The Orlando Magic were not the most offensively potent team in the NBA last season. The Magic averaged only 96 points a game last season on 44 percent shooting from the field, and those are not the kind of stats that would light up scoreboards.
The Magic were mostly missing their main offensive weapons last year, and when those injured players did return, it was hard for the team to develop any real chemistry with each other. Victor Oladipo developed into a nice offensive player last year, Aaron Afflalo — the team’s leading scorer — is poised to take the next step into stardom next year and Tobais Harris is a gifted forward with athleticism from here to Tallahassee.
But the Magic never had a consistent player that they could depend on in the clutch. Despite some heroics from Afflalo, the Magic often times lost close games because of their lack of a closer. In order for the Magic to be playoff contenders next season, the team must erase that weakness, either through the 2014 NBA Draft or in free agency.
This is where chasing after Carmelo Anthony may become a smart move for the Magic front office.
Anthony opted out of the last year of his contract with the New York Knicks on Sunday, which now makes him the most coveted free agent this offseason. Every team in the league will be trying to get a meeting with the superstar, and it will not be farfetched if the Magic reach out to Anthony’s agent in setting up a meeting.
Despite the talk of Anthony wanting to play only with contenders, the Magic actually have a lot to offer for Anthony. First, Central Florida is no typical NBA wasteland, as theme parks, a cosmopolitan metro area and no income tax could be enticing to the forward. Second, the team he would be surrounded by has playoff caliber talent. A front line of Anthony, Harris and Nikola Vucevic, combined with a backcourt of Oladipo and Afflalo, would instantly vault the Magic into contenders in the weak Eastern Conference.
But this may all very well be a pipe dream, as Anthony has made it clear that he does not want to play for re-builders or up-and-comers, and the Magic fall into the latter category. So I still expect the Magic to go after medium to to low-grade free agents in the offseason, as the team will be wary to open up their checkbook.
But then again, it would not hurt for the team to make a phone call to Anthony’s agent.