Orlando Magic: Which players are foundational building blocks?

Orlando Magic Wendell Carter Jr. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Orlando Magic Wendell Carter Jr. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

Which Orlando Magic players can be viewed as foundational building blocks? 

The Orlando Magic‘s record is currently 4-15, which puts them squarely in full rebuild mode. When a team is rebuilding, it is vital to know which young players to keep and who to let go.

We have seen many ways to rebuild in the NBA, from taking multiple stabs at finding a franchise player like the Sixers to acquiring dozens of picks like the Thunder. When the Magic look at their roster, they need to worry about the talent they have on their team and the timeline of the players under contract.

The Magic has nine players who are 24 or under, which is significant in establishing a team that can compete down the road. Of the players 24 and older, none would provide any significance to the team in four years.  If the Magic can field offers that include picks for Terrance Ross, Robin Lopez, or Gary Harris, that would be a bonus for Orlando.

Of the players the Magic have under 24 years old, some are critical pieces to their future success. Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs are both rookies but have shown a lot of hope in their brief time in the league. This year, Cole Anthony has gone to another level and has upped his scoring output to 19.6 points per game.

Cole Anthony, Wagner, and Suggs are all on rookie-scale contracts, which gives the Magic a lot of cap flexibility moving forward. Another significant contract the Magic currently has is Wendell Carter Jr.’s deal which pays him $50 million over four years. Carter Jr. is a tremendous young center who averages close to a double-double a game. Having him on a team-friendly deal allows The Magic to have a key role-player moving forward on a deal that won’t clog up their cap room.

When it comes to cap room, the Magic will have an abundance in two years when they will only have $75 million committed to players. That number could be lowered by close to $34 million if they decide to move on from Markelle Futz and Jonathan Isaac.

While moving on from two players who you just recently gave extensions from might seem rash, it might be the best move if the Magic wants to compete in two years. Isaac has shown some flashes but has been mostly a project averaging 9 points and five rebounds for his career. The former No. 1 overall pick in Markelle Fultz has magically found his shot again in Orlando but only puts up 12 points a night when active. Both players are currently out with ACL tears and should return later in the season.

The Magic should be wise not to repeat the process of hoping a young talented player eventually develops into a star. Orlando spent way too much time hoping that Alex Gordon would become an All-Star and eventually traded him for nothing at last year’s deadline. If the Magic move on from these two, there is a chance they could land two max contract players in two years.

NBA Thanksgiving: What every team should be thankful for in 2021. dark. Next

The Magic may be at the bottom of the league currently. There is hope in the distance if they can be clever with their cap room, ditch some of their lousy contracts, and don’t take on any longer deals. They could see a quick turnaround like the Bulls have seen this year. Orlando doesn’t need any Magic to build a good team. They need to trust the process because their young core can guide them to the promised land.