What the Magic did this summer is a continuing story of a rebuild in full effect. The old is gone and youth has the keys to the Magic Kingdom!
The time is right to take a look back, as we recap the summer and also look forward to an exciting future for the Magic.
WHAT THE MAGIC DID THIS SUMMER – COACHING
During June Coach Steve Clifford left the team by mutual consent.
After taking a long and careful search the Magic appointed Jamahl Mosely as the new head coach.
Mosely has a great reputation in the NBA as a “player’s coach”, known for building strong relationships with young players as he develops them. This will be Coach Mosely’s first head coach role, having been an associate head coach at the Dallas Mavericks most recently. The decision to hire Coach Mosely has been universally praised.
Yesterday the announcement was made of the assistant coaching staff hired to support the Coach. They are Nate Tibbetts, Jesse Mermuys , Dale Osbourne, Bret Brielmaier and Lionel Chalmers. All have a reputation for player development and extensive NBA experience.
WHAT THE MAGIC DID THIS SUMMER – THE SQUAD
At this point it is true to say that there will be further changes whilst the off season continues. As I write the roster contains 14 players, leaving one roster spot available. The permitted two two-way contracts are still listed as being held by Chasson Randle and Sindarius Thornwell.
Otto Porter joined the Golden State Warriors as an unrestricted free agent.
Dwayne Bacon was waived by the Magic.
Suggs is an athletic guard with incredible court awareness. In the linked article Josh Cohen writes about what he believes Suggs brings to the team.
Franz Wagner is strong forward, valued for his playmaking and defence. In the linked article Josh Cohen writes about what he believes Franz brings to the team.
Orlando resigned Moritz Wagner (elder brother of Franz) on a two year deal.
The Magic signed veteran centre Robin Lopez via free agency to a one year deal.
WHAT THE MAGIC DID THIS SUMMER – OR WHAT’S NEXT?
With just one roster spot open it is true to say that the team for the new season is yet to be fully assembled and some changes may yet occur. Some will point to the need for greater experience to guide such a young roster. Others will highlight a lack of shooting.
Free agency is continuing, therefore it is possible more experience could be secured via this avenue.
Trades are a further possibility that the Front Office may explore to create future salary cap space or to obtain some needed veteran experience.
Finally, there is Summer League in Las Vegas, which for Orlando begins tonight. This is a chance for a G League player or journeyman to earn themselves an opportunity with the squad.
THE MAGIC AT SUMMER LEAGUE
A strong Orlando Magic squad has been assembled to play in Vegas, which will initially be coached by Coach Mosely. The Coach sees this year’s Summer League as an early opportunity for his young core to gain chemistry and to build a relationship with him. This stance was reinforced by the attendance of Mo Bamba at the training sessions for the event. Mo as a fourth year player will not be taking part but has seized the opportunity offered to work with the new coach and our young core.
The Summer League squad includes both Cole Anthony and RJ Hampton. Entering their second year in the NBA this will however be their first experience of Summer League. Due to the COVID pandemic Summer League 2020 was cancelled and preseason shortened, therefore this will be valuable experience for both in their growth.
Both rookies (Suggs and Franz Wagner) are also included. For them this will be a first experience of a more NBA level competition.
Also gaining an opportunity at the Vegas event is Ignas Brazdeikis. He was part of the Magic squad during the back end of last season, bringing energy and aggression whenever given playing time.
Also present are members of the Lakeland Magic, including Jon Teske, Justin Jackson and Tahjere McCall.
TWO INTERESTING SUMMER LEAGUE PROSPECTS TO WATCH
Janis Timma has been on the Magic’s books since 2015 after acquiring his rights in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies had picked him at number 60 in the 2013 NBA Draft. He has been playing in Europe and the Latvian national team. He is tough defensive wing, aged 29 with a strong shooting game.
Amar Sylla went undrafted but has experience of playing in Europe. He can create his own shot and is strong on defence. At 6ft 9 he this athletic 19 year old plays the power forward or centre position.
THE SUMMER CONTINUES
Whilst we are still in an early stage of the new look Orlando Magic, for fans the summer has been strong. We may not have seen the blockbuster moves of the Lakers, Heat or Bulls but what has been done has been thought through and measured.
A new and dynamic coaching staff with a background in player development is in place. Our draft pick at number 5 landed a player in Suggs projected to be in the top 4. Player chemistry has clearly grown under the new Coach.
Summer League, followed by training camp and the pre-season exhibition games will be hugely important for this young and developing team.
Whilst this is not a team expected to challenge this season what the Magic did this summer has set the wheels in motion to that target!