It’s the feeling in your gut when you know your team is reversing course on the youth movement. Going into “we want to make the 7th or 8th seed” mode. This team has been on the right track to develop a young core group of players and eventually land an All Star talent or add solid veterans then emerge in the Eastern Conference. The person in charge of leading you is the one and only Rob Hennigan (golf clap). Just before the trade deadline this he ships Tobias Harris off for a 1 year rental of Brandon Jennings and the contract of the artist formally known as Ersan Ilyasvoa. To get nothing in return for a quality young player on a nice contract is inexcusable and to compound this mistake he pays Jeff Green the same money when Harris is clearly a better player. Then the mother of panic trades happens on draft night. By trading for Serge Ibaka from Oklahoma City, for Oladipo the #2 overall pick in the 2013 draft, Ilyasova’s contract & draft right’s to Domantas Sabonis. This is the Magic telling you they want to make the playoffs so bad they are willing to roll the dice on Ibaka not re signing next season. The biggest problem I have with this move is both Oladipo and Ibaka will be free agents after this coming season. Ibaka is unrestricted and will command a much larger contract then Oladipo ( Who is restricted) plus you had to give up draft rights of a young center that will likely develop in a short amount of time. I give this trade a C- for not needing to make this trade quite yet.
If you feel you needed sleep to handle that mammoth trade, Hennigan strikes again this time in free agency. These moves we will discuss will make you want to bang your head into a wall then convince yourself that this was good for you even though you have a concussion. First thing you give a 4 year 29 million contract to D.J. Augustin at 7.2 million per year. Augustin is a nice backup point guard who is a veteran that can do nice things for your team. When you see the Jazz salary dump Trey Burke on the Wizards for a future 2nd round pick. This makes the Augustin deal more puzzling that the Magic wouldn’t do the same to grab him to be the backup PG this would have saved a lot of money towards the cap. Next you give Jeff Green a 1 yr 15 million deal for an inconsistent bench player on the Clippers that has his best years behind him as a player (Cut to Magic fans with a pouty face). These 2 signings just don’t make any sense these are clear signs of a GM in panic mode. The next move which will be great for this roster is Bismack Biyombo armed with a 4 yr 70 million deal. This guy can block shots until the cows come home, has nice post moves, instant energy off the bench, great locker room guy, brings toughness to a team that hasn’t had any since Shaq and the back to back finals teams of the 90’s (Pouring out a little for remembering those squads). Taking the salary dump that is Jodie Meeks is a luke warm move but I would of rather picked up Trey Burke in that way rather than Meeks. Last but not least sending Shabazz Napier to Portland for cash. These 2 moves is like that feeling when you find a quarter between the couch cushions you’re kind of excited then 10 seconds later you’re over it.
This team is a veteran wing player away from being a 5 seed in the east and you could have signed that player. Instead you have a combined 22 mil on Green and Augustin that’s just shameful Hennigan just shameful. Why not spend that money and get Luol Deng (Too late) or better yet trade for Rudy Gay. You can still trade for him Sacramento is ready to deal him. Quick get on the phone and do a 3 team trade. Sacramento sends Rudy Gay to Orlando, Minnesota sends Rubio to Sacramento, Orlando sends Vucevic to Minnesota everyone is happy. You can have a starting 5 of Payton, Fournier, Gay, Gordon, Ibaka. That’s a nice starting 5 that you can build on but knowing Hennigan he won’t let Vucevic go even though he just traded for Ibaka and signed Biyombo. Your best small ball lineup would look like Payton, Fournier, Hezonja, Gordon, Ibaka. This squad can run with the best of them, with multiple playmakers and shooters that can spread the floor. Put this 5 out anytime another team goes small and to even finish games this is the lineup with your best athletes take advantage of that. Also, give this fan base something to cheer about and get excited for do the fans a service Vogel and trout this lineup out and watch very nice things happen.
Things to look for this coming season as a Magic fan is watch Aaron Gordon be a fantastic player all season, Payton to develop a jump shot if not then cut ties with him, Hezonja to get 25-30 minutes a game, Biyombo and Ibaka to block everything that comes in the lane finger wag all the time and fans yell out Iblockaaaaaaa, see if this team can actually shoot 3’s this will be crucial, trade Vucevic, resign Ibaka after the season ends, be thankful to know the feeling of actually having a real coach who is good and can coach any kind of talent congratulations you graduated out of the Scott Skiles level of coaching. Rest easy Magic fans you have good young talent that is ready to win. You’re a few moves away just as long as Hennigan doesn’t slaughter it. Just like the saying in poker “If it doesn’t make sense then it doesn’t make sense” the way this roster is currently constructed for the 2016-2017 season it just doesn’t make sense.