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Magic forming an identity. On purpose, though?

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NBCSports.com’s Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

In evaluating Magic president Jeff Weltman’s first offseason last year, I wrote it could take him years to put his stamp on the franchise. He inherited a roster so gummed up with bad contracts for at-least-half-decent veterans. There was no quick fix, up or down.

One year later, and Orlando has an identity.

I’m just unconvinced it’s one Weltman deliberately pursued.

The Magic are building a jumbo frontcourt, a rarity in today’s NBA. Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon and Mohamed Bamba are all promising, and they might – might – fit together. They’d comprise one of the league’s largest 3-4-5s.

But Orlando might have just stumbled into this experiment.

Isaac, the No. 6 pick last year, was already on board as a long-term piece.

The Magic might have hoped a better-fitting player – like point guard Trae Young, who went No. 5 (to the Hawks, via the Mavericks) – slipped to No. 6 this year. But Bamba was the top prospect available, and drafting him was far better than reaching for a lesser alternative.

And Gordon re-signed for a bargain rate. His four-year, $76 million deal is worth $38,093,280 less than a four-year max would have paid. Plus, his salary descends – from $21,590,909 this season to $16,409,091 in year four. Better to get those higher costs out of the way now, when Orlando is capped out anyway. This is one of the most team-friendly contracts of the summer.

So, this plan might have just fallen into the Magic’s lap. But they’re rolling with it now.

Orlando swapped center Bismack Biyombo for center Timofey Mozgov, who’s worse than Biyombo and will earn $1.28 million more over the next two years. Why? The deal allowed the Magic to acquire Jerian Grant, a worthwhile flier point guard. Neither center was likely to play much in Orlando, anyway.

I like the Magic’s second-rounders: Melvin Frazier and Justin Jackson. I like how Orlando got cash for accepting Dakari Johnson in a trade with the Thunder then got cash for flipping Johnson to the Grizzlies for Jarell Martin. I like the Magic’s new coach, Steve Clifford, who replaces Frank Vogel.

The Magic got plenty right this offseason. They just didn’t have clearance for a major takeoff. As much as they have fallen into a style, they were still hamstrung by the problems Weltman inherited.

And it’s far from guaranteed Isaac, Gordon and Bamba will complement each other. Orlando could have to move at least one, and timing a trade will be imperative.

But there’s plenty of time to figure that out. For now, the Magic are still in asset-acquisition mode, and they did well with that this summer.

Offseason grade: B

Report: Hawks getting No. 4 pick locks Lakers-Pelicans Anthony Davis trade into July 6 completion

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The Lakers reportedly didn’t negotiate the Anthony Davis trade date with the Pelicans – an important consideration. That apparently left it in New Orleans’ hands, and the Pelicans flipping the No. 4 pick to the Hawks means the Davis trade will be completed the first allowable day.

Sam Amick of The Athletic:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Lakers now project to have about $24 million in cap room.

Maybe they can get more by including other players in the trade, but that would make the deal even costlier for the Lakers. Davis could also waive his trade kicker, but first, they’d need to ask him. He might refuse.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka apparently agreed to put his team into this situation. But it’s hard to believe he fully understood the implications when he did.

2019 NBA Draft pick-by-pick tracker with analysis of selections, trades

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Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The NBA Draft saw the trade of the No. 4 pick — twice — plus the No. 6 and 11 picks before the New Orleans Pelicans were even on the clock for the No. 1 pick. Listening to the buzz around the league, expect a lot more first-round trades, especially when we get into the 20s. It’s going to be a crazy night.

We will be on top of it all night long.

Here is a breakdown of every pick, every trade — complete with analysis of how that player fits (or doesn’t) with his new surroundings.

 
Pelicans small icon No. 1. New Orleans Pelicans:

Sounds like Cavaliers will draft Darius Garland No. 5 if they don’t trade pick

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The top of the draft has become clear:

1. Pelicans: Zion Williamson

2. Grizzlies: Ja Morant

3. Knicks: R.J. Barrett

4. Hawks: De'Andre Hunter

What will the Cavaliers do at No. 5?

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Those follow-up reports emerged quickly and from multiple reporters. The Cavaliers apparently want to make it very clear they’re open to trading the pick.

For good reason.

My highest-rated prospects available are both point guards: Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland and North Carolina’s Coby White. Cleveland already has Collin Sexton, last year’s lottery pick, at point guard.

I generally favor drafting the best prospect available then figuring it out. Sexton isn’t good enough to justify deviating from that.

But this situation demands the Cavs explore trading the pick – or Sexton. Cleveland shouldn’t just blindly walk into a conundrum.

Still, it seems if the Cavaliers don’t find a trade, they’ll make the smart move and draft Garland.

Report: Minnesota trades up to No. 6 pick, sends Phoenix Dario Saric, No. 11 pick

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New Minnesota president Gersson Rosas has a reputation around the league: He’s aggressive. He learned in Houston to go hard after what he wants.

Rosas wanted to move up in this draft, and he found a partner, the Phoenix Suns. The Timberwolves will draft sixth after a trade with the Suns for the 11th pick and Dario Saric. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news.

This trade can work out for Minnesota, depending upon who they draft and develop.

Who will the Timberwolves pick at six? Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and R.J. Barrett will be off the board for sure. The Hawks, who just traded for the No. 4 pick, are expected to take De'Andre Hunter out of Virginia. Cleveland at No. 5 now is the breaking point of the draft but reports are they like Darius Garland out of Vanderbilt, unless they trade down from this spot. That makes Jarrett Culver the likely Timberwolves pick at six. Coby White, the North Carolina point guard, is another option.

For Phoenix, Saric can be a good fit at the four if they acquire a good ball-sharing point guard this summer.

Saric gives the Suns a sharpshooter to help space the floor. The Suns starting lineup now has Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre Jr., Saric, Deandre Ayton, and they are expected to chase a veteran point guard in free agency. That has some potential.