It has been a week since the trade deadline came and went.
New players are settling in with their new teams. Or taking buyouts and aligning themselves for playoff runs.
Everything is stabilizing around the league as the focus turns toward the sprint to the end of the season after this weekend’s All-Star Break. The Orlando Magic find themselves four games back of the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards for the final spot in the Play-In Tournament.
That dream is very much alive.
But they will do so with the young group that got them there. The only activity for the Magic at the trade deadline was to send Mo Bamba to the Los Angeles Lakers for Patrick Beverley (whom they promptly waived) and a 2024 second-round pick from the Denver Nuggets. The team also cut Terrence Ross, allowing him to sign with the Phoenix Suns for their championship run.
The Orlando Magic largely stood pat at the trade deadline. But they set up what coudl be a busy offseason. One that should include a heavy play in the free agent market.
The Magic have had to be pretty pleased with how much their young team has grown and how they have progressed. They have already eclipsed last year’s win total and the team can put a little bit of winning pressure on their group to try to make a postseason push, even if it ultimately falls short.
The trade deadline though is not just about setting up the rest of the season.
For the teams hoping to make a playoff, there might be some mortgaging of their future to make the most of the final 25 games in front of them. For a lot of other teams, the trade deadline is about setting up the team’s offseason, whether that is lowering a tax bill or preparing for free agency.
The Magic did not meaningfully change their offseason outlook. Bamba had a non-guaranteed contract for the 2024 season. Trading him essentially made a decision the team seemed on track to make before June 29 when that deal becomes fully guaranteed.
But it did highlight Orlando will have a ton of money to spend this offseason.
As things stand now, the Magic have just $67.2 million committed to next season. That does not include non-guaranteed amounts for Jonathan Isaac ($17.4 million), Gary Harris ($13 million), Bol Bol ($2.2 million) and Goga Bitadze (he reportedly signed a two-year deal with a team option for 2024).
It is safe to assume the Magic will retain Isaac and Harris at minimum, bringing the Magic’s grand total to $97.6 million. And that does not include the Magic’s two likely first-round picks (the Magic are currently projected to reach the fifth and seventh picks, an estimated total of $12 million.
Even accounting for those, the Magic would still find themselves $24.4 million underneath the projected $134 million salary cap. Orlando could easily get themselves to more and they could easily make trades to acquire more salary to improve their roster.
The point for the Magic this offseason remains its flexibility. And while this is not a particularly strong free-agent class, the Magic are still expected to be players in the market. It is fair to think the Magic will grab at least one major free agent this offseason to bolster their roster and team.
There is still a lot of season left to go through and a lot to learn to set this offseason up. Already, fans — and surely the team — have a sense of what the Magic need this offseason to bolster this team.
It is not too early to turn an eye toward the offseason and who the Magic might be targeting in free agency. The deadline works to set the summer up. And Orlando has certainly set the table.