After Unexpected Start, Orlando Magic Beginning to Look Towards Future
One of the biggest early season surprises were the Orlando Magic.
With a team filled with talent, albeit talent that logically fits together, the Magic jumped right out of the gate with an 8-4 record. The included blow out wins against the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier were playing out of their mind and the Jonathon Simmons free agent signing looked like one of Orlando’s best moves in a while.
But after such a great start, everything turned 180-degrees.
The losses started piling up, and with that, the injury bug struck the Magic and it hit them hard. Starting shooting guard Terrence Ross suffered a devastating injury that could keep him out for the season, and the rest of the Magic’s key pieces began dealing with nagging injuries of their own. Since commencing the year with an 8-4 record, the Magic have gone a mind-boggling 4-27.
And it seems like they are looking the wave the white flag.
With the February trade deadline approaching rival executives expect the Magic to shop Fournier, young point guard Elfrid Payton, and former lottery pick Mario Hezonja. Former Toronto Raptors executive Jeff Weltman was hired by the Magic this past offseason, inheriting a roster that has been primarily built by the team’s former regime.
While the Magic have declined next year’s option on Hezonja in October, Fournier will be the tricky piece to move as the international guard has signed five-year, $85-million dollar deal during the 2016 offseason.