Free agents the Orlando Magic can throw the bag at
Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers
Nobody is here for the safe picks. And admittedly the first two slides in this post were the safe pick and me scratching my, “This is actually what is going to happen,” itch.
But the decision to let Mo Bamba hit unrestricted free agency made even me pause and think that maybe the Magic are hunting for bigger fish. Maybe the team did not want Bamba to take the qualifying offer and mess up any plans. Maybe they did not want the cap hold for Bamba’s qualifying offer hanging over them as they waited to to see what they would do.
We should all probably be out of the business of trying to predict what the Magic are going to do — unless you are from our partners at WynnBet. Nobody knows what Jeff Weltman is up to.
It did not take long for fans to turn their focus on what of the best young restricted free agents on the market — Altamonte Springs-native and Edgewater High School alum Anfernee Simons.
So let’s talk about him.
Simons averaged 17.3 points per game and 3.9 assists per game while shooting 40.5-percent from deep. The 6-foot-3 guard was bursting at the seams for this kind of a season after having big scoring outbursts in spot starts in the previous seasons.
Anfernee Simons is slated to become the running mate for Damian Lillard with the Portland Trail Blazers and seemed to give the team permission to trade CJ McCollum. It is still really hard to see the Blazers letting him go.
But what if Orlando comes in with a max offer sheet for Simons — a deal that would start at $30.9 million? Orlando would need to make some cap maneuvers to make that happen. And that seems a bit excessive.
Simons is expected to get a contract in the four-year, $80-million range, according to HoopsHype. But the Magic could easily get over that $20 million average to try to outflank the Blazers.
That does not seem likely.
Orlando has stated publicly it would like to retain some financial flexibility. And the Magic have made it clear too that they want to leave a runway for young players to play and improve. Signing a player like Anfernee Simons at that amount would block Jalen Suggs from playing.
This is the roundabout way of saying it is unlikely the Magic would do something this aggressive with its current roster makeup.
But it is also a way of saying they could, if they want.