In the last week, former Orlando Magic teammates Mike Miller and Tracy McGrady have expressed an interest in returning to Orlando during this summer's free-agency period. Here are Miller's comments, which he made after his Washington Wizards suffered a 27-point defeat to Orlando last night, via Andrew Melnick of Howard the Dunk:
"Look at what they have. For a shooter that is a dream come true. It would be exciting to go in there. Not only do they have a big guy who they have a chance to double, but they have shooters around the horn. It would be fun a experience for sure."
And here's McGrady, from Marc Berman of the New York Post:
"I hated it that I left. I hated I left because I established myself there and made a name for myself. It was a situation where the GM [John Weisbrod] that was there made a huge mistake."
"I think it's possible they'll get back to The Finals," McGrady said. "And if you add me to the mix, I like Orlando. We'll see."
Additionally, Brian Schmitz reports that McGrady has spoken to Magic shooting guard Vince Carter, his cousin, about returning to Orlando.
As Melnick notes, the Magic might have some voids to fill on the wings this summer. It's unlikely that they'll be able to re-sign J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes; Redick's a restricted free-agent with a $3.9 million qualifying offer, while Barnes can opt out of his $1.6 million deal for next season in order to seek a raise. Both players figure to command more than that on the open market, perhaps the full mid-level exception for each. Should the Magic lose one, Miller or McGrady might become viable alternatives, as they'll be cheaper.
Obviously, there are downsides. Miller's had trouble staying healthy, and though he's still a deadeye shooter--he's posted a True Shooting percentage of better than 58.8 in each of the last 6 seasons, and he's second among swingmen (minimum: 30 minutes per game) at 60.8% this season--he's spent each of the last 3 years trying to re-invent himself as a point forward, and has thus passed up numerous open shot attempts. Also, his lateral mobility is more-or-less gone, which makes him a defensive liability.
McGrady has his own set of red flags, as he's recovering from microfracture knee surgery and still trying to figure out how to play without the benefit of the all-world athleticism that helped him win back-to-back scoring titles in 2002/03 and 2003/04. Oh, and the way he sulked his way out of Orlando after that disastrous 21-61 season has made him Public Enemy No. 1 in the eyes of most Magic fans. Owner Rich DeVos, who'd be footing the luxury-tax bill once again next year, might be loathe to pay the man who publicly trashed his franchise after demanding--and being granted--a trade.
So they're likely not going to be the Magic's top options this summer, and I believe GM Otis Smith will focus on finding ways to retain Redick and Barnes before looking at external free agents. And, having spent the full mid-level exception on Mickael Pietrus just 2 summers ago, he might be less inclined to add more salary at that position when backup point guard--Jameer Nelson's the only point guard under contract for next season--is a bigger concern. Still, both Miller and McGrady want to return, and the Magic may indeed have a need for them.
So, which would you prefer the Magic pursue, and at what contract terms? Is either preferable to Redick or Barnes? Is adding another swingman over age 30 a wise investment?