Orlando Magic find their veteran, expected to sign Joe Ingles

Apr 2, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Joe Ingles (7) reacts in the third quarter during game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Joe Ingles (7) reacts in the third quarter during game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic entered this offseason needing to find a bit more veteran know-how and improve their shooting.

Even with few roster spots remaining after guaranteeing the final years of Gary Harris and Markelle Fultz’s contracts Friday, the Magic found a way to fill this need in one big swoop.

After being rumored to be the front runner in late reporting from Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports and Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, the Magic do appear close to signing veteran forward Joe Ingles to a new contract according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is a two-year, $22 million deal. The second year is a team option per Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY.

The Orlando Magic are signing Joe Ingles to a two-year, $22-million deal giving the team some needed shooting and veteran know-how to a young locker room.

This would eat into roughly half of the Magic’s available cap room (unless the team intends to use it as part of the nontaxpayer mid-level exception and sign someone else with their roughly $21 million in cap space remaining).

This is not some earth-shattering move by the Magic by any means. Ingles figures to slot in off the bench and help continue to provide playmaking and passing in addition to his shooting at the forward spots.

The 35-year-old forward is instantly the oldest player on the team now (and the only player older than 30 years old currently on the roster).

Ingles had a solid if not unspectacular season last year for the Milwaukee Bucks. He averaged 6.9 points per game and 3.3 assists per game off the bench in 22.2 minutes per game, appearing in 46 games.

Ingles is an excellent 3-point shooter, hitting 40.9 percent of his threes last year, including 46.9 percent of his pull-up attempts and 39.0 percent of his catch-and-shoot attempts.

Additionally, he has always been excellent at passing out of his drives and can finish effectively at the rim with how he can weave his way through defenses. He shot 64.0 percent at the rim last year and was in the 95th percentile in drive assist rate at 17.6 percent.

He averaged 11.8 assist points per 75 possessions according to data from Basketball-Index and created 21.4 potential assists per 100 possessions.

Ingles is just a smart player who knows the time to attack and the time to pass and will hit threes when the ball rotates to him.

Ingles is not much of a rebounder and his defense is a bit creaky — although he rates highly in both deflections and steals per 75 possessions. But Ingles is just a smart player who understands his role and plays it effectively.

He always has.

The biggest concern is his injury history, however. And he is getting older, making this a pretty sizable investment for someone nearing the end of his career.

He was coming off a similar season in 2022 for the Utah Jazz. That season was cut short by a torn ACL that he quickly recovered from to debut for the Bucks last season.

His last full season was in 2021 when he averaged 12.1 points per game and 4.7 assists per game on 48.9/45.1/84.4 shooting splits. He was one of the absolute best shooters in the league at that time and still had a drive assist rate of 16.3 percent, among the best in the league, and 15.2 assist points per 75 possessions.

If it truly takes a year after returning for a player to recover completely from a torn ACL then Ingles could be due for a huge bounceback season this coming year.

For the Magic, this just checks off two key needs for the team.

They added potentially one of the best shooters in the entire league. Provided the Magic can work the ball to him, they will have a shooter with some gravity. That is going to increase the driving lanes for everyone on the roster.

At its heart, that is what the Magic are hoping to get out of this deal and hoping to get out of this player. He is a solid playmaker from the forward position even with his athletic limitations.

More than that, the Magic have a veteran forward who has been around the league and can be a good voice in the locker room. That is something the Magic need. They know exactly what they are getting from a player like Ingles.

Orlando can certainly feel like it improved and added a critical skill to the team. It was a good signing — and one that gives the Magic a quick out if things do not work out or the Magic start readying to hunt for bigger fish in free agency.

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The Magic accomplished a lot of their goals in one signing and while there are still some needs to fill on this roster, they put themselves in a better position to grow and improve next season.