Newly-acquired point guard Jerian Grant expected to have a bigger role with the Magic than he had with the Bulls, John Denton of the team’s website reports. Grant was traded to Orlando as part of a three-team deal also involving the Hornets. He’ll compete with D.J. Augustin for the starting job. “I’ve improved and learned a lot about the game – about how you have to be aggressive, know the game and know your teammates,’’ Grant told Denton. “Being that point guard, it’s the toughest position in the league and you’ve got to bring it every night. I feel that with this opportunity, I’m ready to take advantage of.”
In other developments involving the Magic:
- Center Timofey Mozgov was the other player acquired in the trade but it’s uncertain what his role will be, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports. Mozgov has two years and $32.72MM remaining on his contract but Orlando has three other centers on the roster, including Nikola Vucevic, lottery pick Mohamed Bamba and Khem Birch. “He’s very bright,” coach Steve Clifford said of Mozgov. “He’s a big body, and he’s a much better athlete than people give him credit for. So we’ll see. We’ll bring them in and start to get to know them.”
- Forward Aaron Gordon said that reaching a multi-year agreement with the club brought tears to his eyes, Denton writes in a separate piece. Gordon was relieved to sign a four-year, $80MM contract after entering the month as a restricted free agent. “I’m a guy who naturally has a lot of energy, so with all of that [pressure of getting an agreement] piled on top of me, I was pacing,” he said. “It’s relief that we got it done and even more relief that I can come back to Orlando.”
- The Magic have signed guard Troy Caupain to a two-way contract. Caupain played for their G League team last season. Get all the details here.
The Magic have filled one of their two-way contract slots, with the team confirming today in a press release that it has signed Troy Caupain to a two-way deal. Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel first broke word of the agreement after a report in late June indicated that the two sides were discussing a potential two-way contract.
[RELATED: 2018/19 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker]
Caupain and the Magic have an existing relationship dating back to last August, when the team first signed the undrafted Cincinnati guard to a training camp deal. Caupain was waived by Orlando before the 2017/18 regular season began, but joined the team’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic.
In 50 NBAGL games last season, Caupain filled up the stat sheet with 15.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 5.8 APG, and 1.4 SPG. While he didn’t get a chance to make his NBA debut in 2017/18, Caupain rejoined the Magic for Summer League play this month, and now will play on a two-way contract with the franchise in 2018/19.
The Magic were only carrying one two-way player – Jamel Artis – by the end of the ’17/18 league year, and opted not to extend a qualifying offer to Artis. That decision left both of Orlando’s two-way slots open for the coming year.
For more details on how two-way contracts work, be sure to check out our FAQ.
After re-signing Aaron Gordon to his four-year, $76MM deal, using part of their mid-level exception to reach agreements with rookies Melvin Frazier and Isaiah Briscoe, and adding a reliable backup point guard in Jerian Grant to spell incumbent starting point guard D.J. Augustin, the Magic are likely finished adding players to their roster through free agency this summer, reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
“We’re in a pretty good place with our financial flexibility, all things considered, but the roster is done as we sit here today,” Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman says. “We don’t feel like there are any holes that we need to shore up. We can always get better, and we’ll always be on the lookout for ways to get better. At this point, that would come probably more in the form of a trade if we were to do anything for the remainder of the summer.”
The Magic are currently projected to have a team salary around $110.9MM, assuming the team retains the services of backup guard Rodney Purvis, whose $1.4MM salary is non-guaranteed. Per Robbins, Orlando will also look to fill its open slots for two-way contracts and could bring in additional players on training camp deals.
The statement from Weltman all but puts to rest the speculation surrounding Isaiah Thomas, who was reported to be “negotiating a possible deal” with the Magic last week. Per Robbins, Orlando considered Thomas, but negotiations never took place, as the club believes Augustin is fully capable of leading this year’s squad.
“We’re always looking for ways to improve our roster at every position, but we are in capable hands with D.J.,” Weltman said. “D.J. is a very good player and he’s coming off the best year of his career under trying circumstances. D.J. represents what we want to be about: a professional who prepares, who plays for his teammates and who always brings the same personality to the team irrespective of the highs and lows of the season.”
Weltman also added that newly-acquired center Timofey Mozgov is not currently a candidate to be bought out, despite likely being buried on the depth chart behind Nikola Vucevic and heralded rookie Mohamed Bamba. Rather, the team hopes Mozgov will impact the team off the court through his experience and professionalism.
Should the Magic change their mind and decide to re-enter the free-agent fray, they still have nearly $7MM of their mid-level exception remaining after signing both Frazier and Briscoe to deals exceeding two seasons.
- Isaiah Briscoe‘s agreement with the Magic is a three-year, minimum-salary contract with a $500K guarantee in year one (Twitter link). It uses part of Orlando’s mid-level exception.
- The Magic‘s three-year contract with No. 35 pick Melvin Frazier starts at $1.05MM and is guaranteed for two years, with a third-year team option (Twitter link). It also uses part of Orlando’s mid-level exception.
JULY 8, 8:27am: The trade is now official, according to press releases from all three teams. In addition to receiving Biyombo, the Hornets will also acquire 2019 and 2020 second-round picks from the Magic. Orlando holds multiple second-rounders in each year, so it’s not yet clear which selections are changing hands.
