Ready for the surprise team you’re going to hear involved in every major free agent on July 1st? It’s the Orlando Magic.
They have the third most cap space in the league. They have decent-ish players at every position but nobody locked in as a long-term stalwart. Frank Vogel is a popular coach among players and without state income taxes in Florida they’d stand to make more there than anywhere else. And half of them have houses in Florida anyway, it only makes sense that they’d want to play there.
The big fish they’re probably going to chase is Al Horford. He grew up in Florida and played college ball at UF, but he’s just a teensy bit out of their prestige range. As a consolation, they’ll certainly try to grab at least one sturdy three-and-D wing who can guard multiple positions.
Marvin Williams shot way over his head last season. Players who make 34% of their threes for the first decade or so of their career don’t magically jump to 40% over night. But if the basement is competence and the ceiling is excellence, Williams is still one of the most valuable forwards on the market. Especially when you consider his defense. He can guard 3’s and 4’s very well and even switch onto the occasional guard. He rebounds well enough and doesn’t stall an offense. He’s exactly the sort of role player championship teams need.
But Williams won’t want to be paid like a role player, and that’s what makes Orlando so attractive. He’s been a journeyman, this is likely his last big chance for a long-term payday. The Magic just have more cap space to offer than anyone else and without the state taking income taxes he’d stand to save millions. The Magic can sign Williams to an outrageously overpriced deal and still afford to offer someone else the max.
That’s going to happen for someone. Williams is the logical choice, but on July 1st we’re going to see some role player get a four-year, $60 million deal from the Magic and scratch our heads over it. Williams might deserve it, and that’s the best reception they’ll get on a deal like this. It could just as easily be someone less deserving like Jeff Green or… wait for it… Dwight Howard. The Magic seem sane enough not to encourage a Howard return, so Williams is the best bet for now.
Likely Contract: Four Years, $60 Million