Coming off another abysmal showing in the playoffs, the Orlando Magic will be facing a potential total reboot this offseason. Even though the Magic showed quite an improvement considering that they made it to the playoffs for two straight years, it always seemed like the team just doesn’t have the arsenal to keep up with the elite contenders in the Eastern Conference.
With the exception of All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic, Orlando’s roster is comprised of a bunch of jack-of-all-trades players who also don’t have a skill that they are really great at. Aaron Gordon has always been this intriguing, uber-athletic combo forward who just can’t break out of his shell. Jonathan Isaac has suffered consecutive injuries, while Mo Bamba is still figuring out what type of frontcourt player he is.
As the Magic front office now enters offseason mode, let’s take a look at the possible avenues that the franchise can take to bolster their roster.
Give Vucevic his long-awaited star backcourt partner
It’s mind-boggling why the Magic is still holding back from doing everything to provide Vooch a star-caliber guard. The sweet-shooting Montenegrin center will turn 30 next season, and it won’t be a surprise if he starts demanding for a trade if the Magic fail to assemble a stronger line-up.
While Markelle Fultz has shown flashes of his talent this season, it will be a while before he grows into an excellent playmaker. D.J. Augustin has been superb for the Magic, but the veteran point guard isn’t the star-caliber partner that Vucevic needs. Orlando has to act quick before their star center’s patience grows thin.
Unclog their frontcourt
We cannot blame the Magic for trying to combine Isaac, Gordon, and Vucevic in the same frontcourt. Vooch’s stellar inside-outside game makes it possible for that combination to work. However, it is also true that Isaac and Gordon’s inconsistent long-range shooting has clogged their offense, and it’s better for the team to trade either one of those two versatile forwards in exchange for a proven 3-and-D stalwart.
Gordon should be Orlando’s most valuable trade asset as his potential to be a game-changer on both ends of the floor is badly-needed in today’s uptempo, pace-and-space type of basketball. His four-year, $80 million contract doesn’t necessarily break the bank and could be a bargain deal if he further improves his three-point shooting.
Trade Vucevic and activate rebuilding stage
This may be the last option for the Magic front office, but it’s still a possibility. After the prime Dwight Howard era, Orlando has struggled to make noise in the East. They barely made the playoffs this past couple of seasons, and they just don’t have enough momentum or even chemistry to build upon.
Vucevic and Gordon are their most important trade pieces right now. If there are suitors who will offer them an intriguing package of young guns and multiple future first-round draft picks, look for the Magic to get interested and bring the negotiations to the table. Having said that, Magic fans should be prepared for the possibility of their hometown squad entering a rebuilding stage next season.