Just when it appeared the defending Eastern Conference champions were going to be thin inside, that thought has quickly been erased. The Magic faced the loss of Hedo Turkoglu via free agency, Tony Battie in the Vince Carter trade, and possibly Marcin Gortat, who signed an offer sheet with Dallas. Orlando reacted quickly; matching the Mavs' 5-year, $34 million contract offer for Gortat and then signing Dallas free agent power forward Brandon Bass to a reported 4-year deal worth $18 million.
The Gortat signing strikes me as strange. In my opinion, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to pay a guy nearly seven million dollars a year to play 12-15 minutes a night in a backup role to Dwight Howard. But Orlando general manager Otis Smith said in a statement, that "having quality big men is an absolute must," and wasn't willing to let the Polish Hammer walk. Even Gortat was rumored to be a little disappointed as he likely would have seen more playing time in Dallas.
With Rashard Lewis likely to start at power forward, the signing of Bass makes sense. He can provide some toughness and physicality off the bench that Lewis doesn't offer as a starter. The Magic also acquired 6-10 Ryan Anderson from New Jersey in the Carter trade, so they have plenty of options and depth up front. Lewis can move to his more natural position of small forward when needed without the team missing a beat as they can plug Bass or Anderson in at the four, or even put Howard and Gortat on the floor at the same time.
These signings have solidified the Magic frontcourt, but is the long-term cost worth it? With Howard, Lewis, Gortat, Bass, and Anderson, Orlando now has some $210 million tied up for those players through the 2013 season, giving them little to no flexibility to make any moves in free agency for the next several years.
I guess if you are the Magic and you came fairly close to winning an NBA Championship this past season, the goal is to win now. That makes having these young post players a vital part of your immediate future and the years to come, a wise decision. Whether or not the guard play can keep with the depth of the bigs will be a major factor if Orlando is going to keep pace with the Celtics and Cavs in the Eastern Conference.