5 decisions the Orlando Magic face entering the 2024 season
The Point Guard Debate
The Orlando Magic have had a lot of good times with cap room that they just keep trying to spin forward. This has disappointed some Magic fans who saw the cap space as an avenue or excuse to spend.
That is not quite how the NBA works anymore. The big-name players know they can dictate where they go while still under contract and getting the most money they can via extensions and Bird Rights.
Orlando has simply spent the last few summers overspending on some short-term contracts (hello, Joe Ingles’ $11 million contract) and spun the flexibility over to the next season in case they need it for trades or that free agent who wriggles free.
The Magic will still have a fair amount of space and tons of flexibility. But that time is slowly coming to an end. And next summer will be the first summer they will have to make some big financial decisions and commitments — and then they will have successive summers of locking in their core players on big contracts.
The focus before training camp — or before the Oct. 30 deadline — is whether the Magic will take care of their two young point guards. And by extension, whether the Magic will tie up their books a little bit.
Both Fultz and Anthony have likely earned consideration for a new contract and no one would be surprised if the team just takes care of them. That has been the M.O. for Jeff Weltman. He re-signs his own players usually on terms that still get the player paid but keep the Magic fairly flexible.
Fultz averaged 14.0 points per game and 5.7 assists per game and Anthony averaged 13.0 points per game (largely off the bench) with 4.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Both played significantly better after the All-Star Break once the team was healthier.
They both will play key roles for the team this upcoming season. But the drafting of Anthony Black has raised plenty of questions — a question we will get to a bit later.
Can the Magic really invest significant money — probably somewhere near $40 million per year for both — when they are this crowded at point guard?
This could be the first critical financial decision of this rebuild with Weltman. So far everything has been easy. The team was playing with funny money. But Orlando has to start planning for Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero to come off their rookie contracts and at least consider how they want to line up their contracts.
That might be the reason why the Magic should just take care of both. Orlando is going to need big salaries to move for future trades. The team just does not want to get stuck with a bunch of contracts it cannot move and a team with no way to raise its ceiling. Especially during this critical incubator phase with these young players.
There is a lot to consider. And that does not even get into whether Fultz and Anthony feel they can bet on themselves having great seasons for an up-and-coming Magic team and increase their value.
The Magic are not likely to alienate anybody with these negotiations. That is not how Weltman operates. But at some point, Weltman might have to be a bit ruthless and make some critical decisions.
What the Magic do here might be the first.