After sending shockwaves through the NBA with their draft night trade for Serge ibaka, the Orlando Magic turn their attention to free agency. With holes across the roster positionally, and needs that need to be filled, the Magic could potentially be very busy over the next few weeks.
After acquiring Ibaka, the Magic will have somewhere in the range of $44.5 million in free agency, should they follow a few procedural moves. The Magic will likely renounce the rights to Brandon Jennings, Andrew Nicholson, Jason Smith, Dewayne Dedmon, and 2005 first rounder Fran Vazquez. Doing so would open the team up nearly 25 million in cap space, or, in other words, another max contract.
Following draft night, we looked at the Magic's depth chart to see what their biggest positional needs were heading into free agency.
With three point guards currently on the roster --Elfrid Payton, C.J. Watson and Shabazz Napier-- the Magic are relatively well stocked at the position. However, with Napier's struggles in his first two years in the league, Watson's injury riddled first season with the team, and Payton's pockets of inconsistent play, the Magic could still look at add to the position in the next month.
As is the case with many positions this summer, the free agent point guard class isn't very deep. After Mike Conley, the far and away top available point guard, things become much more of a question. With Payton in place, the Magic likely aren't looking for a starter, but rather someone who can give them good minutes and, in a pinch, start should Payton battle the injury bug like he did last season.
Here are some of the guys the Magic could look at to help improve their point guard play.
Last team: Memphis Grizzlies
As previously mentioned, Conley is the top point guard target across the league, and should garner interest from a lot of the league. One of the more underrated point guards in the league, Conley has been a stalwart for the Grizzlies over the last eight years. Coming off an injury plagued year for himself and the Grizzlies as a whole, Conley will be a prime candidate for a big bounce back season.
At 28, the Ohio State product is going to garner a max contract where every he lands, which would start at roughly $28 million per season. The Grizzlies will have the upper hand in re-signing him, if not due to their ability to give him a coveted fifth year on his deal, but also give him some familiarity.
With suitors already lining up for Conley, the likelihood of him coming to Orlando would be slim at best. He'll have his pick of the litter, and with Payton already in place, and the Magic showing no signs of giving up on him, adding the veteran Conley seems even less likely.
Last team: Charlotte Hornets
From bursting onto the scene with the New York Knicks, to signing a big free agent contract with the Houston Rockets, Jeremy Lin's career trajectory has been one of interest. After showing he wasn't the player who took the league by storm, Lin finally began to carve out a niche with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now, coming off a successful season with the Charlotte Hornets, Lin is once again in for a big payday.
What Lin ultimately wants out of free agency is interesting to look at. Does he want to start? Is he okay with coming off the bench for a contending team? Does the potential for long-term stability matter, or is he fine with going year-to-year?
Should be choose to go with a starting role, he'd likely be out of the Magic's ultimate plan. If he's open to a bench role, however, he'd be a great target for the Magic.
While his shooting numbers aren't earth shattering, he's still shown an ability to score efficiently in a multitude of ways. He'd also give the team more versatility with his ability to play off the ball as a shooter and secondary ball handler.
Lin may command more than the Magic would want to commit. but should be one of their targets to bring in more stability at point guard.
Last team: Washington Wizards
Coming off a solid season with the Wizards, Sessions could be in for a nice payday. While he isn't going to push to stat like Conley or Lin could. Sessions would be able to bring a steadying force to the second unit. He's not a great shooter, but with the likes of C.J. Watson and Mario Hezonja stretching the floor, he could be covered up some.
What Sessions lacks shooting wise, he makes up for with his driving ability. A big, strong guard, Sessions got to the line at a good rate last season, posting a 47.8 free throw rate, nearly six percent higher than the Magic's leader Dewayne Dedmon. (To make matters worse, Dedmon was the only Magic player to finish with a FTr above 34 percent.)
If Sessions was able to get to the line at, or close to the same rate as he did last season -- he has a 48.6 percent free throw rate for his career -- he'd be able to make a sizable impact on a Magic team who has been near the bottom of the league in free throw attempts for the last four seasons. His veteran presence wouldn't hurt either, which could make Sessions a prime candidate for the Magic this summer.
Last team: Denver Nuggets
Another journeyman, Augustin would be able to bring some needing shooting to the Magic's backcourt. He's a career 37.4 percent three-point shooter, and could come on a cheap deal after being traded to the Nuggets at the trade deadline for Randy Foye.
Despite being undersized, Augustin would give the Magic another versatile option that can play on or off the ball. He likely wouldn't push Elfrid Payton for the starting role, but would be able to fill in if need be, as he's done since moving on from the then Charlotte Bobcats.
Augustin's somewhat high turnover percentage is troubling, but when asked to play only spot minutes, he could be fine. He's had success in the pass as a passer as well, which would open up opportunities for everyone else in the drive and kick game.
Overall, the point guard position in very underwhelming this season. Add in the fact that the Magic already have three players there and it pushes the position down the importance chart some heading into free agency.
Nonetheless, the Magic have a few options that could help them fill needs, and give them some more, needed depth in the backcourt overall.