The NBA draft, where the Magic took Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 pick, is in Orlando’s rearview mirror.
Now, their attention is on free agency.
The Magic, who finished with the league’s second-worst record (22-60), weren’t expected to make organization-altering moves during free agency. That’s for teams looking to make deep playoff runs or contending for the NBA Finals.
But they’ve been active, with Orlando already making what’s likely to be its most significant deals.
The Magic and Gary Harris agreed to a contract extension, the team announced Thursday evening. They also agreed to terms with Mo Bamba on a 2-year, $21 million contract. Harris’ agents told ESPN his extension is for $26 million across two seasons while Bamba’s agents told Yahoo Sports about his agreement.
Harris’ extension became official late Thursday, which was still during the 2021-22 league year. Most deals can’t become official until 12:01 p.m. on July 6.
Teams were allowed to communicate with free agents starting at 6 p.m. Thursday before agreeing to terms six hours later.
The free agency moratorium is a period from Friday through July 6 in which teams can’t sign most free agents or make trades but are allowed to come to terms on contracts and other deals while the new salary cap numbers are adjusted after an audit of league finances.
Here are things to know about the Magic in free agency:
Magic’s cap/roster situation
The Magic have 12 players signed to contracts for 2022-23, including Moe Wagner and Devin Cannady, who have non-guaranteed deals for next season. Wagner’s $1.88 million salary became fully guaranteed since he was on the Magic’s roster past Thursday while Cannady’s $1.75 million salary will become fully guaranteed if he’s on the roster after Jan. 10, 2023.
They’ll have 14 players on standard deals once they sign Bamba and Banchero. If Caleb Houstan, the Magic’s second-round pick, signs a standard roster deal, that’ll leave Orlando with zero standard-roster spots and its pair of two-way roster slots to fill.
The league’s salary cap for the 2022-23 season is $123.65 million, an $11.6 million increase. That would put the luxury tax line around $150.26 million.
The Magic were projected to have between $28.2 million-$29.1 million in cap space, the third-most amount in the league, and be below the luxury tax threshold by $65.4 million, according to Spotrac. The Magic also have the $10.49 million non-taxpayer mid-level and $4.1 million bi-annual exceptions — mechanisms that allow teams to exceed the salary cap.
Bamba’s and Harris’ deals likely will leave Orlando with $5 million-$6 million in cap space once the contracts are signed depending on how they’re structured.
Own free agents
Bamba (unrestricted free agent): The Magic made him unrestricted by declining to extend him a qualifying offer Wednesday for 1 year and $10 million. Bamba re-signed for 2 years with the team that drafted him sixth in 2018, agreeing to new terms early in free agency. He averaged career-highs across the board in 2021-22, including minutes (25.7), points (10.6), rebounds (8.1), blocks (1.7) and assists (1.2) in 71 games (69 starts). Bamba will likely be in the rotation as the first big off the bench behind a starting frontcourt of Banchero, Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr.
Bol Bol (free agency status unknown): Bol, who the Magic acquired ahead of the Feb. 10 trade deadline, was officially ruled out for the season in mid-March after having right foot surgery on Jan. 18 while with the Denver Nuggets. It wasn’t known as of Thursday night if the Magic tendered the $2.7 million qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. If he did return to the Magic, it’d likely have to be on a two-way deal unless they open a roster spot via trade or waiving another player.
Ignas Brazdeikis (free agency status unknown): Brazdeikis averaged 5 points and 1.7 rebounds in 12.8 minutes (42 games) during 2021-22 while on a two-way deal. It wasn’t known as of Thursday evening if the Magic offered him a two-way qualifying offer.
Harris (unrestricted free agent): After a rough start to his Magic tenure, he has turned a corner and displayed the 3-and-D skill set every team desires. He averaged 11.1 points on 43.4% shooting from the field and 38.4% shooting on 3s for a 53.9% effective field goal percentage — a formula that adjusts for 3-pointers being worth more than 2-pointers — last season. He was on an expiring contract that paid him $20.5 million for 2021-22 and returns on a team-friendly deal that’d allow Harris, who turns 28 in September, to become a free agent at least one more time in his prime.
Robin Lopez (unrestricted free agent): Lopez, who averaged 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 17 minutes (36 games), joined the Magic on a 1-year, $5 million deal last offseason using a little more than half of their non-taxpayer mid-level exception. The 14-year veteran, who was in and out of the rotation, likely will have to sign with another team looking for a veteran backup big man after the Magic’s early free-agent agreements.
Admiral Schofield (two-way restricted free agent): The Magic extended a two-way qualifying offer to Schofield on Wednesday, a person with knowledge of the situation told the Orlando Sentinel, making him a restricted free agent. If Schofield accepts the qualifying offer, he’ll return to the Magic on a 1-year two-way contract with $50,000 guaranteed. He also has the option of negotiating a standard contract — with Orlando or other teams. By making Schofield a restricted free agent, the Magic can match the terms of another team’s offer to retain Schofield. The Magic also can pull the offer before he accepts, making him unrestricted.
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.