Welcome Orlando Magic to NBA Free Agency 2021.
After a quiet initial day of free agency, the Magic have made their first signing of the period, agreeing to a deal with center Robin Lopez. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to break news of the reported deal.
Free agent C Robin Lopez has agreed to a one-year deal with the Orlando Magic, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 3, 2021
The Magic are expected to have one of the youngest rosters in the NBA this upcoming season, with up to ten players 25 years-old or younger. Orlando was widely presumed to be in the market for a veteran player (or two), especially after losing Otto Porter Jr. (and likely James Ennis) to free agency.
Lopez, a 13-year veteran, holds career averages of 8.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. The Fresno, California native has played in over 900 career NBA contests (22.1 minutes per game) for seven teams (Phoenix, New Orleans, Portland, New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Washington).
The seven-foot Stanford alum provided a strong veteran presence for the Washington Wizards last season (19.1 minutes per game, 9.0 points, 3.8 rebounds). He posted a career-high true shooting percentage of 66.1% in 2020-21, and scored 16 points (in 19 minutes) in Game 4 of Washington’s first round matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Lopez played in Portland from 2013-2015, where newly hired assistant coaches Nate Tibbetts (2013-14) and Dale Osbourne (reportedly hired by Magic, in Portland since 2012) shared a bench.
The Magic have two young centers in Wendell Carter Jr. and Mohamed Bamba already on the roster, but Orlando likely views Lopez as a depth big who can lead by example (and fill a role on the floor when needed).
On a much lighter note, Lopez and his twin brother Brook (Milwaukee Bucks) are well-known around the league to be huge fans of Walt Disney World. It remains to be seen if proximity to the happiest place on earth had anything to do with Lopez choosing to come to Orlando (I’m kidding, but still).
The deal has been reported (but not confirmed) to be for one-year, at five million dollars.
Mascots beware, Robin Lopez will be wearing pinstripes.
It's safe to say Robin Lopez and NBA mascots aren't the best of friends! #Shaqtin pic.twitter.com/gVXM7yAcCS— Shaqtin' a Fool (@shaqtin) August 31, 2019
The Orlando Magic mascot has a message for Robin Lopez #GotEm (via @orlandomagic) pic.twitter.com/zISSmTHjSl— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 25, 2017