5 free agents the Orlando Magic could target
Big Fish: Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
The Orlando Magic can do a lot of things in free agency.
So far, we have thought fairly small. The Magic are expected to operate with around $20-$25 million in cap room depending on what they do with some contract guarantees on the horizon.
Everyone though has understood this is what the Magic are likely to do. However, they could quickly become major players in free agency if they wanted. By declining options to Gary Harris and Markelle Fultz and waiving Jonathan Isaac, the Magic could get into the range to sign a max player with nearly $60 million in cap room.
If June 30 comes around and the Magic announce some surprise cuts, that is certainly smoke that something is up.
Orlando has long been connected to Fred VanVleet, although the team’s two draft picks would suggest it is not as interested in a guard. nd it has long been believed it would cost $30 million per year to get VanVleet in free agency. He will have plenty of suitors — from the Houston Rockets, who seem prepared to throw money at everybody, to the Philadelphia 76ers if they miss out on James Harden.
The free agent that would be the big fish to chase might be wing Khris Middleton.
Middleton has had injury issues the last two years and is expected to return to the Bucks. There is no reason for him to leave that team and no reason for the Bucks to let him get away. But Middleton would give the Magic another offensive option who understands his defensive role. Even if he is slowing down, the Magic have players who can pick up the slack.
That is a pipe dream. His age and injury issues might make investing a long-term contract in him a bad decision for a team like the Magic. But that is the risk in chasing some of the bigger fish. It is why the Magic are not a likely team searching for a max contract player in this year’s free agency.
Still, Middleton would be the one to chase because he works so well as a complementary player. He could have big games and give the team experience while not taking attention away from the Magic’s young stars.
The Magic are not likely interested in any other former All-Stars, although fans have fixated on the unlikely path of bringing back Nikola Vucevic to back up Wendell Carter or adding Brook Lopez as a backup big.