Writers, executives and everyone keep connecting Orlando Magic to a former NBA champion

The Orlando Magic are going to have a ton of cap room to spend this summer. And they will be in the power position of a young playoff team on the rise. And so one former champion keeps getting connected to them ahead of the offseason.

Rumors connecting Klay Thompson to the Orlando Magic keep on persisting. Where there is some smoke, there has to be some fire.
Rumors connecting Klay Thompson to the Orlando Magic keep on persisting. Where there is some smoke, there has to be some fire. / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone knows the Orlando Magic need shooting.

The team has fared a lot better from three since Jan. 31, hitting 37.7 percent of their threes in that stretch and going 14-5 for the second-best record in the league since that time. The Magic have found a better relationship with the 3-point shot by taking far fewer of them.

But everyone can see how teams know the deal with defending the Magic. And in the Playoffs, they are likely to find a congested paint and defenses daring Orlando to shoot a lot more. The Magic are going to have to hit some 3-pointers to be successful in the postseason.

They have had some surprisingly strong shooters -- Joe Ingles is shooting 42.3 percent (on 2.5 attempts per game), Wendell Carter is shooting 40.0 percent (on 2.9 attempts per game), Jalen Suggs is shooting 39.5 percent from three (on a more robust 5.3 attempts per game). Even Anthony Black is hitting 39.1 percent on his threes, ahead of more traditional shooters like Gary Harris (38.2 percent on 3.7 attempts per game) and Caleb Houstan at 37.7 percent.

Paolo Banchero has taken huge strides to shoot 36.1 percent on 4.2 attempts per game. The only player who has taken a step back with his shooting this year is Franz Wagner at 29.5 percent on 4.9 attempts per game.

Perhaps the Magic will surprise their playoff opponent with their shooting. But, in the end, nobody is afraid of the Magic's shooter.

Everyone is trying to connect the dots for the Magic to add some shooting this offseason. It is the seeming obsession for the team -- even if point guard feels like the far bigger need for the team to address. Orlando was content at the trade deadline to see this group through and test them in the playoffs before tweaking the roster.

The Magic though appear set to be players in the offseason to build on whatever happens to them in the playoffs. And that has everyone trying to spin the rumor mill.

One rumor is persisting as the season continues. It keeps coming up.

There are a lot of people around the league who see the Magic taking a big swing on a big-name player and former champion this summer. And while none of it is coming directly from the Magic or people associated with the Magic, there is enough smoke to at least consider it and discuss it.

Where there is smoke, there has to be some fire even if it is misdirection and agents trying to gain leverage for their client -- the Magic remain the great boogeyman in free agency.

Klay Thompson is on the tips of everyone's tongues as a potential free agent target for the Magic.

The rumor started in February just after the trade deadline when Shams Charania of Stadium told The Pat McAfee Show that he anticipated both Florida teams to chase after Thompson in free agency.

More fuel was added to the fire this week.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype interviewed several league executives, granting them anonymity, to ask about Thompson's future. While there is still the sense he will work something out to remain with the Warriors even if it means he comes off the bench, they could not resist pondering the Magic as an option:

""If you’re the Magic, don’t you want a grown-up? They need a legitimate shooting guard. Jalen Suggs is a combo guard. I think Gary Harris could be gone this summer. Let the point guard position be a combination of Anthony Black, Suggs, and Cole Anthony. Orlando likes size, which Klay has, and he’d give them shooting.""

Anonymous Executive to HoopsHype

Then there was the throwaway line in a report from Ian Begley of SNY in New York following last week's game against the New York Knicks that added more fuel to the fire.

"Perhaps worth noting: Orlando had some interest in trading for Golden State’s Klay Thompson prior to this trade deadline, per people familiar with the matter," Begley reports, noting the Magic will be a team standing in the Knicks' way moving forward. "Thompson, of course, will be a free agent in the offseason."

The estimation is that Thompson will command somewhere in the $20-$25 million range in salary. He is not looking to take a major pay cut. Nobody should be interested in signing him for more than two years with his injury history.

Thompson's championship pedigree would help a young team -- he is not quite Horace Grant joining a young Magic team for the 1995 season, but he could have a similar effect.

All of this still seems like professional dot-connecting. Thompson is a high-priced shooter on the market and the Magic need a shooter with tons of cap space to spend.

Thompson has taken a step back this year, but he is still averaging 17.0 points per game and shooting 38.0 percent on three on 8.7 attempts per game.

Having a volume shooter would be a boost to the team's offense. The Magic need to spread the floor. And the list of shooters in free agency are rather thin -- Malik Monk or Grayson Allen are other potential targets for the Magic.

It is still unclear if the Magic are going to push a lot of chips into the table to fill this need. They have money to throw around -- and this could be their last summer with loads of cap room with Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs due an extension this summer -- and everyone is curious how the Magic will spend it.

There is a sense with the team now in the playoff picture that they need to make moves to solidify the roster and become a serious contender in the next few years. The Magic still have a lot to learn about their team.

Thompson is still most likely to return to Golden State. But there is still a lot of smoke coming out of this rumor. Everyone wants to connect the dots on this.

Next. Suggs Playoff Physicality 03.13.24. Jalen Suggs eager to embrace the physicality of Playoff basketball. dark

And so long as Thompson is healthy, he would be a high-priced player who would clearly complement the Magic's young players and help the team tremendously. It is hard not to think about the possibilities.