The Draft comes first. That is the primary focus for the Magic. Free agency comes after.
That will not stop anyone from thinking about July. I have fielded questions about every free agent from Kyle Lowry to Lance Stephenson to Carmelo Anthony. My answer remains the same: it depends on what the Magic do in the Draft. In either case, I would not expect Orlando to make a big move in free agency. The team’s focus remains on improving themselves in the Draft.
How they complete their team will be in free agency. It will again be to fill in holes in the roster, but also with an eye on the future.
So the expectation is for the Magic to be a little more active in free agency, but not overly active. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel put it best:
After wading into the “kiddie pool” last summer, the team will be more aggressive this July. But it almost certainly won’t go after a maximum-salary free agent. Put it this way: If the worst available free agent this summer would rate as a “1” and LeBron James would rate as a “10,” then the Magic likely will go after a 5 or a 6.
The Magic will again be taking the patient approach yet again. That likely means, as Robbins noted in his article and I have noted numerous times on Twitter, the Magic will not go after Kyle Lowry, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James or Lance Stephenson. They are either going to be too pricey or not a good fit for the Magic at the moment.
Again, Orlando wants to find a star through the Draft first and then use free agency to support and fill around him. That is why the 2014 Draft is so important for Orlando.
Even though the Magic could wriggle as much as $22.7 million in cap room — but likely will end up with somewhere around $14-15 million. The Magic are not likely to use all the cap room they have to keep flexibility for trades and prepare for the extensions that are due to Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris.
Robbins suggests that could mean the Magic go after a veteran like Luol Deng on a one- or two-year deal. That would certainly make sense. Some have suggested the Magic might be willing to acquire Carlos Boozer from the Bulls (if just for salary filler and to clear even more cap room for 2015). The Boozer scenario seems unlikely and just wishful thinking from Bulls fans hoping to get something (Arron Afflalo) for nothing.
There just are not a lot of great free agents available for the Magic to think about for their long term. Deng may very well be the best option for the Magic. Maybe the Magic take a run at restricted free agent Greg Monroe, although I doubt it. Chandler Parsons and Draymond Green are also young players that could be within the price range, but could also easily go over the Magic’s budget.
Those would probably be 7s or 8s rather than a 5 or a 6.
The next steps the Magic take are likely not something to consider until after the NBA Draft. That is the key piece to the Magic’s offseason.