5 early Orlando Magic 2022 offseason storylines to watch

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Mo Bamba, Orlando Magic, Minnesota Timberwolves
Mo Bamba had one of his best games of his career as he has started to shine for the Orlando Magic. Mar 11, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando Magic center Mo Bamba (5) and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jarred Vanderbilt (8) battle for position during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

5 Orlando Magic offseason storylines

The Mo Bamba question

The Orlando Magic do not have a ton of free agency questions to answer. And some of the bigger ones will likely be out of their control.

The Gary Harris question is one that is certainly independent of anything else and rests solely with him and whether he wants to hang around a rebuilding team.

The bigger question for a young team is what do they do with one of their young players. And, in this instance, the Magic do have a choice with Mo Bamba as he enters restricted free agency.

Bamba had a breakout year as he got consistent playing time and a starter’s role for the first time in his career. He averaged a career-high 10.6 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game and 1.7 blocks per game. More minutes will do that.

So too will the confidence that comes with playing those kinds of minutes.

But the question hanging over Bamba the entire season was whether he would return to the team this offseason and just how much he is worth. And his season has not made any answers clearer.

To Bamba’s credit, he said after Sunday’s game he wants to stay with the team. He has talked all year about his personal excitement of returning to the team and seeing what this group is building. Bamba spent the whole season talking about the Magic in the present tense with very little qualifications.

But this is business. And, as Bamba said after Sunday’s game, he is going to have to let things take care of themselves.

That might well mean Bamba is playing elsewhere next season. But it feels just as likely Bamba could return to the team too. It is anybody’s guess.

Not a lot of teams have money this offseason. It is not a great market for restricted free agents. Unless Bamba settles for the mid-level exception — roughly capped at $9.3 million — it is hard to see him making more than his $10.1 million qualifying offer.

That might make it better for him to take the qualifying offer and kick his free agency down the road another year — getting a second prove-it year.

Then again, the playing time Bamba got this season might get squeezed by the drafting of another forward or a similar shot-blocking, 3-point-shooting big. Bamba’s time might well have run out one way or the other.

That does not make the Magic’s choice in whether to bring back Bamba and for how much any easier.