Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports the Magic will sign Pistons power forward Jason Maxiell to a two-year deal worth $5 million. Wojnarowski reports the Magic hold a team option on the second year worth $2.5 million. Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News confirmed the report and the contract numbers. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports that the second year of the deal will not become guaranteed until the middle of the summer of 2014.
Maxiell is an undersized power forward who has made something of a name for himself in the NBA as a hard-nosed defender and worker around the glass. He averaged 6.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in 24.8 minutes per game last year with the Pistons. He shot 44.6 percent from the floor.
Offense was never much of his thing. He was more known — certain by the Magic — as a dunker and scavenger on the glass rather than any kind of threat offensively. Orlando fans certainly have memory of that as he torched Orlando for 12 points and nine rebounds in Game One of the 2008 Eastern Conference Semifinals. That is about his big career highlight.
What is most confusing about this deal is the logjam the Magic already have at power forwar dthat this seems only to make worse. The Magic have Glen Davis and Tobias Harris competing for the starting spot with Andrew Nicholson and second round pick Romero Osby behind them. If Maxiell, who is only listed at 6-foot-7, plays center that puts him in the mix with Nikola Vucevic and Kyle O'Quinn. A lineup featuring Davis and Maxiell would be woefully undersized.
This move could signal a lot of things for the Magic. Enter the speculation part of the post.
It could signal a decision not to sign Osby (although that seems unlikely after the way he played in Summer League this year) or O'Quinn. O'Quinn's contract is not guaranteed this year and becomes guaranteed on opening night. Neither of these seem particularly likely.
What seems more likely is that the Maxiell signing signals the Magic's intent to trade Glen Davis in the near future. Much like the rumored Ronnie Price signing (it is still not official yet), Maxiell would lend a veteran voice to the locker room while not requiring or demanding a whole bunch of playing time. As things stand now, Davis probably demands and takes playing time from Harris which is likely not what the Magic want.
Whatever the reason is, the Magic have Jason Maxiell on a fairly reasonable deal for this year and possibly next year.