The Orlando Magic will not be able to sign a new two-way player to their roster this year. The deadline for signing the contracts has passed.
The Magic waived Adreian Payne unceremoniously Friday after his name surfaced in a report tied to the Michigan State Spartans’ sexual assault scandal. Payne was accused of raping a girl his freshman year. Michigan State authorities seemingly brushed the charges aside.
Orlando rightly quickly moved on from Payne and spun him off the roster.
He scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds in five games for the Magic this season. He averaged 14.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game for the Lakeland Magic. Payne scored 21 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in his final game with the Lakeland Magic on Friday before word came down the team would cut him.
Obviously, the Magic did not cut him for basketball reasons. And basketball reasons are the least important part of his story. It seems unlikely Payne will get another shot at the NBA until this story clears up and his name is cleared. No one is willing to take the PR hit. Nor should they.
But for a young team like the Orlando Magic, every roster spot is valuable. The team has precious little space to move to bring in young players and give others a try because the roster is full. Fans eager to see what Rodney Purvis or Troy Caupain could do with the main roster have precious few outlets to go to see them in an Orlando Magic uniform. And every roster spot is an evaluation opportunity.
Payne’s sudden dismissal will leave a valuable evaluation spot empty for the Magic.
The deadline for the Magic to find a replacement for his two-way contract recently passed. The roster spot will remain open.
The deadline to sign players to two-way contracts passed on January 15. And so the Magic have lost the ability to reuse this important resource. Jamel Artis remains the only player on the Magic’s roster under a two-way contract.
From there the main roster is currently full. The Magic are currently using all 15 roster spots. If the Magic wanted to add any players on a 10-day contract, they would have to cut a player first.
It seems more likely the team will free up a roster spot at the trade deadline in a trade or by cutting a player — like Arron Afflalo or Marreese Speights, both on minimum contracts — after the trade deadline.
The team just does not have the space to do a whole lot more.
Orlando will likely call up Jamel Artis at some point after the trade deadline. He has not used up too many of his 45 days with the main roster. And there will be more impetus to play him once the risk of losing him for the rest of the season when his days run out has passed. That day should be coming soon. The G-League’s season ends at the end of March and the 45-day limit only exists within the G-League season.
For now, the Magic are limited to their lone remaining two-way contract with the January 15 deadline passed. Orlando has a full roster at the moment. The team will not be able to add anyone on a 10-day contract or for the rest of the season.