Most of this isn't breaking news, but it's good to clarify the positioning of general manager Otis Smith as he tries to fill out the roster heading into next season.
Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith will let free agent market settle before offering Hedo Turkoglu a new contract
Brian Schmitz runs down the possibilities for the team as free agency looms.
"I'll sit still," Smith said. "I won't be in a big hurry. There's a lot of guys available and not a lot of money out there."
Smith said the Magic haven't given up on trying to keep Turkoglu, but they will have to go deep into the punitive luxury tax to re-sign him or promising center Marcin Gortat — and other players. They have only eight players on their roster, and need to at least add five more this summer.
The Magic aren't expected to be able to match offers for Gortat, a restricted free agent who made $770,000 last season as Dwight Howard's backup. Smith indicated they would be out of the running if offers "were north of 5 [$5 million per season.]"
Far over the salary cap, the Magic said they were willing to venture into the tax after making a surprising run to the NBA Finals this past season. Team President Bob Vander Weide said the club could be taxed between $5 million to $7 million and perhaps top out at $10 million. But re-signing Turkoglu alone would eat up most of that, and still leaving four players to sign.
Smith said he is likely to split the Magic's mid-level exception — a device granted to teams who are over the salary cap — among several free agents.
Although the likelihood is remote, Smith said the team could sign Turkoglu and trade him to another team.
"It all depends on what you're getting back," he said.
As expected, Otis will make a last-ditch effort re-signing Turk before targeting other players in free agency. Knowing the dollar amount by which the franchise is willing to pay in the luxury tax (roughly $5 million to $7 million, at minimum) is crucial in deciphering which individuals may land in the City Beautiful. Splitting the Mid-Level Exception allows Smith to sign a number of guys, possibly Brandon Bass and Rasheed Wallace as was reported by Tim Potvak of NBA FanHouse. Maybe Antonio McDyess. Whatever happens, it's clear that Marcin Gortat and Hedo Turkgoglu are on their way out. It's not clear who's on their way in but one thing is for sure, the Magic will have the cash to make competitive offers to numerous players as the team begins to fill out its roster. All in all, should be a fun and interesting free agency period.
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