The Orlando Magic have been very silent and inactive this offseason. That changed as the team signed Jonathon Simmons. He strengthens the Magic’s defense on the wing.
The Orlando Magic made it clear since day one of free agency they would be very cautious. President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman made it very clear the Magic would be very cautious in their spending to make sure they have flexibility in the future.
Still, if the right opportunity came around, the Magic would be willing to spend. The right opportunity appeared to come around Friday on a target many Magic fans had in mind.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports the Magic have signed San Antonio Spurs guard Jonathon Simmons to a three-year deal.
Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express News reports Simmons will receive a three-year, $20 million deal from the Magic. It likely starts at around $6 million this season, using up the rest of the Magic’s cap room.
Simmons is a perfect “3-and-D” player in today’s NBA. He brings tremendous defense to the board and plays with a lot of heart and toughness. Simmons was very successful last season under Gregg Popovich and the Spurs. It remains to be seen if he can translate the play of his to Orlando.
Simmons averaged 6.2 points per game and shot 42.0 percent from the floor last year. He upped his game in the Playoffs, scoring 10.5 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting.
This contract in many ways is an affirmation of a long journey to get security in the NBA.
Simmons has always been overlooked in his career. He played for the Houston Cougars and unfortunately, no NBA team took him in the draft. His play in college earned him a few NBA pre-draft workouts.
In an interview, he said he even thought about quitting the sport of basketball after he went undrafted. But he did not want to give up on his dream that easily. He paid $150 just for a tryout for the San Antonio Spurs’ D-League team in Austin and made it. His impressive play there then translated to the NBA level, where he impressed, as well.
In that game six, Simmons finished the game with 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field. He also held James Harden to an abysmal 2-for-11 shooting from the field and forced six turnovers in 37 minutes. A very efficient performance on both ends, to say the least.
His arrival to the Magic should strengthen the Magic rotation. If he does indeed start at the 3, the Magic can have Mario Hezonja, Terrence Ross and Jonathan Isaac off the bench playing the 2, 3 and the 4. That trio off the bench should have Magic fans excited, no doubt.
Simmons adds a ton of depth to the Magic’s wing position.
Simmons fits the playing style of Magic head coach Frank Vogel, as he strives to play defense and is a willing playmaker for his teammates. He has been a fighter throughout his career and has earned the respect of many people in the NBA.
Popovich described Simmons as “one of the most selfless guys” he has ever coached. If that statement is indeed true, Magic fans are in for a treat.
This is the signing many Magic fans were waiting for. While there are still questions about Simmons’ shooting and his ability to play outside the confines of the Spurs system, this is a risk the Magic seem more than willing to take. He is a strong defender who fits the Magic’s culture and, at least, should be valuable off the bench.
At the price they reportedly got him for, Simmons should be a good contributor to the team, even if he comes off the bench.