Orlando Magic 2023 Free Agency Power Rankings
Not Likely Their Guy
Some Orlando Magic fans have wondered why the team is not chasing after Toronto Raptors big man Jakob Poeltl.
Poeltl has proven himself in the last few years to be good at some of the areas the Magic have been weakest at — rebounding (9.1 per game) and shot-blocking (1.2 per game). He is not much of a flexible offensive player. But his screen setting is elite in the league.
The fact is he is likely priced out for the Magic. He is expected to net a contract that makes him nearly $20 million. And Orlando still likely feels comfortable and confident in Wendell Carter as the starting center. The Magic are not ready to make that deal yet.
The Orlando Magic should have their focus on their frontcourt and finding versatile, athletic bigs who can switch and spread the floor. That could put them in line to chase after someone like P.J. Washington from the Charlotte Hornets.
He averaged 15.7 points per game although just 4.9 rebounds per game to go with 34.8 percent shooting. He is a stretch-5 in a lot of ways. And the Hornets are probably going to match any offer that comes his way.
Still, there are a lot of things that fit what the Magic like in a player like this. They just probably are not ready to pay the cost to get him free of their division rival.
A lot of Orlando Magic fans have focused on Austin Reaves as their free-agent target from the Los Angeles Lakers. But I have always liked the idea of chasing after Lonnie Walker IV.
He averaged 11.7 points per game (his third straight season with 10 or more points per game) and 36.5 percent shooting from deep. He showed up in the Playoffs in several big moments too.
He has good size and is a solid defender. I think he fits the team a lot better than a lot of other players, even if he has had an inconsistent run through his career. He is certainly more affordable — likely less than $10 million per year — than Austin Reaves.
If the Orlando Magic strike out on Joe Ingles, Georges Niang offers a similar player type for the team to chase.
Niang is a sharpshooter in every sense of the word. He averaged 8.2 points per game and shot 40.1 percent from beyond the arc, his fifth straight season shooting better than 40 percent from deep.
That is about the only skill he brings to the table. He can guard both forward positions but is out there to shoot. The rest of his game will need to be covered.
Christian Wood is a great scorer. That is always what he has been able to do. But he is not a good cultural fit for the Orlando Magic despite this scoring ability. The Magic value defensive players and Wood has often played himself off the court with his poor defense. His offense just has never been good enough to make up for that.
Depsite the Magic’s need for scoring, this just feels like a player the Magic should stay away from.
At one point, the Orlando Magic were among the favorites to land Fred VanVleet. There were rumors they might put the money in during the trade deadline to grab him. And there was at least some sense to going for him. They needed a shooter and a veteran to guide this young team.
The price tag was always going to be high — projected around $30 million by conservative estimates. And now that price tag seems set to hit nearly $40 million with the Houston Rockets aiming to get aggressive and throw a lot of money in free agency.
Even if the Magic were looking to add another guard. They have likely been priced out of this former All-Star guard.