Orlando Magic Value Tracker: Comparing cap sheets and seeking value

2 of 5
Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
Aaron Gordon’s future with the Orlando Magic could determine where the team heads next. (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

Where the Magic stand

The Orlando Magic are both in a position of some strength and potential and also in a precarious position.

Orlando still has plenty of young players who are playing some of their best basketball in their careers. But the team is also undeniably coming off a season that was a disappointment. The Magic did not advance themselves up the standings.

The team has to carve a path forward. But the Magic probably are not in a position to make wholesale changes unless they plan on sacrificing playoff position.

Whether they should take that gamble or not has consumed the fan base completely. And there really are no wrong answers. The Magic can walk a lot of paths and each path carries potential reward and risk.

The biggest thing for the Magic is to pick a path and walk it fully. Jeff Weltman needs clear and decisive plans and he needs to execute them. And that starts with extracting the most value from players — both now in trades and in the offseason.

That is what we are trying to measure.

As we have examined throughout the month, the Magic are certainly not getting that kind of value. Here is the chart we have been referencing that attempts to find value by using VORP as a function of the salary cap to determine market value (for a fuller explanation, click here to go to Nylon Calculus):

2020 VORP 2020 Market Value 2020 Salary Difference
Nikola Vucevic 3.1 $27,592,199.58 $28,000,000 -$407,800.42
Evan Fournier 1.6 $15,482,144.78 $17,000,000 -$1,517,855.22
Jonathan Isaac 1.1 $11,445,459.85 $5,806,440 +$5,639,019.85
Aaron Gordon 1.0 $10,638,122.86 $19,863,636 -$9,225,513.14
Terrence Ross 0.8 $9,023,448.89 $12,500,000 -$3,476,551.11
Mohamed Bamba 0.5 $6,601,437.93 $5,697,600 -$903,837.93
Michael Carter-Williams 0.5 $6,601,437.93 $2,028,594 +$4,572,843.93
D.J. Augustin 0.2 $4,179,426.97 $7,250,000 -$3,070,573.03
Markelle Fultz 0.1 $3,372,089.99 $9,745,200 -$6,373,110.01
Khem Birch -0.1 $1,757,416.01 $3,000,000 -$1,242,583.99
Al-Farouq Aminu -0.1 $1,757,416.01 $9,258,000 -$7,500,583.99
James Ennis -0.3 $142,742.04 $1,882,867 -$1,740,124.96
Gary Clark -0.1 $1,757,416.01 $718,765 +$1,038,651.01
Wesley Iwundu -0.2 $950,079.03 $1,618,520 -$668,440.97
2020 VORP 2020 Market Value 2020 Salary Difference

The biggest thing to notice is even by this potentially crude measure of market value, the Magic are not getting full value for their players. Most of their players underperformed.

As we have studied, perhaps there are flaws in this formula — mostly because of the way I have applied it, even though using the same formula as a frame of reference does give us a snapshot.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

But it is also something fairly intuitive too. Jonathan Isaac had a really good year even in limited minutes because of injury and far outproduces his artificially low rookie contract. But not by as much as one would think — again, maybe his injuries slowed that progress.

Nikola Vucevic came on strong to the end of the season and seemed to live up to his contract. HIs front-loaded deal could continue to look better.

Evan Fournier had a career year, but at least by VORP seemed fairly replaceable. Certainly at the salary Fournier is making.

John Hollinger of The Athletic introduced his own calculations to figure out value — turning on-court production into a dollar market value. He has been revealing them in light of the upcoming free agent classes throughout the week.

He measured Fournier out to roughly $13 million. That calculation is worse than even the rudimentary formula we have been using here. It looks more and more like the Magic will not retain Fournier when his contract expires.

Outside of super small contract players like Michael Carter-Williams and Gary Clark, it is hard to say the Magic got a production that met market value.

There are flaws with this formula. But there are a few other metrics that suggest these are not too far off.

But focusing only on the Magic puts things in isolation. It might help to see how value looks and looks differently across the league.