The Orlando Magic are in a bind with Jonathan Isaac’s injury. Lacking depth at power forward, the team should be scouring the free-agent market for help.
At the beginning of the season, everyone complained the Orlando Magic had too many power forwards.
The team had guys who seemingly could not play together because they all did things that were too similar. Orlando wasted its free agency adding a player that was too much like the other players who did not quite fit together.
Injuries have completely changed their calculus.
Aaron Gordon is just back from a sore ankle, that still seems to be bothering him. Al-Farouq Aminu has missed the last 19 games and had a setback roughly a week ago as he recovers from a torn meniscus in his right knee.
And, of course, Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely with a severe knee sprain. The Magic will re-evaluate him in roughly two months. There is no guarantee that he will be back this season.
That has completely destroyed the Magic’s depth at power forward.
For now, coach Steve Clifford is using Khem Birch to fill in the backup power forward minutes behind Aaron Gordon. He has seemingly already taken Amile Jefferson out of the rotation (his contract becomes fully guaranteed Jan. 7, which creates an interesting choice for the team).
President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman conceded a bit on this when he addressed the media Thursday. He acknowledged the team had discussed bringing in a new player to fill in those minutes and help complete the roster.
Ten-day contracts are now eligible to be signed, as of Sunday. And the Magic certainly could look to use that tool to bolster their roster — especially before the team heads out West for its longest road trip of the season.
This is a big decision. Like last year when Isaiah Briscoe went out, the Magic very much are willing to scour the free-agent pool to bring in an impact player. Michael Carter-Williams‘ addition late last season was as important as any other move in the Magic’s playoff push.
Now, it feels like the Magic have to scour free agency again.
For now, Orlando is not connected to any names in free agency. Steve Clifford will continue to trust his guys in Khem Birch and Wesley Iwundu especially. He will piece together a roster from there.
But clearly the Magic could use something. So where will they turn? That part is hard to predict. There are at least a few suggestions on the market that could help the team and make an impact the same way Michael Carter-Williams did last year and, in effect, save the Magic’s season.