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Extending Evan Fournier should be atop Magic's list

With the deadline for extensions on fourth-year players quickly approaching, the Magic must lock up Evan Fournier while they still can.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

As the Orlando Magic get ready to open up training camp in just under three weeks, the team has a big decision to make regarding one of their key pieces. Evan Fournier, the Magic's sharpshooting reserve guard, is eligible for an extension on his rookie contract, and with an added emphasis on three-point shooting, Fournier's services could be greatly sought should he enter restricted free agency next summer.

According to a report from Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, Fournier and the Magic have had discussions on a potential extension, and that it's "possible" the two sides could agree to a deal before the end of training camp. Kyler also added that the two sides are talking "the same kinds of valuation" on the 6-foot-6 swingman. The sides have until October 31st at 11:59 PM to agree to a deal.

Fournier, whom the team acquired from the Denver Nuggets prior to the 2014 draft for Arron Afflalo, played an important part on the team last season. The Frenchman started the season off strong, scoring in double figures in each of his first 14 games, including a season- and career-high 28 against the New York Knicks.

Fournier's strong play did not stop, as he went on to finish the season scoring in double figures in 39 of his 58 games played. A hip injury late in the season derailed his strong first Magic season, holding him out of 20 of the final 22 games of the season, but Fournier's impact was still felt. In the games Fournier missed throughout the season, the team went a mere 6-18, compared to 19-39 in the games Fournier suited up.

Moreover, Fournier finished second on the team in three-point shooting percentage, knocking down 37.8 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, trailing only Channing Frye, who finished at 39.3 percent. Add in Fournier's ability to play multiple positions, and give the team a secondary ball handler while on the floor, and his value seems nearly irreplaceable.

Extending the fourth-year man should be one of the top concerns, if not the top concern, for the front office over the next two months. While the addition of Mario Hezonja in June's draft could make Fournier expendable, letting an asset like Fournier go would be a blow to a Magic team that's still trying to figure out who fits together for the long term.

While he's not going to get a huge extension, something in the range of three years and $28 million could get a deal done to keep Fournier in pinstripes for the foreseeable future. He's an important piece for the team right now, and at age 22, he will only continue to get better as the Magic continue to grow as well.

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