- Josh Robbins of The Athletic explores some potential trade scenarios for the Magic, expressing skepticism that the club will pursue veterans for a playoff push. Robbins also suggests, as he did earlier this season, that Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz look like the only Orlando players who are essentially untouchable in trade talks.
The DPE is worth $4,629,000, which is half of Aminu’s salary for this season. It can only be used to sign a player for the rest of the season or to trade or make a waiver claim for a player with an expiring contract. Orlando is safely below the tax line and may try to take advantage of the DPE before the March 10 deadline.
Unlike the hardship provision, the DPE also doesn’t give the team an extra roster spot. The Magic currently have a full roster, but Gary Clark is on a 10-day contract that will expire tomorrow. Orlando also applied for a $2,903,220 DPE for Jonathan Isaac and is still awaiting a decision from the league.
Aminu had surgery earlier this month to fix a torn meniscus in his right knee. The team said he would be re-evaluated in 12 weeks, but he wasn’t expected back before April. The NBA only grants DPEs when players are expected to be sidelined through at least June 15, so it appears likely that Aminu’s season is over. He has two seasons left on the three-year deal he signed with Orlando over the summer.
With the Pistons receiving a DPE for Blake Griffin earlier today, that brings the total to seven for the season, which ties a record set in 2017/18, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The Wizards ($4.36MM), Pelicans ($3.62MM), Trail Blazers ($2.85MM), Lakers ($1.75MM) and Nets ($839K) have already been granted DPEs, as our tracker shows.
- Magic forward Gary Clark hopes his defensive skills and rebounding will allow him to stick with the club, as he told David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders. Clark signed a 10-day contract after getting waived by the Rockets. “Just bringing some energy and knocking down shots. Being versatile defensively, being able to switch on multiple guys if need be, and use my athleticism,” Clark said. “Knocking down shots is one thing, but my activity on the glass on both ends has been solid.”
- Sixers coach Brett Brown is pleased that 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz has revived his career with the Magic after his struggles in Philadelphia, Rich Hofmann of The Athletic tweets. “From a human standpoint, with complete sincerity, you’re happy for him,” Brown said. “It’s a journey that none of us could have imagined and good for him. Like he didn’t blink, he kept moving forward and I wish him well.”
- With Michael Carter-Williams still battling a shoulder injury and fellow point guard D.J. Augustin out for at least the next three or four weeks with a knee issue, Magic head coach Steve Clifford said he’d speak to president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman about whether or not the team will make a roster move, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Orlando has a full 15-man roster, but Gary Clark is on a 10-day contract.
The Magic will be without their primary backup point guard for at least the next few weeks, announcing on Thursday night in a press release that D.J. Augustin has been diagnosed with left knee bone irritation after undergoing an MRI.
Augustin will be re-evaluated in about three or four weeks, according to the Magic, who say that the veteran’s return will depend on how he responds to treatment.
It’s a tough turn of events for the Magic, who have had to deal with an increasing number of injuries in recent weeks. With forwards Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu on the shelf with long-term ailments, the club signed Gary Clark to a 10-day contract earlier this week, parting ways with point guard Josh Magette, since it seemed at the time as if Augustin was good to go.
However, Augustin’s knee pain returned and his injury now may sideline him until next month’s All-Star break. While Markelle Fultz has been a pleasant surprise for Orlando this season, enjoying one of the best games of his career on Wednesday, he’s the team’s only healthy point guard at the moment, as Michael Carter-Williams continues to be nagged by a shoulder injury.
The Magic would only qualify for a hardship exception – allowing them to add a 16th man – if Carter-Williams still projects to miss at least two more weeks after Augustin sits for a third consecutive game on Saturday. So the team may have to make do with its current roster and wait for MCW and Augustin to get healthy.
Augustin, whose numbers are down this season after an impressive 2018/19 campaign, will be looking to finish the season strong once he returns from his knee injury, as the Magic make a playoff push and he prepares for unrestricted free agency.
- One day after they ended point guard Josh Magette‘s 10-day contract, the Magic find themselves without D.J. Augustin (knee) and Michael Carter-Williams (shoulder) for Wednesday’s game vs. the Lakers. Asked about that roster decision, head coach Steve Clifford admitted that the return of Augustin’s knee soreness “caught us totally off-guard,” tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Magette 10-day deal would’ve run through January 20 if it hadn’t been terminated early.
The Magic have made a change at the back of their roster, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed forward Gary Clark to a 10-day contract, waiving guard Josh Magette to create room on their 15-man squad.
