The Orlando Magic are in rebuild mode as they traded their franchise player at the trade deadline (Nikola Vucevic) for and Al-Farouq Aminu to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Wendell Carter JrOtto Porter Jr. and two first-round picks. As they look forward to the future, the team selected Jalen Suggs with the fifth pick and Franz Wagner with the eighth pick (via Bulls) in this year’s draft.
The Orlando Magic Continue to Rebuild
With the preseason in the books, opening day is just days away for the NBA. Already having extended forward Jonathan Isaac and guard Markelle Fultz to long-term contracts, they are looking to keep their young core intact for the foreseeable future.
Looking at the team’s roster through the preseason, Mo Bamba has made noticeable improvements. Despite being the sixth pick in the 2018 Draft, Bamba has averaged 6.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and just 47.1 percent from the field in his young career while playing around 15 minutes during that span.
Bamba looked more energetic and engaged when playing. He also has been more communicative while on the floor while playing lockdown transition defense to block shots and stop any fastbreak opportunities. One thing that the team has to work on throughout the season is securing the basketball as the team had 73 turnovers in four games.
The team also inked young center Wendell Carter to an extension. The average annual value will make him the thirteenth highest paid player for his position. The deal looks a fair deal for both sides, but there may be a small risk that the team must monitor as the season progresses.
Wendell Carter and the Magic Agree to an Extension
Not too long ago, Wendell Carter’s stock was plummeting as he couldn’t make an impact on the Chicago Bulls. There were many questions about whether he would maintain a starting role in the league. However, a change of scenery was all he needed as he had a good six months in a Magic uniform.
The Chicago Bulls may have lost their lottery pick this year by failing to make the playoffs, and not being able to secure a top 5 pick in the draft. However, the team had other plans as they have built a team through free agency this offseason. The Bulls have signed Lonzo Ball and Demar DeRozan this offseason.
Carter averaged 10.9 PPG on 51.2 percent from the field, but post All-Star Game on the team he averaged 7.3 PPG and around 43 percent from the field in his last few games as a member of the Bulls.Carter who was viewed as a defensive minded center, and often drew comparisons to Al Horford on draft day needed a change in scenery.
With the Magic, he was able to turn his career around as the team has dealt with many injuries throughout the season. In 22 appearances and started 19 of them with the Magic. Carter averaged 11.7 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 49.3 percent from the field. Due to the performance, the Magic gave him an extension worth $50 million over the next four seasons.
Wendell needs to certainly keep on improving in many areas of his game as he averaged 3.5 turnovers per game in the preseason. One thing the team must monitor is his health as Carter never played more than 55 games a season.
However, putting all the negatives aside, the deal was a good deal for both sides as the AAV shouldn’t heavily affect the team’s plans as the franchise continues the rebuild for the next few seasons.