Could the Magic be "surprise landing spot" for former NBA champion? 

The Orlando Magic continue to be mentioned as possible landing spots for high-level free agents.
Denver Nuggets v Orlando Magic
Denver Nuggets v Orlando Magic / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages

The Orlando Magic have an exciting young core, just finished their first playoff appearance with said core, and have plenty of cap space available this offseason. All this makes Orlando a possibly big player in free agency. 

The Magic have been mentioned as possible destinations for big names, like Paul George or Klay Thompson, already. Recently, they were also a part of Bleacher Report's article "Surprise Landing Spots for Top 2024 NBA Free Agents". 

Bleacher Report lists Magic as surprise landing spot for former NBA champion

Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has a roughly $15 million player option coming up for the 2024-25 season. He has had a successful run with the Nuggets since arriving in Denver in 2022, but that doesn't necessarily mean he will stay with the team long-term. 

Several sources, like The Denver Post, expect Caldwell-Pope to decline his player option and look for a pay raise in free agency. With his skill set and experience, it is not unlikely that he will be able to get some lucrative offers. 

As Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes outlined, the Nuggets have not yet paid the tax often and might not be willing to match a big offer from a team with significant cap space available. 

Thus, Hughes listed the Magic as the surprise landing spot for the 31-year-old guard. Orlando has the cap space to make a lucrative offer to the former champion, and he seems like exactly the kind of veteran the Magic could use. 

On such a young roster, championship and playoff experience is always valuable, especially if the Magic do not bring back Joe Ingles. Caldwell-Pope also comes with a good three-point shot and a reputation as a great defender on top of that. In three of the last four seasons, he shot over 40 percent from three and usually took on the toughest perimeter assignment for the Nuggets. 

The Magic desperately need players who can stretch the floor. Caldwell-Pope could do that while fitting the team's defensive identity well. 

One issue he would not address is the lack of playmaking the Cavaliers exposed in the playoffs, however. Caldwell-Pope has never averaged more than 2.5 assists per game for a season, and the Magic already have Jalen Suggs in the backcourt, who is not really a table-setter. He is also not a big-time scorer, who could give the Magic's offense a much-needed boost. 

So, the question would be whether the Magic believe that the two guards combined could provide enough playmaking or if Caldwell-Pope would be willing to come off the bench after four years of starting. 

While the veteran is a great player, he alone would not solve the Magic's offensive issues. His ability to defend at a high level is obviously intriguing to a team that built its identity on that end of the floor and sets him apart from many other guards on the market. 

Sometimes, you have to sacrifice one thing to improve another, however. The Magic have the personnel to make up for one weak defensive link in their lineup and should not shy away from looking into more offensive-minded players, like Malik Monk. Otherwise, they might see their offense stall in the biggest moments once again.