Bo Outlaw: 15th man
As guessed at previously, Bo Outlaw will be signed to be designated 15th man, fan-greeter, chemistry professor, or whatever. This will fill the 15 man roster, assuming that he, Diener and Augustine all make the team.
Forward Bo Outlaw, 35, might be slowing down, but he still has value to the Magic -- especially off the court. It's what he brings to the locker room, and to the practice facility, setting an example for many young guys on the roster.The offseason has hardly been momentous:
Although Outlaw doesn't figure prominently in any playing rotation -- unless the team is wrecked by injuries -- he will be an inexpensive insurance policy at forward.
Out: Stevenson, Augmon, Kasun
In: Redick, Bogans, Augustine
It's hard to see much improvement there, but it does give Otis Smith tremendous flexibility if required to remake the roster on the fly this year. Grant Hill & Pat Garrity represent $20.4 million in expiring contracts and Outlaw, Diener & Augustine fill three roster spots with non-guaranteed contracts. Of those five, only Hill is a likely contributor. In addition they are $6 million under the luxury tax cap which allows them to take a few higher salaries back in trade. Kelvin Cato and Penny Hardaway's expiring contracts turned the Magic around last year. This year Magic fans have legitimate optimism to expect a winning season plus the benefit of holding valuable assets and the flexibility to use them if the opportunity arises.
NBA Trade rules for teams over the salary cap state that salaries must match within 25% plus $100,000. My gut tells me that Grant Hill is not going to be traded and his enormous salary is going to be carved up between Dwight, Darko and Jameer to keep them together for the next six years. Darko's career is on the line this year. He is a restricted free agent next year whose value could soar to over $10 million per season. He will either need to be resigned or replaced with a free agent of similar value next summer. Howard and Nelson are eligible for extensions next summer that would start in the 2008-09 season. If all three stay on track to stardom the Magic will be paying them about $16 to $20 million more per season than they currently make.
Player, 2006 Salary, Trade Range, Comments
Grant Hill, $16,901,500, Trade Range: $13,441,200 to $21,226,875. The highest paid player this year is Kevin Garnett at $21 million. Hill could be traded straight up for any of the top 25 paid players in the NBA this year. That includes players subject to trade rumors like Garnett, Allen Iverson, Chris Webber, Jermain O'Neil, and Ray Allen. Not sure I would want any of them except for Ray Allen and he has four years left on his huge contract. A team looking to flush two or three contracts and start over could also be a possibility and still give the Magic cap flexibility to sign their upcoming free agents. The Diener, Outlaw and Augustine contracts do not become guaranteed until the first week of January 2007 allowing the Magic to take in more players than they trade out without a financial penalty.
Pat Garrity, $3,525,000, Trade Range: $2,740,000 to $4,506,250. This trade range would get you a former first-rounder on a rookie contract or a guy like Keith Bogans who is worth half the annual salary exception. Probably 60% of the league is in this range. Add Diener and Garrity together and the top end of the range grows to $5,336,500. The full 2006-07 Mid-Level Exception is $5,215,000 million which covers 85% of the league. Add Garrity, Diener and Dooling together and the range grows to $9.5 million which buys a big man or a Corey Maggette. If the Magic are contending and need to pick up a solid veteran contributor at the trade deadline this is a pretty good possibility. Not to mention the value of Garrity off the roster.
The Magic entered the summer needing a starting SG, a backup C/F, and more outside shooting. We don't know whether they filled any of those needs with the new guys. They did, however, keep the door open for all types of mid-season trades that could provide another leap forward.