The Orlando Magic have an impossible decision to make on Jonathan Isaac

This summer is full of decisions for the Orlando Magic. From the trade market to free agency, these question marks will be answered in time and will carve the immediate future of the franchise. However, no decision will arguably be bigger on what the team decides to do with Jonathan Isaac.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Orlando Magic - Game Three
Cleveland Cavaliers v Orlando Magic - Game Three / Rich Storry/GettyImages

This season was considered a success in many ways, and one of those ways was the amount of games Jonathan Isaac was able to play without suffering any long-term injuries. Isaac played 58 games, which is the second most in his career. He likely could have played more, missing several games due to injury maintenance in back-to-backs. However, this season was about what the team can do in the future, and there should be optimism that Isaac can be a constant moving forward.

There's going to be risks surrounding Isaac and whether or not his body can hold up. Despite these risks, Isaac made his upside apparent all season long and is a major reason for the Magic's elite defense and run to make the playoffs for the first time in four years. With that being said, the Magic have to ask themselves three questions: Can Isaac remain healthy consistently, what is Isaac's role with the team in the future, and is the team willing to pay Isaac this summer?

Again, this season marked the most games Isaac has played since his second year in the NBA, and Orlando will take that into account when making their decision. The Magic are going to have to scale that question mark and the potential impact he provides for the team.

First off, there is an argument that Jonathan's major injury history has been full of freak accidents. This long road to return has been meant to make sure Isaac would return without having to worry about constantly being in and out of the lineup. This season was Isaac just scratching the surface of what he can provide the team.

There is no question of what Isaac does for the team on the defensive end of the floor, protecting the rim, creating havoc in passing lanes, being able to switch on anyone, and truly being one of the only 1 through 5 defenders in the league. Isaac averaging 1.2 blocks and 0.7 steals per game in only 15.8 minutes is impressive and he had a 102.1 defensive rating, which is even better than the Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert's 104.4 rating.

His defensive play has been strong, but more intriguing has been the quiet offensive improvement Isaac has begun to make this season. His points per game are not going to jump off the stat page, but this season, Isaac shot 37.5 percent from three throughout the year and 50 percent after the All-Star break.

No one expects Isaac to be a 50-percent three-point shooter, but if he can become a better shooter on a higher volume, that would increase his value for the Magic. Isaac has also posted the highest true shooting of his career with 61 percent. Isaac's apparent growth as a shooter and expansion of his offensive game is going to be a major contribution to Orlando taking the next step.

The Magic have some tough decisions to make about Jonathan Isaac

This then begs the question of what Isaac's role should be with the team.

A couple of questions were answered during the playoff run surrounding Jonathan Isaac. The biggest answer we got was to the question of whether or not he could be the starting center for the Magic. Isaac struggled to battle Jarret Allen's size, and playing center took away from his impact on the defensive end of the floor. Isaac isn't also starting over Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero, so Isaac is likely to come off the bench for the Magic. That is not a bad thing by any stretch, as he was a major reason Orlando's bench was one of the best in the league.

However, Isaac needs to play more. He only played 15.8 minutes per game, and Orlando was better when he was on the floor. The goal needs to be to make Isaac the sixth man of the team and play him between 20 and 25 minutes per game, and for defensive intensity, one of Jalen Suggs or Jonathan Isaac needs to be on the floor at all times.

Then finally, what is Isaac's pay day going to look like?

For now, Isaac's contract for the next year is to be 17.4 million dollars, but it is not guaranteed if Orlando decides to waive Isaac. Both sides have to conclude together. Isaac may consider taking a pay cut next season to get a longer deal for longevity, and that would certainly help Orlando this offseason. At the same time, Isaac may leave in free agency if Orlando takes that route. In any scenario, Isaac is too important to the Magic, and have to bring him back.

These playoffs have displayed the importance of depth. The Magic can't afford to lose Isaac, especially for nothing. Isaac contributes on the court and is deserving of an increased role next season. It will take both sides to reach an agreement on how they will move forward, however. There are various ways that this can play out when the time comes, but one thing is for certain: Isaac needs to be in pinstripes next season.