It’s Black Friday. Some of you may be reading this from a line winding its way across some store where civility goes to die, or maybe you're resting after a late-night/early morning of shopping. The NBA’s equivalent to Black Friday happens in early July, but some teams are still recovering from ill-advised splurges months, even years, later. Meanwhile, others are reaping the benefits from shrewd deals.
The Orlando Magic is no exception. Orlando’s right near the salary cap, which is projected to go up. And with plenty of rookie deals, nothing’s likely to kill the Magic in the foreseeable future, but there’s good and bad contracts scattered throughout the roster nonetheless.
As you shop to your heart’s content on America’s most celebrated consumer holiday, check out some of the best and worst bargains on the Magic’s roster.
Evan Fournier (One year/$2.8 million)
Fournier has easily been the biggest surprise of the season for the Magic. The young guard has had some rough patches in his first few years in the league, but has become a stable offensive presence on an otherwise inconsistent roster. Averaging 17.7 points per game, Fournier is the one guy the Magic can count on to get points. He attacks the basket well, knocks down open threes, and all on a very thrifty contract. He and the Magic were unable to reach an agreement on an extension this Fall, and he's likely to get a nice payday in the Summer, but for now he's probably one of the best bargains in the entire league.
Dewayne Dedmon (One year/$947,000)
His name isn't one of the first several that come to mind when most people think of the Magic's roster, but Dedmon has had a noteworthy start to the season. He performed well in Nik Vucevic's absence, giving Orlando some much needed energy on both ends of the floor. Since then, his minutes have been on the decline as Scott Skiles tries to figure out which of his lineups can do what, but he remains a reliable option off the bench; one that can give the team some rebounding and defense when called upon to do so. I suspect most teams would take Dedmon for under a million dollars this season if presented the opportunity.
Hints of buyer's remorse
Channing Frye (Three years/$23.4 million)
Frye has yet to deliver on the contract he signed with the Magic in 2014, and it's possible (even likely) that he never will. He's given the team some spacing this season just by trotting out onto the floor, but his production has been inconsistent. It's nice to have a stretch-four, and Frye's shown some better results defensively than last year, but is that really worth $8 million a year? Perhaps it will be this season, but unlikely when Frye's 34-years-old in the final year of his contract.
Tobias Harris (Four years/$64 million)
This one comes with a bit of a caveat: Harris is good. He contributes points inside the arc and rebounds on both ends. With the cap projected to jump to $108 million, maybe his contract won't hurt the Magic going forward. If he doesn't improve over the next few years it will, but he's a young, talented player so that's unlikely. Having said that, Orlando probably overpaid for what it's going to get from Harris.
The team had plenty of cap space this summer to throw a big contract his way, which may have been necessary to keep him in town. But the deal reminds me of a shopper on Black Friday. They can buy a name brand TV like a Sony, and pony up some extra cash, or take a step back, and buy a generic brand with similar specs for a lot less. Now, maybe there wasn't a generic replacement for Harris on the market, and in the end it might not be a serious issue. Like the person who bought the Sony instead, the Magic still ended up with a quality product on Black Friday, regardless of the price.
Hopefully you did too.
Which do you think are the best contracts on the Magic's roster? Which should they return?