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NBA free agency 2016: Big men for the Orlando Magic

Zach wraps up our look at some potential free agent targets with the big men.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Aside from adding more shooting, and finding more additions on the wing, one of the Orlando Magic's bigger needs this summer is in the front court. With only Serge Ibaka, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic currently under contract, the Magic will have to add, at the very least, one player at both power forward and center in free agency.

On Tuesday, the team began making some procedural moves that came as no surprise. After an up-and-down four years, the team chose not to extend a qualifying offer to Andrew Nicholson, while extending one to Dewayne Dedmon, their high energy reserve center who has shown flashes of brilliance, coupled with stretches of head scratching play.

The team also added Stephen Zimmerman in the second round of last weeks NBA draft, but Zimmerman is unlikely to be ready to come in and contribute right away.

While Ibaka, Gordon and Vucevic figure to see the majority of the minutes at the four and the five, finding players who have adapted to bench roles, and filling in when needed is imperative. There's slightly more depth at forward, but the quality of players available at center is exponentially higher than power forward.

Nevertheless, there's payers at both positions that make sense for the Magic come Friday.

Power Forwards

Trevor Booker

Last team: Utah Jazz

Through his six seasons in the league, Trevor Booked has carved out a real niche for himself. After spending four years with the Washington Wizards, Booker spent two solid years with the Jazz backing up Derrick Favors.

A strong rebounder and solid defender, Booker would give the Magic some good veteran leadership, as well as a consistent contributor off the bench. Based off of ESPN's Real Plus-Minus, Booker was the seventh best power forward defensively last season, but was a slight negative on the offensive end.

That doesn't mean he can't make an impact on that end. He's a strong offensive rebounder, and has begun to stretch his game out closer to the three-point line as the game continues to evolve.

Should he come at a decent price, adding Booker would be a smart move for the Magic as they continue to shore up their frontcourt.

Dwight Powell

Last team: Dallas Mavericks

Like Booker, Powell would give the Magic a high-energy big who rebounds the ball at a high level and plays solidly on the defensive end. Powell would also give the Magic another player who can play multiple positions as he played sporadically at center last season.

Unlike Booker, however, Powell is a restricted free agent, which could make signing him more difficult with the Mavericks ability to match any deal.

Powell would have to be surrounded by shooters, however, with his negative impact on the offensive end. He relies on his athleticism and ability to get offensive rebounds for many of his points.

He'd be an interesting option as an energy big, but would have to be surrounded by the right players to make sense for the Magic this summer.


Overall, the free agents available at power forward that could be real targets for the Magic is limited. Add in Ibaka and Gordon holding the two spots at the four, and adding a real impact power forward could be slightly less important.

Center is where the Magic have the bigger need. Even after giving Dewayne Dedmon a qualifying offer, the Magic will need to find someone who can give them good backup minutes, and fill in when Vucevic is out with injuries.

Ian Mahinmi

Last team: Indiana Pacers

With Roy Hibbert out of the picture last season, Mahinmi put up a very good year with the Pacers and now Magic coach Frank Vogel. Mahinmi averaged career-highs in points (9.3), rebounds (7.1), assists (1.5), and blocks (1.1) as the Pacers starter last season, and was statistically one of the best defensive centers in the league.

It's possible Mahinmi, 29, could be looking to go somewhere he could start, rather than come off the bench as he has for the vast majority of his career. Should he choose that, then the Magic would be an unlikely destination, unless they were to move Nikola Vucevic.

His strong year last year likely pushed Mahinmi up into the early-to-mid teen's salary wise, which could also be a deterrent for the Magic as they likely look to keep open flexibility for free agency next summer as well.

Nonetheless, Mahinmi would be the perfect fit for the Magic as a backup center, with the ability to start and contribute in a pinch. Plus, his familiarity with coach Vogel can't hurt either.

Cole Aldrich

Last team: Los Angeles Clippers

While not the biggest or sexiest name available, Aldrich put together a strong season with the Clippers backing up DeAndre Jordan. A journeyman, Aldrich has carved out a good niche in the league as a high energy big who can make some timely plays on the defensive end.

The Los Angeles Times' Brad Turner reported that the Magic, along with Clippers and Phoenix Suns, could have interest in the big mans services in free agency, so the match could be there. He'd likely come at a cheaper price tag than Mahinmi, or some of the other quality backups available, which could be tantalizing for the Magic.

Aldrich doesn't bring much to the table scoring wise, but is a strong offensive rebounder, so his impact would still be felt on that end with tipouts and other offensive rebound chances. Defensively, Aldrich gobbles up rebounds at a near 28 percent rate, and held opponents to a respectable 49.1 percent at the rim, which would've been the second best percentage behind Dewayne Dedmon for the Magic last season.

He may not move the needle a ton, but Aldrich is the kind of guy you need off the bench, and could be a good move for the Magic as they shore up their front court.

Jason Smith

Last team: Orlando Magic

A late signee last summer, Smith played well for the Magic in his lone season. Smith showed good poise and was considered a leader in the Magic's young locker room last season.

He also played much better than most expected, showing off his silky smooth jumper and smart defensive rotations. He's not going to go out and make the biggest impact in the world, but he's turning into a solid backup option, especially since he has familiarity with the organization and players.

With his strong play last summer, Smith may have played himself into a pretty handsome payday, and one that the Magic would not want to pay.

Smith is ultimately a safe option for the Magic to give move depth in their front court, and add a player who can play both center and some power forward.