What's left for Magic this summer?


We are nearly at the end of July and, for the most part, the NBA's offseason is for all intent and purposes over. The biggest names have new or old homes and the NBA is preparing for its slowest month and a half of the year (especially without the Olympics).

There will not be actual basketball to write about until Eurobasket tips off in Slovenia on September 4. Nikola Vucevic will be leading Montenegro in that, so we will prep for that next month.

The Magic have a long way to go to get to a championship level. We knew that after the team finished with the league's worst record last year. Getting there in one summer was clearly not part of the plan as Orlando was still a bit cash-strapped and looking to improve and develop the young players on the roster.

The Draft was going to be a big part of the short-term rebuilding plan and the Magic took advantage of that in drafting Victor Oladipo and finding an intriguing prospect in Romero Osby in their second round pick.

Free agency-wise? Orlando was not expected to do much, nor did the team really want to. Rob Hennigan joked during the Draft that the Magic would stay in the "kiddie pool" this summer. The Arron Afflalo-Eric Bledsoe trade either never developed fully or was purely bluster to get another deal for the Clippers. It appears Afflalo will stay with the Magic.

And so the only two signings the Magic made this offseason, and are expected to make, is forward Jason Maxiell and guard Ronnie Price. Those two acquisitions will bring the Magic up to 16 players (including the unsigned Osby). There simply is not room for more players.

It is expected that the Magic will buy out Hedo Turkoglu and Al Harrington before the beginning of the season. There just is not any reason to speed up the process and get it done sooner rather than later. Kyle O'Quinn's contract is also not guaranteed until opening night, but it is not expected that he will be waived before then and he will spend the season with the Magic.

What do we make of these moves?

Here is what Zach Lowe of Grantland had to say:

"Rob Hennigan, the team's second-year GM, is all about creating the right culture in Orlando, which is why he spends manageable money on "good guy" veterans (Jameer Nelson, Jason Maxiell) in deals that confuse colder, more calculating executives. Remember: This team was 12-13 before Glen Davis suffered a season-ending injury, and they were blitzing people with the Nelson–Arron Afflalo–Redick–Davis–Nikola Vucevic lineup. Could they duplicate that by slotting Maurice Harkless or Tobias Harris into Redick's slot in that group?"

He put the Magic under the heading: "Stood Pat/Tanking Division."

Magic fans and plenty of others are admittedly scratching their heads. Not that the Magic were so quiet during free agency — this was expected. But rather on who the Magic went for. The 30-year-old Price and 30-year-old Maxiell do not fit the youth movement the Magic have gone for this last year.

But when you are standing pat like the Magic are, the point is not to kill yourself. A likely minimum deal for Price and a friendly two-year, team-option deal for Maxiell at a reasonable price do not kill the Magic.

And those players will add some type of leadership element as the Magic are trying to continue building and growing with all the young talent available to them.

Make no bones about it though, the Magic did not get significantly better and, on paper at least, it feels like it will be another long season filled with plenty of losses and an eye on the Draft. That still seems to be the long-term rebuilding plan.