NBA Contracts: The Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic have been in rebuild mode since Dwight Howard left in 2012. The team is still recovering from the dreadful 2016 summer when the cap went up $20 million and some of the worst contracts ever were signed. After years of lottery picks the Magic are looking trying to find a way to contend for a playoff spot in the east.

The Good

Nikola Vucevic is currently playing like a guy who is in his contract year. He is averaging 21.0 points per game so far this season on 55% from the field. Both would be career highs if he maintains it for the rest of the season. He is making $12.75 million this year, which makes him a potential trade piece. Some team might have an injury close to the trade deadline or just be looking for an extra piece to help in the playoffs.

The Magic should try to move this guy at some point before the trade deadline. The money that they will have to pay him to resign is too much for a slow center in today’s guard centered league. They have some good young talent and should try to focus on the future rather than making the playoffs this season.

Aaron Gordon’s contract is one that the NBA can see teams starting to model their future paperwork after in the future. His contract is front-loaded instead of backloaded. The 23-year-old is making $21 million dollars this year and drops by $2 million in each of the next three years. This allows the magic more room to add talent around Gordon and Bamba when they could hypothetically be a playoff team in the East. It is also a reasonable contract for a 23-year-old who has shown improvement in every season. Teams need to try modeling their deals after this one because the front-loaded contract gives teams more flexibility if the player does not live up to the expectations.

The Bad

Evan Fournier is currently in the third year of a five year $85 million deal. He is known for his three-point shooting but is currently shooting 29% from three this season. This is 6% worse than his worst season ever so one can assume this will revert to the norm as the season goes on. He has been a good player that can sneakily drop 30 points on a team any given night. He is a valuable asset to have on the floor when shooting well, but not quite $17 million a year valuable. Chances are he will opt into the last year of his deal for the 2020-21 season. It could be worse, but you’re not contending in the eastern conference with him as the main piece. This was a bad result of the 2016 summer, but not nearly their worst move.

The Ugly

Timofey Mozgov came into Orlando in a three-team trade that involved dumping Bizmack Biyombo’s contract to the Hornets and the magic receiving  Jerian Grant from the Bulls. Mozgov is an outdated post up big man, who does not fit in today’s NBA.

Biyombo, like Mozgov is not a perimeter threat and provides very little value. Biyombo has never averaged more than 6 points a game in a season. The Magic in that ever so wonderful 2016 summer decided to offer Biyombo a 4 year $70 million deal. An astounding $70 million for a bench player is not good business and neither is having to ship 2nd round draft picks out to get rid of his contract.

What is even worse for Orlando is that they still got stuck with the four year $64 million dollar contract the Lakers gave Mozgov in 2016. Mozgov has not played a minute for the magic yet this year and any minutes he plays will be taking away from the development of Mo Bamba. Mozgov’s contract along with Fournier’s is going to hamper the team financially.

The Rest

Terrance Ross is in the last year of his deal and is making $10 million this year. He is off to a good start averaging 15 points a game and shooting 40% from 3. A team that needs shooting like the Sixers could be a trade target for him. Jonathan Issac and Bamba are still on their rookie deals and are improving. The team, unfortunately, has very little flexibility due to overpaying Fournier and Biyombo.

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