September is usually not the time anybody is talking about trades and imminent moves in the NBA.
Yes, this media economy around the sport is always seemingly focused on the future and the next big trade that will break the Internet. Nobody seems focused on the present at all. It is always about the next big thing.
The Orlando Magic are trying their best to keep the focus on the present. They have a season that fans are looking forward to in many ways as a breakthrough for a young up-and-coming team into the postseason. The Magic themselves valued continuity this offseason to try to let the team grow.
Everyone knows though that the Magic team that takes the floor in 2024 is not likely to be the team’s final form. This is not the group that could compete for a championship.
The Orlando Magic are using this season once again to assess their roster and see who can answer the short- and long-term questions to help the team win and grow.
Orlando’s valuing of continuity might mean there are a lot of players held over year after year. But there is a long way to go before the Magic even get to being title contenders. There are a lot of questions to ask about this team.
Nobody would blame Magic fans for already thinking about ways to improve the team. There are plenty of trade opportunities out there today for every team. It is hard for the Magic not to consider whether going after Buddy Hield is the right call.
The Magic seem content with continuity. It almost seemed like a deliberate choice for the team. And the reason for that is to give the team a better understanding of what it has on its roster and what it needs to build.
This season is about answering a lot of long-term questions just as it is about answering some of the short-term questions.
It is clear the Magic are planning to build around Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner. Those two players have the clearest trajectories to become stars on the team.
But a lot of the other players on this Magic team have some very big questions to answer about their long-term fit with the team, not to mention how they will contribute to the growth the team expects to see this coming season.
This is a year for the Magic where they will be answering some short-term questions as they try to reach the postseason. But they will begin to ponder the long-term questions their roster has left for them.