“There were some elements of (the trade) that we were discussing individually the last few weeks, but the deal actually came together just [on Saturday],” said Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman. “It was really kind of a quick-hitter.”
The Bulls intend to waive Stone, per Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link).
JULY 7, 8:20pm: The trade has been agreed to in principle, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
JULY 7, 7:51pm: Charlotte, Chicago and Orlando are close to a trade that would send Timofey Mozgov to the Magic, Bismack Biyombo to the Hornets and Julyan Stone to the Bulls, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Bulls guard Jerian Grant will also go to Orlando in the deal, Woj adds (Twitter link).
The Hornets will give up more than $17MM in the trade between Mozgov’s $16MM salary for next season and Stone’s non-guaranteed $1,656,092. This will be the second trade of the summer for Mozgov, who was shipped from the Nets to the Hornets in a deal that became official yesterday. He has two years left on his current contract, with a $16.72MM salary for 2019/20.
In Biyombo, Charlotte picks up a shot blocker to replace Dwight Howard, who went to Brooklyn in the Mozgov deal. Biyombo’s contract is nearly in line with Mozgov’s, paying him $17MM in 2018/19, with a player option for the same amount the following season. Orlando breaks up a logjam at center that had existed since drafting Mohamed Bamba, while Mozgov becomes the third-string center in Orlando and probably won’t see much more playing time than he did in Brooklyn.
Chicago plays a minor role in the trade, creating modest savings by sending out Grant’s $2,639,314 salary in exchange for Stone’s non-guaranteed figure. The Bulls could be looking to shed any salary they can before their expected matching of the Kings’ offer sheet for Zach LaVine.
Stone’s guarantee date is August 1, posts Bobby Marks on ESPN Now, and the Bulls can increase their cap room to $16MM by letting him go and getting rid of Noah Vonleh‘s cap hold. Taking on Biyombo’s contract pushes the Hornets up to $120.3MM in salary with 14 guaranteed deals, just $3.4MM under the luxury tax.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
JULY 7: Per Robbins, the four-year deal between Gordon and the Magic only amounts to $76MM in total value, with an average annual salary of $19MM. Gordon’s 2018/19 salary will be worth $21,590,909, decreasing by 8% of that amount each season through 2022.
JULY 6: The Magic have officially completed the signing of Gordon, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter links), who notes that the annual salaries on the deal will decline each season, creating slightly more cap flexibility for Orlando in future years.
JULY 1: The Magic have reached an agreement on a four-year deal with restricted free agent Aaron Gordon, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Charania reports that the four-year agreement will be worth $84MM, for an average annual value of $21MM.
According to Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link), no team or player options are included in the agreement. Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) first reported that the Magic and Gordon were closing in on a deal.
Gordon had been a restricted free agent, so while he could have agreed to a new contract with another team, Orlando would have had the right to match any offer sheet he signed. As such, it made sense for the two sides to negotiate a new deal directly.
Gordon, 22, enjoyed a breakout season for the Magic in 2017/18. After averaging 9.7 PPG and 5.3 RPG in his first three years in the NBA, the former fourth overall pick upped his numbers to 17.6 PPG and 7.9 RPG in 58 games last season.
Gordon’s shooting numbers were slightly down in 2017/18, as he posted a career-worst .434 FG%. However, that was largely a result of his increased willingness to launch outside shots. Gordon attempted 5.9 threes per game, knocking them down at a 33.6% rate.
Although Gordon suggested multiple times as his free agency approached that he’d love to land a maximum-salary contract, that was always a long shot, given the lack of cap space available around the NBA. Still, the former Arizona Wildcat did well to land a guarantee in excess of $80MM. It’s the largest overall free agent commitment so far in 2018 for a player who didn’t get a max deal.
[RELATED: 2018 NBA Free Agent Tracker]
With Gordon back in the fold, the Magic will be an over-the-cap team and will have the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions available if they continue to explore free agent signings.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), the word in Las Vegas is that the Magic discussed a potential deal with Isaiah Thomas, but are unlikely to complete an agreement at this time, preferring to maintain flexibility to see what other opportunities develop. As Kyler notes, a patient approach to free agency helped net the club Jonathon Simmons last summer after San Antonio eventually withdrew Simmons’ qualifying offer.
A 6’6″ guard out of Tulane, Frazier was the 35th player selected in this year’s draft.
He spent three years with the Green Wave and was named AAC Most Improved Player this season while earning second team all-conference honors. He averaged 15.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game and shot .385 from 3-point range.
JULY 6: The Magic have officially signed Briscoe, tweets Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel.
Briscoe, 22, declared for the 2017 draft as an early entrant out of Kentucky, but wasn’t selected last June. Although he caught on with the Trail Blazers for training camp last fall, the youngster didn’t make Portland’s regular-season roster, and was cut in October.
Rather than heading to the G League, Briscoe began his professional career overseas, signing with BC Kalev in Estonia. He had a big year as a rookie, averaging 16.0 PPG and 4.3 APG in 23 games and winning a title with the club.
If Briscoe earns a spot on the Magic’s regular-season roster, he’ll likely slot in as their third-string point guard, tweets Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando may still be eyeing another Isaiah for a spot higher on the depth chart — a report earlier this week indicated that the team was talking to Isaiah Thomas about a possible deal.