Second round picks are in something like purgatory right now.
They do not have guaranteed contracts and so their NBA dreams are very much up in the air. Usually, they would get Summer League and Training Camp to prove they were worthy of an NBA roster spot. They would at least get Summer League before deciding whether they can fulfill their dream of playing in the NBA or guarantee themselves playing time on a European team.
DeAndre Liggins is weighing his future very hard with the lockout in full swing and no end in sight. And that is not a good thing for a Magic team looking for a strong perimeter defender and some shooting guard help.
Liggins told John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader his agent is exploring options in Europe and Liggins is considering offers from overseas teams. Liggins said he is hoping for a contract that would allow him to return to the NBA when the lockout ends. But without any guarantee the Magic will retain him, he may not really have the leverage to get that kind of deal.
In reality, Liggins said he needs to make some money to support his son. He wants that and the ability to compete and improve on his game. Currently he has no guarantees from the Magic that he will even make the roster — although I find it extremely likely at this point.
Despite being a mid-second round pick, you get the feeling the Magic expect Liggins to be a contributor very quickly for them. Stan Van Gundy said he was surprised by Liggins’ shooting ability, long considered a weakness of this four-year defensive ace at Kentucky. If Liggins can be that kind of a player, he should be able to contribute quickly — his role likely will be determined by Jason Richardson‘s future.
If Liggins heads off to Europe, like several second round picks appear to be doing, the Magic lose out on a potential rotation player. And with the Magic needing every player they can at affordable prices — like, say, second round picks — losing that potential contribution is costly.
Orlando has already lost one potential contributor to Europe — Fran Vazquez… apparently — it does not feel like the team could afford to lose another potential rotation player.
Fellow second round pick Justin Harper said to John O’Connor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch back on July 19 that he is not exploring his options in Europe as of yet. But that could change if the lockout drags out.
That appears to be what many players are doing in holding on to their NBA dreams. They want to wait and see how this all shakes out. With the latest news from the last negotiations turning up very poorly and the NBA filing its own complaint against the NBPA with the NLRB, it does not appear to be shaking out so good right now.
The task of rebuilding the Magic was not going to get better simply by adding Liggins and Harper. But it would have given Smith one less need to satisfy.
Photo via DayLife.com.