As we make our way through Orlando Sentinel’s Brian Schmitz’s thought process on this, let’s keep a few things in mind. First, he’s a writer in a city that just watched their franchise center drag them through the mud before heading off to Los Angeles. And second, he’s a writer in a city that watched their franchise center drag them through the mud in 1996 before heading off to Los Angeles.
So it’s clear that Schmitz is just trying to bring hope to a hopeless situation. And what a better way to do so than floating that maybe, just maybe the Magic can lure Kevin Durant to Orlando in 2016.
First Schmitz sets up his case by tapping into the notion that people and situations can quickly change in the new NBA.
Who envisioned Miami striking up a band called The Heatles? Or New Jersey — New Jersey! – being relevant again?
Magic fans know how quickly things can change. Once again, they must stomach seeing another superstar center (Dwight Howard) in a Lakers’ uniform.
No one predicted the Dwightmare coming. No one saw Howard going from a kid who loved being Orlando’s ambassador to a big-market mercenary.
Schmitz does have a point here. Things quickly change in the NBA these days. So we’ll continue to let Schmitz do his thing.
Now Schmitz lays out the possibility of the Magic having ample cap space to sign multiple big names. And there could be plenty of big names available to help woo Durant.
In the summer of 2014, the Magic will have roughly $36 million in cap space. The prospective free-agent class is stunning: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce.
None of those stars (several aging) are expected to leave their teams, although Pierce might go exploring. The Heat trio has the option to terminate its contracts…not likely.
Other ’14 would-be free agents: Pau Gasol, Amar’e Stoudemire, Zach Randolph, Andrew Bogut, Danny Granger and Andrea Bargnani. None of them — other than Granger, a good but not great player — seemingly fit the Magic plan.
The Magic will have even more cap room in the 2015 offseason, depending on what they do the next two summers. And there are some free-agent jewels: Rajon Rondo, Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love.
This leads us to The Summer of Durant, with the Magic a full four seasons (and several lottery picks) into their rebuild.
Other free agents possibly available in 2016: Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee and Nene’.
If Durant does hit free agency, you’d have to think he’d at least listen to the Magic’s pitch if a couple of those lottery picks have panned out and they’re able to snag a name or two from these free agent classes. Especially if he hasn’t been able to win a title in Oklahoma City.
But for Schmitz also seems to think there is something else in the Magic’s favor as well.
And, oh yeah, Hennigan knows Durant personally after serving as an assistant GM with the Thunder. Ironically, all Hennigan’s Thunder blueprint might need in Orlando is….a free-agent star like Durant.
Have to say, this is a pretty decent case made by Schmitz. Also have to say, it’s not happening.