Magic Rumors: Should Orlando make a big splash in free agency? 

Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Five
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Five / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Seemingly still in the middle of their rebuild, very few of us expected the Orlando Magic to make the playoffs this season. The young team outperformed all kinds of expectations, however, secured the fifth seed in the East and is now battling the Cleveland Cavaliers in a tough first-round series. 

This sudden surge by the Magic obviously got everyone excited about the team’s future. They have a superstar in the making in Paolo Banchero, a solid co-star to pair with him, and some talented, two-way players to support them. The Magic’s future is bright, no matter what they do this summer, but after this season’s success, accelerating the team’s timeline sure seems tempting. 

If they were to add a star player this summer, the Magic could be a true contender in the East much sooner than expected. Not surprisingly, they have been rumored to have an eye on several big names in free agency. 

The Magic are reportedly interested in Paul George

Paul George’s deal with the LA Clippers is coming to an end. He has a $48.8 million player option for the next season and can still negotiate a new contract with the team, but he could also decide to hit free agency instead. 

On the latest episode of The Hoop Collective, Brian Windhorst mentioned that George wants a max contract, which is something the Clippers do not want to give him. They didn’t give it to his running mate Kawhi Leonard either. 

Ramona Shelburne further reported that the Magic might try to convince the nine-time All-Star to come to Orlando over the summer. 

“There’s two teams that are paying very close attention to Paul George: the Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers because both of them have the money to throw at him and have a need for a wing just like him, a veteran guy,” she said on The Hoop Collective. 

How would Paul George fit in with the Magic?

First and foremost, Paul George would add some experience and veteran savvy to this young Magic team while still providing high-level play. George may be 33 years old, but he is still a great player. 

This season, he averaged 22.6 points on efficient shooting, 3.5 assists, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.5 steals over 74 regular season games. Adding him to the mix would give the Magic a legitimate big three. 

Jalen Suggs is a great two-way threat but he seems rather overtaxed as the team’s third scoring option at times. Getting George would allow him to be more of a supporting player and might even fix a lot of the team’s offensive issues that have reared their ugly heads in the playoffs. 

Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner are future All-Stars in this league, but both are still incredibly young. They could benefit from having someone around who has been on that very path and can help them carry the weight of making the team’s offense run. Plus, George is a great three-point shooter. He shot 41.3 percent on 7.9 attempts from long range during the regular season, which is something the Magic just don’t have right now. 

On the other end of the floor, George fits the Magic’s brand of being a tough defensive team, making him a good fit all over the court. The only concern is that Coach Mosley would have to figure out how to keep him happy while not taking the ball away from his young guys too much. 

Orlando has no pressure to build a contender this summer. Instead, the priority should be to develop Banchero, Wagner, Suggs, and company correctly. On the other hand, just imagine what this team could do with Paul George in the starting lineup instead of Gary Harris. 

What would be in it for Paul George?

Since George joined the Clippers in 2019, the team has made it to the Western Conference Finals once in the 2020-21 season but eventually lost to the Suns. Other than that, their playoff success has been extremely limited, considering the big names on the roster. 

Even this season, there is no guarantee that they will make it past the Mavericks and out of the first round, as they just suffered a bad loss in Game 5. Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook are all future Hall of Famers, but they are not getting any younger, and the window to win a title with this group in LA will close soon. 

Joining the Magic could offer George a chance to play with a promising, young squad and guide the next generation. Orlando’s window to be a contender has just opened, and they will be in the mix for quite some time.