NBA Salary Cap expert predicts wild summer for Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic have a lot of cap room to spend this offseason as they look to build off their playoff performance last year. One salary cap expert has the team going all in.
The Orlando Magic could be a team hunting Klay Thompson and Malik Monk this offseason. Or they could hunt both.
The Orlando Magic could be a team hunting Klay Thompson and Malik Monk this offseason. Or they could hunt both. / Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic are in a unique position this offseason.

They are coming off a successful run to the playoffs and have somewhere between $30 and $50 million in cap room to spend. They are expected to spend a good chunk of that this summer.

Everyone has ideas on what the Magic should do this offseason.

There might be several needs they need to fill, but they are expected to invest in a starting guard to replace Gary Harris (a free agent, who struggled especially in the playoffs). Even Paolo Banchero put in his pitch for the Magic to find a table-setter.

Still everyone is expecting a fairly conservative summer. Orlando will spend to bring in a starter. But likely will preserve some cap room or look to spend smartly to finish the rest of the offseason and complete the roster.

That is what everyone expects from the Magic. But they still have the ability to throw some money around. And they could meaningfully impact the offseason around the league.

And there is at least one cap expert and reporter who is willing to throw caution to the wind and see the Magic do something crazy.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher/Report posted his educated guesses for the offseason and there are plenty of obvious moves he foresees. When it comes to the Magic though. . . he has them going big.

Pincus projects the Magic not only signing Klay Thompson, giving some credence to rumors connecting the two parties since February, but also signing Malik Monk. And if that was not enough, he also has them signing Tobias Harris for good measure.

That would be a significant haul with three starter-level players coming to Orlando and two of them likely still coming off the bench. It would dramatically change the expectations and hopes for the Magic in the 2025 season.

It is such a unique scenario that it deserves a little deeper exploration.

How can the Orlando Magic sign two marquee free agents?

The place to start is to re-establish how the Orlando Magic can create the most cap room.

Orlando has $66.1 million in guaranteed salary for next season. They are likely not to waive Jonathan Isaac's non-guaranteed deal of $17.4 million and their No. 18 pick has a cap hold of $3.6 million. That brings up the provisional total of $87.1 million.

If the Magic renounce all other cap holds for their own free agents and decline team options for Mo Wagner and Joe Ingles, that would leave the Magic with roughly $53.9 million in cap room. That could change depending on some other cap holds the team could look to retain. And it would still give the Magic the ability to re-sign a player like Mo Wagner using the room mid-level exception (worth about $8 million, the same as the option the Magic are declining).

It is then possible for the Magic to sign two players worth $20-plus million. It would allow the Magic to be very aggressive this offseason.

That is what Pincus is predicting.

He has the Magic signing Klay Thompson to a three-year, $81.9 million deal ($27.3 million average annual salary). That would give the Magic a veteran—their own Horace Grant like in the summer of 1995—and one of the best shooters of all time.

For all the talk of Thompson's skills beginning to deteriorate at 33 years old, he still averaged 17.9 points per game and shot 38.7 percent from three on 9.0 attempts per game. That would be a boost for the Magic.

As Pincus notes, that kind of a deal would only eat into roughly half the cap room the Magic have.

That would give them the room to still go out and sign another big player. And so Pincus has the Magic also signing Malik Monk.

The Sacramento Kings are severely limited in what they can offer Monk because they only hold his Early Bird Rights and are hamstrung by big contracts for De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. It would be difficult for them to cut enough salary to ensure they keep Malik Monk.

Monk would give the Magic another excellent shooter and one of the best sixth men in the league. He averaged 15.4 points per game and shot 35.0 percent from three on 5.9 attempts per game. He is a vastly improved playmaker too and could moonlight as a point guard in some lineups.

Pincus has the Magic signing Monk to a contract starting at $20 million. That would give the Magic roughly $6 million left in cap room (before using the room exception to sign Mo Wagner).

Pincus has the Magic completing its offseason by signing Tobias Harris to a two-year, $16.9 million contract (his math is different than mine). That would give the Magic some added wing depth.

Harris came under fire for his struggles with the Philadelphia 76ers, especially in the playoffs. He averaged 17.2 points per game nonetheless although he shot just 35.3 percent from beyond the arc. Who knows if he would accept returning to a reserve role after starting with the Sixers and not coming off the bench since his original arrival in Orlando at the 2013 trade deadline?

There would be some needs left unaddressed in exercising all this cap room (in Pincus' scenario, the Magic retained Bitadze's Early Bird Rights to re-sign him). But undoubtedly, this is an ambitious way to address several critical needs offensively and boost the team's entire offense.

The Orlando Magic often have a conservative approach to their offseasons

Is something like this realistic then?

It is clearly not impossible. The Magic could be aggressive and look to grab two of the bigger free agent targets. And the Magic could be in a position to do so. That is what makes this offseason so exciting and intriguing.

But that is not how the Magic typically approach their offseasons. And that is not the position they are staking out, at least publicly.

Orlando Magic general manager Anthony Parker said on the Orlando Magic Pod Squad that the team would look to be aggressive where they can be aggressive but are not looking to skip steps in the process.

It seems the Magic are still focused on adding players that fit the team's culture and identity. It is not going to be about making the biggest splash possible. That is something Jeff Weltman said during the team's exit interviews after the season ended.

Certainly what Pincus is pitching for this summer is an aggressive one. It more than addresses the Magic's perceived shooting needs. And perhaps that is what Pincus is going for more than anything else.

It does not add much to the Magic's defensive identity and still leaves them a bit exposed at center. That is something the Magic are going to consider. Their defense is important to them as the basis to their success.

The Magic have yet to be aggressive like this under Weltman beyond the decision to reset the roster at the trade deadline in 2021.

It feels a bit out of character for the Magic.

But is it possible? Absolutely it is. And it may be the kind of aggressive move that would allow Magic fans to stick their chests out and celebrate winning the summer. It is something that would improve the Magic on paper in a meaningful way.

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Putting this kind of suggestion out in the universe though shows how aggressive the Magic can get. We will have to wait and see how the Magic play this offseason.