The Orlando Magic entered the offseason with limited cap space to spend on free agents. Instead of further clogging their books, they should look to shed salary cap via trade this summer.
The new front office seems to be going through a thorough evaluation period and is content with letting the 2017 free agency class pass them by, as they should. The Magic got themselves into salary-cap purgatory last summer when then-general manager Rob Hennigan opened the checkbook and swung for the fences.
The new front office should be looking to rebound from the mistakes of a year ago. Trades may be the only way to do it.
Currently, the Magic are not a free agent destination. Paul Millsap reinforced this feeling when he turned down the Magic to return to the Atlanta Hawks for less money a few years ago. That was further reinforced with the Magic’s need to overpay to make a splash in free agency last year.
The interest in shedding cap for the Magic lies in acquiring more assets.
Creating future cap space through trades allows the Magic to take advantage of the market. The Brooklyn Nets used this strategy when they acquired D’Angelo Russell because the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to move Timofey Mozgov‘s contract.
Multi-team trades also become easier to get involved in with flexible cap space. The latest rumors with the New York Knicks trading Carmelo Anthony have rumblings of a deal including four teams. The Knicks are a motivated seller and the Houston Rockets are a motivated buyer.
This is the type of situation teams like the Magic can take advantage of to gain assets if they allow the trade to happen by taking on some payroll into their limited cap space. They can also shed some of their own unwanted salaries in the process.
But before the Magic can become active in these talks, they need to create the much-desired cap room.
Evan Fournier and Bismack Biyombo are currently the two highest paid players for the Magic at $17 million per year. Evan Fournier may be a more tradable piece due to his shooting ability. But that does not mean the team will easily deal him. And certainly not without a cost in return.
The Boston Celtics are plush with assets and have long been rumored to be interested in Vucevic.
Significant improvements to the team or to the team’s future cap space will have to come from a trade. Teams seeking a backup point guard like the New York Knicks or Memphis Grizzlies could be willing to take on Augustin’s three-year contract.
Anyway the Magic got, the smart play is to focus on moving salary to create cap room. When proactively shopping players, the focus should begin with players that impact cap room the most.
There are limitless trade scenarios that can be proposed. And the Magic could look to trade just about anyone on the roster seeking cap relief and some immediate improvement.
Magic fans are clamoring for a reshaping of the roster. But it will take time. There is a process the Magic will adhere to.
Orlando should consider every deal independently, weighing the short and long-term gains.
The Magic are not a contender and need cap room. But that does not mean the team needs a massive shake up. Not all at once, anyway.
The key is strategic moves to correct past mistakes and to put them in a strong position going forward.
Orlando clearly has some assets to do this in one form or another. The question is when do the Magic pull the trigger and just how long do they wait.