Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel has brought closure to the minor Orlando Magic story concerning their disinclination to add another point guard to the roster after Jason Williams' knee surgery, which will keep the deep-reserve point guard off the court for the next three to four weeks.
The reason, according to Schmitz? "Money." He adds that he's "not buying that excuse," given the team's already high payroll. But coach Stan Van Gundy told Schmitz the team wants to avoid having to pay a player if he gets injured, as was the case in 2008 when non-roster invitee Mike Wilks shredded his knee in a preseason game against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Wilks' knee injury was a career setback for him, but it may have proven advantageous for the Magic. Hear me out here, please, because I know this idea is a bit morbid.
Rather than waiving Wilks to clear a roster spot--and having to pay him anyway--Orlando hung onto him after his injury in case it needed him for salary-matching purposes in a trade, which makes sense, because his salary became fully guaranteed as soon as it was determined the injury would end his season. True enough, the Magic did indeed need Wilks' salary as ballast in the three-team deal which netted them Rafer Alston at the 2009 trading deadline. Orlando shipped Wilks' contract, Adonal Foyle, and the 29th pick in that year's Draft to the Memphis Grizzlies while getting Alston, who eventually steered it into the Finals, from the Houston Rockets.
I'm not saying that the Magic should sign a minimum-salary point guard and expect the same situation to play out again. But having to pay a one-year minimum salary to an injured player sure as heck beats having to pay a maximum salary to an injured player. The cheaper ones are easier to trade.
In a poll I conducted last week, 77 percent of respondents said the Magic didn't need to sign another point guard, compared to 16 percent saying it was necessary, so I assume this decision will go over well with the fanbase.