The Orlando Magic’s curious offseason continues.
First, they drafted Aaron Gordon (No. 4) and traded up from No. 12 to No. 10 to get Elfrid Payton. For the record, I would have taken Dante Exum and stayed at No. 12 to take Gary Harris. But which players a rebuilding team drafts is just a matter of preference – hardly worth getting worked up over.
Since, though, Orlando’s offseason has turned downright strange. The Magic – who went 23-59 with a young roster – just keep adding players in their 30s:
- Willie Green, 32 (claimed on waivers)
- Ben Gordon, 31 (signed two-year, $9 million contract)
- Channing Frye, 31 (agreed to four-year, $32 million contract)
They’re sticking with the trend in 33-year-old Luke Ridnour.
Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest:
These four are, at minimum, decent players who will bump Orlando up the standings. However, they were 15 games out of the playoffs last season. Slight upticks likely aren’t going to get Orlando much beyond worse lottery odds. Even in the lowly East, the Magic are a playoff longshot.
Yes, Orlando must hit the salary floor, but there are better strategies for filling payroll. Until Ridnour’s contract figures come in, I can’t say exactly how the Magic did here, but their repeated targeting of older players is curious at best.
On the bright side, maybe the lottery format will change and grant Orlando better lottery odds relative to its better record. If the Magic get really lucky, maybe they’ll stumble into the playoffs, lose in the first round and stunt their long-term growth.