There is a lot of mystery about where the Magic will go in the long term. A lot of it will depend on where the ping pong balls bounce this year and (likely) next year. It also depends on where several veterans might end up in trades.
There are still roster spots to fill and roster spots to fight for and several Magic players getting a ton of playing time right now who do not have very certain futures. In all, the Magic have five players who could potentially hit free agency this offseason. There are some that are certain to be dealt with — Al Harrington and Hedo Turkoglu both have decently significant buyouts the Magic could exercise.
For young players like E'Twaun Moore, DeQuan Jones and Kyle O'Quinn the future is both settled and unsettled. All three are getting plenty of playing time right now. All three could become a free agent this summer if the Magic decide not to bring them back.
Jones could hit restricted free agency . . . or he could become an unrestricted free agent if the Magic do not offer him a qualifying offer. Moore and O'Quinn do not have guaranteed contracts next year.
As Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel wrote before Sunday's game against Cleveland, these players are more or less auditioning for a spot on next year's team.
You're only as good as your last game, or in this case, your last few games," [DeQuan] Jones said. "So [I want] to pretty much leave an imprint on the league and our fans and everybody that's watching us with a glimpse of what they have to look forward to next season."
All three could very likely be back for the Magic next year as part of the team's rebuilding project. E'Twaun Moore has spent most of the year as the backup point guard. DeQuan Jones and Kyle O'Quinn have gotten more playing time recently. It seems far fetched to see the Magic let these players go after just one year.
However, that possibility does exist and nothing is ever guaranteed in the NBA. Decisions have to be made for these players and evaluations have to be made.
The important thing is the Magic have the decision on what to do with these three players. If they want to bring them back, it is the team's prerogative.
As much prgoress and development has occurred this year, there is still the reality of the NBA to face. There are draft picks to make and account books to balance. As good as Moore, Jones and O'Quinn have been, they may be the ones lost in the shuffle in the next stage.