Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Orlando Magic (Last Year: 23-59)
2013-14 Season Summary:
Year 3 of the post-Dwight Howard rebuilding project continues for the Orlando Magic. As expected, the club was one of the worst teams in the NBA this past season, but with a pair of lottery picks and a ton of cap space available, third-year general manager Rob Hanigan is handling Orlando's makeover in the right way.
2014-15 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Nikola Vucevic/Kyle O'Quinn/^Jason Maxiell
PF: Tobias Harris/Andrew Nicholson
SF: Aaron Afflalo/Moe Harkless
SG: Victor Oladipo/^Doron Lamb
PG: ^Jameer Nelson/^Ronnie Price
NBA Free Agents:
^PG-Jameer Nelson (TO)
^SG-Doron Lamb (TO)
^C-Jason Maxiell (TO)
^C-Kyle O'Quinn (TO)
^PG-Ronnie Price (TO)
^C-Dewayne Dedmon (TO)
G-E'Twaun Moore (UFA)
2014-15 Team Salary: Approximately $35.6 million
NBA Offseason Team Needs:
1. Face of the franchise:
As solid a rookie campaign as Victor Oladipo had this past season, his role at the next level seems more destined for a do-it-all type of complementary player rather than being a superstar who can carry a franchise. Sitting with the fourth-overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Magic figure to fill this void with that selection.
Dante Exum seems to be the player most likely available when Orlando is on the clock, and though he may not be a superstar right away, the potential is there for him to be a go-to option down the road. Even if Exum gets taken earlier, that means either Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, or Joel Embiid would fall to No. 4.
2. Point Guard:
Orlando holds a team option on the final year of Jameer Nelson's contract, which is due to pay him $8 million. While his experience and veteran leadership in the locker room is an asset to a young Magic team, it might be time for he and the franchise to cut ties. This would especially be the case if Orlando ends up taking Exum with the fourth-overall pick.
If the Magic land one of the other three aforementioned draft prospects, the team still holds the 12th-overall pick and could snag a young guy like Tyler Ennis, Elfrid Payton, or Shabbaz Napier. Orlando could then try to groom that selection to replace Nelson in a year.
3. Power Forward:
Once the Magic let Glen Davis go, the team was forced to use a smaller lineup with Tobias Harris at power forward. While Harris is a nice player, he certainly isn't your prototypical starting power forward in the NBA. Orlando has the cap space to bring in a veteran, but the club could also try and plug this hole through the draft, whether that be reaching for Noah Vonleh or Julius Randle at No. 4 or snagging someone like Adreian Payne at No. 12.
4. Shop Afflalo:
With Aaron Afflalo entering the final guaranteed year of his contract, Orlando should without question entertain any possible trades for the veteran wing, especially if the Magic end up taking Exum fourth overall. Afflalo has a very reasonable contract and could certainly bring back some assets like a quality young player or future picks that would accelerate Orlando's rebuilding efforts.
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