Orlando Magic Daily Mailbag Volume 39: The unknown will soon be known

There are a lot of unknown facing Aaron Gordon and the Orlando Magic beyond just the start of the season. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
There are a lot of unknown facing Aaron Gordon and the Orlando Magic beyond just the start of the season. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /
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Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets
Evan Fournier has turned into two stellar games as the Orlando Magic hope they have starting to build positive momentum. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

From Jim DeMaio, via comments

"Let’s discuss keeping Evan and moving Aaron and Nick"

The Orlando Magic certainly are at something of a crossroads. The team settled in at 30-35 and would have been hard-pressed to meet last year’s 42-40 record. In the standings, the Magic stayed at the same seventh seed.

While making the Playoffs again showed a certain amount of growth and consistency, stagnation is not progress. And a young team like the Magic has to be making progress to make the most of this opportunity.

There is truly no standing still in the NBA. If the Magic are going to improve their spot in the Eastern Conference, it really feels like change is necessary.

A lot was made of how few changes the team made from last season. Everyone believed this chemistry would carry over and allow the Magic to hit the ground running. That did not happen.

Injuries did not help matters. But there was no rolling over the same chemistry and focus. The team has never been as sharp as it was in last year’s playoff run. And so it is fair to question every player on the roster — really not named Jonathan Isaac or Markelle Fultz at this point.

Evan Fournier’s free agency has put further focus on this question. The team seems destined to change just based on the reality Evan Fournier could become a free agent.

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Bleacher Report's star trade idea finally rids Knicks of Evan Fournier
Bleacher Report's star trade idea finally rids Knicks of Evan Fournier /

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  • For many fans, that change means officially ditching the pillars of the team’s never-ending rebuild. There is a restlessness to see guys like Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier move on. There is certainly a desire to turn things over to some more of the young players.

    But the uncertainty over the league’s future means Fournier is likely to opt-in to the final year of his contract. And while an expiring contract has a lot of value, especially in a market with few free agents, Fournier still seems more important to the team as a necessary outside shooter.

    While a whole lot of fans are ready to move on, the team has to consider bringing Fournier back. And, yes, that might be the easiest way to make a lot of changes to the team at the end of the day too.

    Players like Aaron Gordon and probably Nikola Vucevic might have more value on the trade market.

    Those players are also standing in the way of players the Magic want to develop. There are a lot of questions about how Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac ultimately fit together. And the Magic spent a sixth overall pick on Mohamed Bamba for a reason. At some point, they hope he can take over the starting role from Vucevic.

    There is no clear replacement for Fournier on the roster. There is no player in the wings ready to fill that role. And so Fournier certainly has some leverage and bargaining power. Unless the team plans to trade away someone like Gordon or Vucevic along with losing Fournier.

    That might be the path the team actually goes down at the end of the day. That might be the requirement of turning things over and moving forward.

    But it is far from outside the realm of possibility that Fournier will remain in a Magic uniform for some time and even get another contract from the team.