Making Sense of the Magic’s Offseason Moves

Sorting Through the Magic’s Offseason

Right out of the gate you could tell that this was going to be a busy offseason for the Magic as the franchise parted ways with GM Rob Hennigan. But hiring a new front office was only the start. Lets’ take a look at all of the moves so far.

Replacing Hennigan with John Hammond and Jeff Weltman

Photo: AP Photo/Morry Gash

With the Magic in their longest playoff drought in franchise history, ownership knew that they had to change some things up in the front office. That change was letting Rob Hennigan go. So instead of a young inexperienced GM, Orlando went out and got two proven NBA executives in John Hammond and Jeff Weltman. Weltman is the team’s president of basketball operations while Hammond is the new GM. Now, not only do these two have a proven track record of working together, they have both taken teams to the postseason.

Drafting Isaac and Iwundu

Now one of the first orders of business for Weltman and Hammond was the 2017 NBA Draft. They chose Jonathan Isaac with the 6th overall pick and then Wesley Iwundu in the second round. While Isaac is still very raw, he has potential to turn into a frontline star in the NBA. The 6’11” forward has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant, as he is a guard in a big man’s body. Time will only tell now if they made the right choice. As for Iwundu, he will serve as a “3 and D” type of player for Orlando.

Cutting Stephen Zimmerman and C.J. Watson

Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Muscala (31) guards Orlando Magic center Stephen Zimmerman (33) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017.The Magic won 105-86. Photo: AP Photo/Reinhold Matay.

Neither Zimmerman or Watson played a significant role with the team last season, so these two cuts should not come as a surprise. Now, Waston did have his moments as times, but his play and health were just too inconsistent. Watson played in just 95 games during his two years with the team. Zimmerman however did not do much to impress during his limited playing time, and was drafted by the previous regime.

Signing Shelvin Mack and Jonathon Simmons

Starting with Mack, he fives the Magic someone who can play both the point or shooting guard, and has been to the playoffs a number of times. Now Mack is not known for his impressive stat sheets, he has been a solid backup point guard in this league for some time. He is also about six years younger than the recently cut C. J. Watson. Looking at Simmons, the shooting guard took an untraditional role to the NBA as he turned a D-League tryout into playing a pivotal role in the NBA playoffs last season. Simmons averaged just over 6 points a game for the Spurs, but was able to score in bunches at times. He also prefers a more up-tempo style, so it would not be surprising to see his point total jump this season. Now while the scoring is nice from Simmons, it is really his defense that stands out. Simmons can give you a Sports Center worthy block at any minute, and really thrives having defense as his calling card.

With a few months before training camp Orlando may still have a move or two up their sleeve, but I would not expect anything major between now and then. Either way, it is looking like another rebuilding year for Orlando but you never know, since the Eastern Conference is wide open behind Cleveland.

Kip Michalak is a former 3-sport collegiate athlete who has been covering the NBA as an Orlando Magic Insider for the past 3 seasons. Kip has also covered high school sports in Tampa Bay for 5 years. In addition to his basketball reporting Kip has covered a handful of major sporting events, which include: 2015, 2019 NCAA Women’s Final Four 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final 2016 NCAA Frozen Four 2018 NHL All Star Game 2016-2020 Outback Bowls