5 early Orlando Magic 2022 offseason storylines to watch

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Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
Deandre Ayton figures to be one of the big free agents this offseason, but the Phoenix Suns will surely match any offer. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports /

5 Orlando Magic offseason storylines

Free Agency Choices

This year’s free-agent class is not expected to create much buzz. The best free agents are James Harden, Zach LaVine and Deandre Ayton. All three are expected to stay in their respective cities. Perhaps there is some rumbling that LaVine could leave after the Chicago Bulls’ struggles to end the season. But it may not be a big summer of free agent moving.

Trades will be a different story. And that is probably where the rest of the league and the Magic will act.

Still, Orlando is one of the few teams expected to have cap room this summer. The Magic could be a team that throws some money around — perhaps forcing the Charlotte Hornets to think about matching a big offer on Miles Bridges or the Phoenix Suns to pony up for Deandre Ayton.

Those are all pie in the sky ideas. But Orlando could be in play to make major moves like that if the team wants.

The Magic currently have roughly $81.2 million in guaranteed salary for next year. This does not include Devin Cannady and Moe Wagner’s non-guaranteed amounts for next season, cap holds for Gary Harris and Mo Bamba and the upcoming draft pick.

If the Magic pick second next year, that would cost them another $7.5 million.

The salary cap next year is projected to fall at $122 million. That gives Orlando somewhere in the neighborhood of $33.3 million before dealing with the team’s own free agents. That part will add some complications. But it is easy to see how much room the team has to play with.

What the Magic do with all that money is the real question then.

Do they spend some of it to retain Gary Harris? The Magic could offer the bulk of that room to him in a front-loaded deal to keep him around.

Do they spend some of it to keep Mo Bamba? Bamba has a cap hold of more than $20-million. If the Magic want to keep Bamba, they will have to deal with him first — or have his contract agreed to first before moving forward with anything else to make the cap mechanics work.

Do the Magic use their cap space as a rental to acquire other players they want or draft capital? The Magic could act as a facilitator in larger trades stealing assets they want to grab in exchange for taking on bad contracts.

This part of the rebuild is sometimes messy. But smart teams are able to mine players who can help young teams in the process.

Orlando has to spend some of its cap room this offseason. The team cannot just sit on it. The Magic have to do something with it.

This will not be a quiet offseason.