillan’s old-school approach to offense was believed to be one reason why Indiana made a change.

Mo Bamba Cleared; Vucevic Earns Redemption

Magic center Mohamed Bamba is eager to leave his coronavirus difficulties in the past after having to depart Orlando early due to complications from the virus, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel writes.

  • Magic center Nikola Vucevic earned redemption after a record-setting first-round playoff series against the Bucks, Parry writes in a separate story for the Orlando Sentinel. Vucevic averaged 28 points and 11 rebounds in five games, shooting 51% from the field and 40% from deep — a noticeable improvement from last year’s dismal first-round performance against the Raptors. “He’s been inside and outside,” coach Steve Clifford said of Vucevic. “He’s done it all. He creates so much offense for our team and he puts so much pressure on the defense because of the nature of how he plays.”