Orlando Magic offseason improvements will start with their own free agents

The Orlando Magic are finishing the season with the same group that started the year. They likely will not start next year with the same roster. And their decisions on how to evolve and grow will start with their own free agents.
Orlando Magic v Chicago Bulls
Orlando Magic v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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What the Orlando Magic will do with their free agents

Goga Bitadze

Goga Bitadze is the best third-string big man in the NBA. He is a serviceable screen setter, rim runner, paint finisher and shot blocker. He is surprisingly light-footed and can stay in front of NBA guards during pick-and-roll switches. Or he can recover with his length to contest the shot if an offensive player beats him off the dribble. 

He has rebuilt his career in Orlando similarly to Markelle Fultz. The Indiana Pacers saw little potential left in the 6-foot-11 Georgian and waived him to make room for Serge Ibaka in a cost-cutting trade (they cut Ibaka immediately).

One thing that Jeff Weltman does extraordinarily well is find value where others do not. 

Bitadze has been everything the Magic have asked of him. He is expected to be an end-of-bench player but contributes at a high level. When called upon he has overachieved as a starter and has proven his relevance in the NBA. 

The Magic have players on the roster who impact what the team needs more than Bitadze. The roster needs scorers who can create for themselves and others.

Goga Bitadze can create as a screener, but so can Wendell Carter, Moe Wagner and Jonathan Isaac. Those three have also earned playing time and can hold their own on defense. They add a lot more offensive versatility too.

Bitadze has been reliable, but still finds himself outside of the rotation. Still, when the Magic need him he responds well.

Big men are coveted in the NBA. Some teams could use his services as a high-quality backup or a starting center. Teams will be contacting Bitadze’s agent as he comes off his minimum contract.

Will he look to re-sign under a team-friendly contract like the Magic have targeted in recent years? It is doubtful he would. He has to do what is in his best interest and find a team where he can compete for a starting role. 

At only 24 years old, Bitadze will be a rotational NBA center for a long time. The Magic can pivot to a different big man to fill in as an insurance policy for a fraction of the cost.

Orlando has some decisions it needs to make with its roster this summer. How the team finishes the year will impact their moves.

The team has flexibility with team-friendly contracts, expiring deals and cap space to improve the roster. The Magic have valued their continuity, but it is almost certain the roster will shift and change heading into next season after the team goes through the playoffs.

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That means, the team will have to move on from some of these impending free agents and weigh how best to grow the roster.