The Orlando Magic will sign veteran point guard Shelvin Mack to a two-year, $12 million. Mack is the first signing the team has made this offseason.
Holding true to their philosophy of patience, this signing is the first and only for the Magic in a quiet offseason.
Mack will enter his seventh NBA season after spending time with the Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz. He began his career as a combo guard, playing both the 1 and 2, before settling into his current role as backup point guard.
Mack is a career 32 percent 3-point shooter and shot 30 percent last season, so he probably will not help the Magic’s floor spacing although he is a capable midrange shooter.
He averaged 7.8 points per game in 21.9 minutes per game over 55 games for the Jazz. He shot 44.6 percent from the floor overall and 51.0 percent on 2-point baskets.
That said, his ball-handing skills off the bench will be a welcome reprieve after lineups featuring D.J. Augustin as primary playmaker failed to generate offense.
He is also a solid defender, which is another thing the Magic lacked at point guard in 2017.
Adding Mack will likely leave the Magic with around $4-6 million in cap room assuming they waive C.J. Watson before his deal becomes guaranteed on July 10.
Signing Mack may also make retaining D.J. Augustin superfluous. If president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman can find a trade for him, Mack will have sole possession of the second-string point guard role.
Augustin is slated to make $7.25 million for the next three years. Moving his salary would help the Magic’s future flexibility. Especially with Mack now on the roster, that decision is much easier.
But finding a team to take his contract is no easy task. The Magic may have to send a minor asset along with him.
Shelvin Mack is not exactly a marquee free agent, but this move falls right in line with how Weltman described their approach to this year’s free agency. Nothing flashy, just patient and prudent. Mack is a cheaper and arguably better backup point guard option for the Magic.
Two years and $12 million is low-risk. And Mack is still younger than Augustin.
Adding Mack improves the Magic’s depth. With him on the roster, it will be easier for coach Frank Vogel to ensure that all of his lineups have some modicum of playmaking – whether it is from Shelvin Mack, D.J. Augustin, Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic or even Jonathan Isaac — and that Bismack Biyombo is not forced to have the ball in his hands at any point.
He also provides a positive defensive impact off the bench.
With an average of $6 million per year, Mack will be making roughly the same per year as the Charlotte Hornets’ Ramon Sessions, the Detroit Pistons’ Ish Smith, and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Milos Teodosic. It is slightly more than some expected him to earn. Mack made $2.4 million last season.
But if the Magic manage to move Augustin, it is not an overly significant amount of money.
The Magic lacked stable playmaking and defense in their backcourt off the bench last year. Shelvin Mack will not solve all their issues. But he is a low-risk option that will help solve those problems.