Best Bargain-Bin NBA 2014 Free-Agency Options for Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic, unlike just about every other team this offseason, filled out their roster fairly quickly.
By drafting Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton, the Magic added some more young talent that should improve the team tremendously defensively. With the free-agent signings of Ben Gordon and Channing Frye, and the waiver-wire pickup of Willie Green, the Magic added some badly needed shooting to the roster.
Orlando is still a young team in the process of a rebuild, but Frye saw the vision of general manager Rob Hennigan. Here's what Frye told ESPN.com:
[The Magic] were very aggressive and made it clear that I was a main target for them. They want to bring in quality, character guys. They are a young team, but I've been on young teams before. I don't believe anyone who says they're a bad team; they have talent.
I've been on teams before where we were picked to finish last and we beat all the expectations and did very well. I'm excited to do the same in Orlando.
So what's left for the Magic in free agency? Here's Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:
After the team formally signs power forward Channing Frye and shooting guard Ben Gordon once the league's moratorium on transactions is lifted Thursday, the Orlando Magic will seek to make one more move in free agency: finding a third point guard who can back up Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton.
The signings of Frye and Gordon, plus the eventual signing of second-round pick Devyn Marble, will leave the Magic with 14 players on their roster.
The point guard the team will add in free agency almost certainly will be signed to a one-year contract or a two-year contract that includes a non-guaranteed salary for the 2015-16 season.
With a nearly full roster and limited playing time available, let's take a look at the bargain-bin point guards Orlando could find in free agency.
It's possible Orlando will just look for a smaller signing to plug in behind Payton and Oladipo, but buying low on Mario Chalmers after a rough postseason could be a good use of the cap space that will likely otherwise go unused.
Orlando is in no rush to compete, but the Eastern Conference is wide-open and this is a very talented roster. The addition of a solid point guard is probably necessary, though, as Oladipo should spend most of his time at the 2.
Payton may end up being great, but when Jacque Vaughn wants a little more shooting or an experienced player in times of need, having someone like Chalmers could be a nice asset.
It's really difficult to put a price tag on Chalmers at this point, especially when you consider the depth of the point guard position in free agency, but you'd like to think a two-year deal worth $10 million would lock him up.
Orlando can certainly afford that, but it's a matter of whether it thinks he's a real need or if he would accept a much smaller role after starting for a two-time champion. Orlando should monitor him in free agency, if nothing else.
Brian Roberts is a nice mix between a young player and a veteran. He's only been in the league for two years, but he's a mature guard at 29 who has really become an excellent pick-and-roll specialist.
That's something Orlando may want to invest in when searching for another point guard, as Roberts can help speed along the development of the young big men.
You get the feeling that Orlando wants that, as the release of Jameer Nelson was done for financial reasons more than anything else. Roberts can provide similar production, as he's a good shooter off his own dribble and can run an offense pretty well.
Roberts has the experience of stepping in and producing after injuries to key players, and the last thing Orlando should want is Payton or Oladipo to be the only healthy point guard options. Roberts is an excellent free-throw shooter who could be used in late-game situations, and his perimeter shooting would be a nice addition.
He's not all that flashy or a big name, but that's not what Orlando should be looking for. Roberts is a hard worker who can help a young team.
Darius Morris is already a bit of a journeyman point guard at 23 years old, as he pulled off the rare feat of playing on three different NBA teams last year.
There's a reason why Miller keeps getting chances, and it's because he has a great combination of size and speed. While no team has been convinced enough in his skills to keep him around, Morris would be an interesting signing for Orlando if it's willing to take on a project point guard to fill out the roster.
Morris struggles to finish once he gets to the rim, but he's actually shot the ball from distance fairly well throughout his career. Morris is a 35.4 percent career three-point shooter, so there's hope that his shot will continue to develop as time goes on.
There are better point guards in terms of skill out there right now, and there are players with more potential, but Morris offers a nice blend between the two.
If Orlando is just looking for a minimum contract to act as insurance in the third point guard spot, Morris could handle it.
Is he really a point guard? Not really.
Still, when you have a roster that is depending on Ben Gordon for perimeter shooting or anything, really, adding reinforcements in the backcourt is a good idea.
And even though he's weak in just about every other area of the game, you can't knock Fredette's shooting ability. On his career he's a 40.1 percent three-point shooter, and that's mainly on bad teams that had little to lose by sticking right on him.
On a good team that regularly created open looks for shooters, Fredette could be a real weapon. That might not be Orlando yet, but with the slashing ability of Oladipo, having a backcourt partner who could stretch the floor might not be the worst thing.
Again, Fredette shouldn't be running an offense, but if Orlando wants to give Oladipo plenty of time at the point again, adding a shooter would make some sense. Fredette hasn't been as bad as advertised in general, and for a rebuilding team that can be patient with him, he can certainly serve as a specialist while the rest of his game develops.
Remember, J.J. Redick was once a laughingstock around the league as well before turning into a really well-rounded shooting guard. Fredette isn't as talented, but he's worth a shot.
Shooting is paramount in the league today, and Seth Curry can shoot it. While he's not on the level of his brother Stephen in that regard (no one is), Seth has a nice little game and can flip between both guard positions.
If Orlando is looking for a young player with potential who won't cost an arm and a leg, this would be an intriguing fit.
You'll hear about a lot of brothers of NBA players this summer as they come out of the woodwork for summer league as teams play favors to stars, but Seth can actually play. He's performed well in the D-League, and you have to think he'd impress in individual workouts.
The Magic probably shouldn't be convinced they have enough shooting on the roster, so this signing would make some sense even if he's not a natural point guard. If something did happen to Oladipo or Payton, Orlando would probably search for a veteran presence elsewhere anyhow, so aiming high for right now is probably a good strategy.