The United States Postal Service does not deliver on Sundays, but Orlando Pinstriped Post is not the United States Postal Service. Let's dig into some of the Orlando Magic questions you've submitted.
Before we begin, here's a reminder: Tyler Lashbrook and I are always taking your questions. Email them to OPPMailbag@gmail.com or post them on the OPP Facebook page.
Away we go.
Who do you believe will be the starting five next year?
Barring a trade, the Magic's roster is set. Once Orlando officially signs Ronnie Price, it'll be finished making additions via free agency. So we can at least try to answer this question now.
Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, and Nik Vučević are safe bets to start at point guard, shooting guard, and center, respectively. It's difficult to imagine any of those three guys transitioning to a bench role.
The forward spots are open, it would appear. If Glen Davis were healthy, then he'd be a solid bet to start at power forward, but he's not healthy; there's no guarantee he'll be ready for training camp, given the setback that he suffered regarding the broken bone in his right foot.
The signing of Jason Maxiell would seem to signal, in part, some doubt within the Magic organization that Davis will feel 100 percent for opening night. It's not hard to envision Maxiell getting some of Davis' minutes at starting power forward and at backup center.
I think small forward is Maurice Harkless' job to lose. He did, after all, get 59 starts as a rookie and the Magic did not add any small forwards in the offseason. Tobias Harris could challenge him here, but I think he's best suited to come off the bench. For one thing, Harris is a scorer, first and foremost, and there's some sense in ensuring that at least one guy off the bench can put the ball in the basket. But for another, Harris is best suited to play power forward, where he can create mismatches with his speed and his ability to create for himself off the bounce.
That's just one way the starting five could shake out. It's possible that Victor Oladipo could earn a starting spot as well, which would most likely shift Afflalo to small forward and Harkless to the bench. The problem with this lineup is size: at 6-foot-4, Oladipo figures to give up inches to most opposing two-guards. So to will the 6-foot-5 Afflalo to most small forwards. Opposing wings could post up against either of those two and enjoy a significant mismatch, perhaps drawing an extra defender and further opening up the weak side of the floor for a ball-reversal.
Oladipo and Afflalo will surely spend some time together in 2013/14, but I'm not sure that opening games with that pairing is the best idea for Orlando.
Henrik asks, via Facebook:
What means the signing of Maxiell for a possible trade involving Davis or Andrew Nicholson?
Probably nothing. A good segment of Magic fans reacted to the news of the Maxiell signing by saying it means Davis is on his way out, but I don't see it that way at all. As I mentioned in the above answer, I think Maxiell represents insurance for Davis' health than anything else. Further, Maxiell is on a short-term deal, so it's not as though he's part of the Magic's core.
It's true that Orlando is well stocked at power forward and center. That sort of depth makes a trade easier, but it does not signal that a deal is imminent.
Nicholson is in an interesting spot, though. Once everyone is fully healthy, he'll have Davis, Maxiell, and Harris ahead of him on the depth chart, in some order. And yet it's difficult not to play him because he provides two skills--efficient scoring and low-post offense--of which the Magic are in short supply. Swapping him for a similar-salaried player at a different position, perhaps small forward, would seem to make sense, as doing so would help balance the roster.
But you hate to part with a young, skilled, cheap contributor, especially if you're primarily doing it to give minutes to veterans who aren't in your team's long-term plans. I am curious to see how Rob Hennigan, the team's general manager, sorts out the glut of Orlando's bigs.
What about Ray McCallum? He slipped to the second round and ended up in Sacramento. They have a full back court (Greivis [Vásquez], [Isaiah] Thomas, [Ben] McLemore, [Marcus] Thornton) but he is exceeding expectations in summer league showings. They are not exactly in full rebuild/tank mode like Orlando and Phoenix. Could we work a deal with them?
Since you sent this message, Sacramento has inked McCallum to a three-year, fully guaranteed contract, so it would appear that he's in the Kings' future plans. Second-round picks do not usually get such lucrative deals, so it's clear that Sacramento values him going forward.
But the Kings do, as ever, have a glut of guards. Thomas and Vásquez stand out as potential Magic trade targets, given their talent level and their position. Thomas is probably the most talented of the two, despite his lack of height: guards who can shoot and run the pick-and-roll are valuable commodities, and the Magic could really use his scoring touch. The fact that Thomas is worth significantly more than his league-minimum salary makes trading for him difficult. The Magic would need to absorb a bad contract from Sacramento--perhaps John Salmons' or Chuck Hayes'--and send back some talent in return. The Kings need a small forward, which makes Orlando a poor trading partner in that regard.
The same issues apply to Vásquez: he's set to earn slightly more than $2 million in 2013/14, which salary is significantly less than his real value.
That's it for this edition of the OPP Mailbag. If you've got a question, please send it our way by emailing OPPMailbag@gmail.com or by posting it to our Facebook page.