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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Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando Magic
Michael Carter-Williams has been break out role player for the Orlando Magic and should find himself a new contract after the season is over.(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

One of the big offseason questions the Orlando Magic will face is whether to re-sign Michael Carter-Williams. In fact, both of their backup point guards are hitting free agency at the same time. Deciding whether and how much to re-sign either or both of D.J. Augustin or Michael Carter-Williams is a big part of the summer.

Especially considering how little money the Magic have to spend and how few free agents there are available on this market. Orlando is in a little bit of a corner.

Carter-Williams has been a good change of pace point guard for the Magic. He does a good job keeping the pace up and coach Steve Clifford does nothing but gush about his defense. He still has a lot of the issues that kept him bouncing around the league — he is a poor shooter and not a particularly great playmaker.

For the season, Carter-Williams is averaging 7.2 points per game and 3.4 assists per game in 18.4 minutes per game. He is shooting 29.4 percent from beyond the arc. The Magic’s offense swing saw Carter-Williams begin producing significantly more — 9.6 points per game and 36.4-percent shooting from deep.

When Carter-Williams is healthy he makes a big difference for this team.

Orlando has done a good job limiting those instances by pairing him with another point guard. In fact, 523 of Carter-Williams’ 773 minutes this season have come with either Markelle Fultz or D.J. Augustin sharing the floor with him. He and Augustin have proven to be a solid backcourt pairing with Augustin’s shooting ability able to space the floor for him.

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  • If I had my pick, I lean toward keeping Carter-Williams over Augustin. But that too seems risky.

    The backup point guard question seems like it could be something the Magic use the draft to solve too. Players like Kira Lewis, Theo Maledon, R.J. Hampton and Tyrese Maxey could slide into that backup spot and help the Magic’s guard depth next year.

    But re-signing Carter-Williams should be a priority. But if his price tag becomes too great, the Magic should be willing to look elsewhere.

    Carter-Williams should have a lot of suitors — the Golden State Warriors have been a popular pursuer. But the Magic should definitely be considering adding him on a long-term deal, even with their own cap sheet to balance.

    As for the Mohamed Bamba question.

    I really do not read a whole lot into playing with Hakeem Olajuwon specifically. It works for some players and it does not for others. Kobe Bryant took to Hakeem Olajuwon’s teaching well to learn footwork and extend his career. The results with Joel Embiid have been mixed. And Dwight Howard quickly abandoned a lot of the advances he made after training with Olajuwon.

    This is all to say, it really is what the players makes of it.

    But Bamba’s style does not really match what Olajuwon teaches. At least for now. Bamba still hovers mostly around the perimeter and he is used more as a pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop guy.

    This offseason, Bamba should use his time not necessarily building a new skill, but reinforcing an old skill. He has to maintain his agility and shooting stroke while playing at a heavier weight.