5 free agents the Orlando Magic could target
Veteran Help: Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings
The Orlando Magic were the third-youngest team in the league last year. And while they are getting a year older, this is not a team awash with veterans with playoff experience. Gary Harris is the oldest player on the roster and he is just entering his 29-year-old season.
This is a Magic team that could use some experience and some players sprinkled into the rotation who have made deep playoff runs or have been to the playoffs at all. One of the major concerns for the Magic leveling up is being armed with the experience of actually having been there.
Coach Jamahl Mosley is doing his best to get his team mentally prepared for playoff battles. He and players on the team have spoken about how they have interspersed playoff clips and discussions in their film meetings. They know that goal is on the horizon.
But experience is the most important thing this team needs to gain. And, of course, there is no replacing having someone on the floor and in the locker room who can point these young players in the right direction.
In other words: This team needs to find its Horace Grant.
They need to find a high-level rotation player who has won championships, gained playoff experience and been deep in the playoffs to give direct advice to players in real-time that coaches simply cannot always give.
This may not be the summer the Magic have to get that — after all, the Magic did not sign Grant until they made their Playoff debut in 1994, moving heaven and earth to create the cap room to add the former All-Star forward and then-three-time champ.
But there are a few options.
The one to start with is Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes.
Barnes still has a lot of gas left in the tank after averaging 15.0 points per game while shooting 37.4 percent from beyond the arc. He was a strong stretch-4 for the Kings’ sudden revival last year in starting all 82 games last year. The injury reliability is probably as big a thing as anything else.
Orlando is obviously set at both forward positions. So convincing Barnes, coming off a four-year, $85 million contract that paid him $18.4 million last year, to accept a bench role would be part of the negotiations. He is still likely to command more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception and a contract near his current amount.
It is a pipe dream for sure. Probably one that is a bit more aggressive than the Magic want to be. But it would not be the worst thing to focus on a high-level veteran with playoff experience to add to the team.
Barnes fits a clear need even if he would be an overpay and would have to transition to a bench role. The Kings likely see his same value to their team as the Magic would to theirs. So I would not expect him to move anywhere.
Other veteran options with playoff experience would include Bruce Brown, Derrick Rose and Brook Lopez.