Orlando Magic Daily Mailbag Volume 34: The one where the Orlando Magic make the playoffs

The Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder are playing very similarly to start the season. (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder are playing very similarly to start the season. (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic
ORLANDO, FL – FEBRUARY 14: Terrence Ross #31 and Aaron Gordon #00 of the Orlando Magic high five during the game against the Charlotte Hornets on February 14, 2019 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

From Jamiek Foster, via Facebook

"Question, if we make the playoffs, do that mean the rebuild is over?"

I do not believe the results of this season have any long-term bearing on the Orlando Magic’s “rebuild” efforts. I think it is a nice surprise and confirms what they are doing is on the right track. It confirms too that no matter what kind of team the Magic put together, they can compete and have a chance for tangible success.

That matters. And I think this front office — and certainly the entire organization — values this experience and what this run has meant to the team.

But the Magic are not suddenly going to say, “We’ve made it, let’s push all our chips in and keep this rolling.”

Orlando has some big decisions to make this summer that will test exactly how they view the team’s future.

The biggest is, of course, Nikola Vucevic‘s impending free agency.

Despite his All-Star bid and his stellar play throughout this season as a centerpiece of this playoff team, fans still seem pretty divided on him. There are plenty who think he is worth the money to retain (myself included) and others who still think this is a mirage and his presence would impede Mohamed Bamba‘s development in some way.

I fall more in the middle. I think he can be a valuable piece to keep the team competitive but also one that is not worth a huge dollar amount. The Magic probably have a number in mind they will not exceed in free agency and I would bet they try to frontload the deal, as they did with Aaron Gordon, to get more flexibility at the end of the contract.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

But that should all point to the fact the “rebuild” is not over.

I think Jeff Weltman and company are still getting a better sense of what they have and how to help the team improve. I think they still want to foster an organization and a culture that allows for young players to develop.

It is staggering to see just how young this team still is. Their “core” probably consists of Aaron Gordon (23), Jonathan Isaac (21), Mohamed Bamba (20) and Markelle Fultz (20). Even their “veteran” players who led the way this year fairly young — Nikola Vucevic is 28 and Evan Fournier is 26.

Orlando still has a lot of room to grow. The team is likely still looking for ways to foster that growth and transition control to them whenever they are ready. It is clear those guys are not ready to lead the way yet.

The Magic got to have their cake and eat it too this year. But they are still shaping and re-forming this roster into what they want. Just expect them to try to remain competitive in the meantime without wrapping themselves up too deep into a salary cap hole.