9. Dec. 21 — Keeping Jonathan Isaac & Markelle Fultz
During the shortened offseason, fans were pining for the Orlando Magic to set their path and mark their future. They wanted to see changes to the roster to break the cycle of playoff cameos the team seemed to be stuck in.
Indeed, overall, the 2020 season seemed like the group was running in place. It felt like the team had reached its ceiling. It was hard to see how the team would get better.
Perhaps the shortened offseason caused the front office to play their hand a bit more conservatively. Perhaps the market wanted the Magic to take a step back they were not prepared to do so.
Still, Orlando did important work to cement their future, taking some gambles in doing so.
Orlando signed extensions for Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz locking in place to key pillars for this team’s short-term and long-term future. Jonathan Isaac signed a four-year, $80-million contract and Markelle Fultz signed a three-year, $50-million contract. Both deals appear to have plenty of incentives laid into them to help the Magic hedge some of their bets and Fultz has a team option on his third year.
Many of those incentives seem pretty likely — Isaac gets a couple million on his base salary for playing 70 games for instance to help him reach that $80-million total — and the team is certainly investing in these players as if they will happen.
So the Magic have tied up a lot of their future in these two players and are now committed to making them the best players they can be and surrounding them with players who can support them in that goal.
Fultz has rewarded that faith so far in the 2021 season, averaging 15.7 points and 5.8 assists per game, although he needs to continue improving his shot selection and shot making. Isaac was on track to become a defensive player of the year candidate last year before his first knee injury. And there is every faith he will recover fully from the torn ACL he suffered in August.
This is the Magic’s future though. Orlando locked it in and is ready to move forward with a vision for who the team will be. Now we will see if they can execute it.