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: 35-47)
2016-17 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Nikola Vucevic/DeWayne Dedmon
PF: Aaron Gordon/Ersan Ilyasova/Andrew Nicholson
SF: Evan Fournier/Devyn Marble
SG: Victor Oladipo/Mario Hezonja
PG: Elfrid Payton/C.J. Watson
NBA Free Agents:
PG-Brandon Jennings (UFA)
C-Jason Smith (UFA)
PF-Ersan Ilyasova (TO)
SG-Evan Fournier (RFA)
PF-Andrew Nicholson (RFA)
C-DeWayne Dedmon (RFA)
2016-17 Team Salary: Approximately $35.6 million
NBA Offseason Team Needs:
1. Power Forward:
Orlando could use a power forward to complement Nikola Vucevic inside. Aaron Gordon slid into that role after the team dealt both Tobias Harris and Channing Frye prior to the deadline, but while Gordon showed some flashes, the Magic could use a veteran power forward especially if they choose not to re-sign potential free agents Ersan Ilyasova or Andrew Nicholson. With a ton of cap space available, the team should get aggressive in finding a good fit.
2. Extend Fournier?:
The Magic primarily used a three-guard offense in 2015 by starting Evan Fournier alongside Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton. Fournier had a career year in scoring and was also the team's top three-point threat. Because of that, the native of France should draw a fair amount of interest as a restricted free agent. Orlando has the right to match any offer sheet he could sign with another team, and the Magic might have to decide how much they are willing to pay him, which should be north of $10 million per year. If they lose Fournier, the Magic must find another wing capable of contributing right away and providing some sharpshooting prowess.
3. Point Guard:
Through two years in the league, Elfrid Payton has yet to develop into the point guard the Magic were hoping for when they drafted him in the lottery. The team overpaid to bring in C.J. Watson as a backup last season, and with Brandon Jennings' tenure in Orlando likely a brief one, the club should be searching to bring in a veteran free agent who is capable of stepping into the starting lineup if Payton doesn't take a step forward with his game.
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