The Orlando Magic are expected to make changes to their roster. That much is clear after a disastrous season. When they make those moves? That is a question.
At this point, all that seems left to do for the Orlando Magic is to wait for the change to come.
Everyone recognizes the Magic need to turn over their roster as they have fallen to the worst record in the league. Even at its worst, no one expected the Magic to be this bad. Finishing with the worst record and in line for the top pick in the NBA Draft.
After Tuesday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings, it felt like the Magic had reached a new low. Coach Frank Vogel was beside himself with frustration, calling out his team’s lack of leadership and focus in the last few days after strong performances the past week.
If there was ever a sign of the inevitability of the changes coming to the Magic it was this press conference. The repeated messages from coach Vogel have seemingly fallen on deaf ears.
New management almost guaranteed that changes would come eventually. Jeff Weltman’s posture of examining and evaluating his roster was almost out of necessity. There just was not much productive he could do. And with some stability perhaps the team would improve.
Quite plainly they have not. The pieces do not fit together. At least the team can say a year has passed and contracts are a step closer to expiring. Everyone recognizes the team has to make changes — in addition to getting its upcoming pick right.
So what will the team do at the trade deadline? That is the question everyone around the league seems to be asking.
Orlando seems to have no shortage of players drawing interest — especially, it seems, Evan Fournier. But it does not seem the Magic are facing much urgency to make a deal.
That might frustrate Magic fans. But Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders says the Magic are in no rush — furthering his reporting the team is not about to start a firesale:
"The general belief from most is that if Orlando can’t find the kind of deals they are looking for, they’ll simply run out the clock on this season and seek a more aggressive rebuild around the draft and in July when teams can absorb contract money into cap space."
This has been the general and expected posture for the Magic throughout the trade season.
Outside of Elfrid Payton and Mario Hezonja, the team does not have any expiring contracts the team should feel any urgency to move. Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross both have one more year left on their deals — and they are both injured right now, making them more difficult to move. Evan Fournier has three years left on his deal.
In both cases, it might be more advantageous for the Magic to sit and wait. The team might be able to get more waiting for the draft.
That should give the Orlando Magic more power entering the trade deadline now. They will make a deal that works for them and fits their team needs more than anyone else’s needs.
That does not mean Orlando is likely actively sitting on its hands either though. It is abundantly clear change has to come — whether it is in February or in June. Orlando has to have its goals set out clearly in what they want. Kyler has continually characterized the Magic as wanting to avoid taking on future draft picks or any more long-term money.
In fact, Kyler writes the Magic are likely looking for ending contracts or players on rookie-scale deals who have developed a bit further. That gives clue to the direction the team wants to go.
It is not clear whether Orlando will actually pull the trigger and make a deal at this trade deadline. They will remain active.
What seems clear is the Magic will make a deal that makes sense for them not a deal to make a deal . . . for now.