The timing of the move is interesting, as Magette signed a 10-day deal of his own on Saturday and had seven days left on it. He’ll still get his full 10-day salary ($81,678) despite his stint in Orlando being cut short.
[RELATED: Hoops Rumors’ 10-Day Contract Tracker]
While it’s unclear why the Magic moved on early from Magette, who had spent most of the season on a two-way deal, the team may have felt it had to move quickly to lock up Clark. Perhaps he had a two-way contract offer on the table from another team and had to make a decision on it by Wednesday’s two-way signing deadline.
Clark became a free agent last week when he was waived by the Rockets before his 2019/20 salary became guaranteed. After emerging as a rotation player as a rookie in Houston last season, the 25-year-old saw his minutes reduced down the stretch in 2018/19 and didn’t have a major role in ’19/20 either. In total, he appeared in 69 games for the Rockets over two seasons, averaging 3.2 PPG and 2.3 RPG with a .348/.312/.929 shooting line in 12.4 minutes per contest.
Clark’s new 10-day contract will run through January 23, giving him a chance to be active for up to five games with the Magic. He’ll help provide frontcourt depth with Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu on the shelf.
Magette had been playing on a two-way contract that he signed with Orlando in July. He has appeared in eight NBA games this season and is averaging 1.5 PPG in 4.8 minutes per night. The 30-year-old point guard posted a 19.0/4.7/9.3 line in 14 games with the Magic’s G League affiliate in Lakeland. He got into 18 games with the Hawks as a two-way player during the 2017/18 season.
With Magette’s two-way spot freed up, the Magic added Law, a 24-year-old forward out of Northwestern. Law, who was in training camp with Orlando and was waived prior to the start of the season, has impressed team officials with a strong season in Lakeland, where he’s averaging 18.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per night.
January is generally a month full of roster shuffling in the NBA. The opening of the 10-day contract period (January 5), the salary guarantee deadline (January 7), the two-way contract deadline (January 15), and the upcoming trade deadline (February 6) all incentivize teams to make changes to their rosters.
With those dates in mind, we’re taking a look today at which teams around the NBA still have openings on their 15-man rosters and which ones have a two-way contract slot available.
Listed below, with the help of our roster counts breakdown, are the teams that aren’t carrying full rosters.
Teams with an open 15-man roster spot:
- Denver Nuggets
- Golden State Warriors
- Note: The Warriors have two open roster spots.
- Houston Rockets
- Miami Heat
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Orlando Magic
- Portland Trail Blazers
Not carrying a full 15-man roster saves a team some money and gives that team the flexibility to add a player in a trade or on the buyout market. For most the teams listed above, the financial factor probably outweighs the roster-flexibility factor — the Warriors, Rockets, Heat, Thunder, and Trail Blazers are all in tax territory, while the Nuggets are close. Only the Magic don’t have immediate tax concerns.
It’s worth noting that because Golden State has two open roster spots, the team has a two-week window after waiving Marquese Chriss on Tuesday to get to the required minimum of 14 players. They’re expected to promote two-way player Damion Lee, which would open up a two-way contract slot.
Teams whose full 15-man rosters include at least one 10-day contract:
- Atlanta Hawks
- Brooklyn Nets
- Cleveland Cavaliers
Paul Watson is currently on a 10-day contract with the Hawks, while Justin Anderson has one with the Nets. Those deals will expire at the end of the day on January 15, so each team could open up a roster spot at that point by not re-signing Watson or Anderson to a second 10-day pact.
As for the Cavaliers, they have two players on 10-day contracts after re-signing Alfonzo McKinnie and Tyler Cook on Thursday. Those deals will run through January 18, at which time Cleveland could re-sign one or both players, or move forward with just 13 players for up to two weeks.
Teams with an open two-way contract slot:
- Phoenix Suns
The Suns have been the only NBA team carrying just one two-way player all season long. Phoenix has its own G League affiliate and two-way contracts don’t count against the cap at all, so the franchise’s motivation for not filling that spot remains unclear. While there’s no indication a move is imminent, it would be surprising if the Suns don’t sign a second two-way player before the January 15 deadline.
- “There is chatter coming from Orlando” related to forward Aaron Gordon, one executive tells Amick. However, a source with knowledge of the Warriors‘ activity gave Amick a hard “no” when asked specifically about the possibility of the Magic trading Gordon for D’Angelo Russell. Another source said a Russell deal is “unlikely” to happen this season, Amick adds.