With NBA Free Agency slowing down, teams are beginning to look more and more like they will for the 2016/17 NBA season.
After an active draft night that saw the team shock the NBA with their acquisition of Serge Ibaka from the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Orlando Magic continued to be busy during the opening week of free agency. The Magic saw a high turnover on their roster, with eight players going out, and seven new players coming in.
The Magic started early, agreeing to terms with D.J. Augustin, Jeff Green and Evan Fournier on the opening day of the free agent frenzy. They continued their glut of moves by agree to terms with defensive anchor Bismack Biyombo the following day.
While they’ve been relatively quiet since, only making a minor deal with the Los Angeles Clippers for guard C.J. WIlcox, the Magic have transformed their team into what could be a defensive powerhouse. First year coach Frank Vogel will have plenty of opportunities to mix and match with his team as well.
Arguably the biggest difference from pre-free agency to now is the center position. Before, the Magic figured to go into the year with Nikola Vucevic as the starting center, but the addition of Biyombo as their highest paid player likely slides Vucevic to the bench in the short term. That could be beneficial for the Magic, however.
Vucevic, who has clear issues on the defensive end, has shown an ability to thrive coming off the bench previously, and not being tasked with playing against the teams starting units as much could help improve his defense. Add in the fact he'll likely still have the chance to close some games next to Serge Ibaka, who can clean up some of his lapses on the defensive end, and Vucevic coming off the bench to terrorize second units makes a lot of sense for the Magic.
The other thing that jumps out is the somewhat thin wing. Yes, they have four guys who will likely see the bulk of the minutes at the two and three, with two backing them up, but one injury here or there and they're thin. Plus, they'll be forced to play Aaron Gordon out of position at the three, and with no backup power forwards, he'll see a bulk of minutes there as well.
With 13 players on the roster, the Magic are all but done with their free agent moves. They still have the room exception, which would give them nearly $3 million to pay for a single player, but with the pool of free agents drying up, the amount of players who make sense for them to use that on is evaporating.
Nevertheless, the Magic are going to be a completely different team next season on the court, thanks in large part to their moves this summer.