View Full Version : Article: State of the Cap - Orlando Magic

07-26-2008, 12:34 AM
Source: NBADraft.net (http://www.nbadraft.net/2008_stateofthecap_magic.html)

2008/09 Orlando Magic Payroll: $58.8 million
2008/09 Estimated NBA Salary Cap: $58 million
Roughly: $0.8 million over cap

The Good:
Is there any doubt that Dwight Howard will be able to earn the five-year, $78.8 million contract he begins next year? No. None. Zero. Zip. He led the league in rebounding with a gaudy 14.2 average, he scored over 20 points a game for the first time in his career, and he added 2.2 blocks and nearly 60% shooting, mostly on monster jams. As Howard showed us in the dunk contest, his athleticism for a center is ridiculous. To finish off this tremendous season, Howard absolutely destroyed the Raptors in the playoffs, putting up at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in three separate games (which might be why Toronto felt the need to trade for Jermaine OíNeal). The Magic werenít able to outlast the Pistons in round two, but theyíll be back, especially if Superman has anything to say about it.

The price to extend Hedo Turkogluís contract just got a lot higher. Hedo exploded for his best season as a pro by a wide margin. His well-rounded game produced 19.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5 assists, and excellent 40% shooting from beyond the arc. With one guaranteed year left on his contract for just $6.8 million, the Magic have a great bargain on their hands. However, the following year is a player option and if Hedo puts up those kind of numbers again, his price will soar and he will opt out. Orlando will have to enjoy it while it lasts and hope they can retain him for the right price in the future.

Like Howard, Jameer Nelson also begins a five-year contract extension, although for much less money. His scoring was down to 10.9 per game, which is cause for concern, but there is reasoning behind it. Nelson took fewer and smarter shots, raising his field goal and three point shooting to excellent levels. He also distributed the ball more, handing out a career-high 5.6 assists. Nelsonís contract averages just $6.7 million per year, which is pretty cheap for your best backcourt player.

The Bad:
Rashard Lewis contract is one of the worst in NBA history. It makes it nearly impossible for them to make any moves when the 2010 free agent sweepstakes rolls around. While Lewis is a skilled shooter, he duplicates what Hedo Turkoglu already gives them. Lewis is paid like a number one, but in reality he should be paid as a third cog for a team, at best. Making matters worse, Lewis contract makes him virtually untradable.

Tony Battie didnít earn his paycheck last season when he played and he really didnít earn it this season when he didnít. Battie missed the entire 2007-08 campaign due to shoulder surgery. He is still owed $5.7 and $6.2 million the next two years. With Howard, Hedo, and Rashard Lewis taking all of the front line minutes and a serious injury to recover from, it is going to be very difficult for Battie to make a comeback.

There are two years remaining in J.J. Redickís rookie contract, yet he already appears to be a bust. Itís only about $2 million each year, but he isnít even worth that much. The great shooter he was in college hasnít translated to the pro game. Luckily for the Magic, the final year is a team option. Redick has one more chance to get it right before the team drops him like a bad habit.

The recent addition of Mickael Pietrus for the mid-level exception was likely overpaying for an energy guy, when their money could have been better spent elsewhere.

The Future:
Orlando vastly overpaid for Lewis, and it's sure to hurt them for year's to come. It's moves like this that have to frustrate Magic fans as it will take an outstanding draft pick or trade in order to match Howard up with a legitimate floor general.

Hedo will be up for a big raise next summer and if he gets it, the Magic will be out of salary cap space for a very long time. That is a big problem considering they are woefully thin in the back court. Jameer Nelson is the only dependable guard they have and he isnít a star by any means.

Orlando is very aware of this dilemma and is trying to rectify it. They took shooting guard Courtney Lee in the draft and recently signed Mickael Pietrus from the Warriors as a free agent using their mid-level exception. Itís a good start, but it probably wonít propel the Magic into serious contender status. Trading Hedo while his value is high might be the only way to get the kind of talent and balance their back court needs in order to surpass the better teams in the Eastern Conference.

07-26-2008, 02:08 PM
The main point to me was that we overpaid Rashard. I hope everyone understands that. For some reason, Otis has a habit to overvalue players. First Rashard and now Mickeal, I highly question Otis on those moves. Sure they were good pickups, but give them what they are worth.