Insider: Finding A Wing
Throughout a good portion of the season, Orlando got very poor production from their wings. Jason Richardson, who signed a four-year deal worth about $25 million just before training camp, had a poor season, averaging a career-low 11.6 points per game while shooting a career-low 40.8% from the field, a career-low 59.4%(!) from the charity stripe and 36.8% from beyond the arc, his lowest percentage since 2007. Hedo Turkoglu was even worse, putting up just 10.9 points, 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting just 41.5% from the field. J.J. Redick is the only Magic wing who deserves praise and even he was inconsistent. Redick averaged 11.6 points per game and shot 41.8% from beyond the arc.
Richardson has three years left on his deal while Turkoglu is owed $11,815,850 next season and his salary for the 2013-14 season is unguaranteed. Redick is owed $6,190,000, but the Magic can terminate his deal if they wish.
Von Wafer, who put up 5.9 ppg on 45.2% shooting in just 33 games, could make $1,146,337 next season, but his salary is unguaranteed. Quentin Richardson, who averaged 4.5 ppg in 18.0 minutes per game, will make $2,627,400 next season and has a player option worth $2,808,600 for the following season. Rookie DeAndre Liggins, who appeared in just 17 games, has a qualifying offer worth $937,195.
Obviously, the Magic would love to ship Turkoglu and Richardson, probably both Jason and Quentin, out of town to make improvements to the roster or clear cap room, but those scenarios don’t seem realistic.
Instead, the Magic will have to get creative in the pursuit of an upgrade on the wing.
First, we’ll take a look at a few unrestricted free agents:
Tracy McGrady, Atlanta Hawks – Tracy McGrady spent four seasons with the Magic (2001-05), twice leading the league in scoring before being dealt to the Houston Rockets. This season, McGrady played just 16.1 minutes per game and averaging just 5.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, but shot an impressive 45.5% from beyond the arc. NBA.com’s David Aldridge made a case for the Magic bringing back McGrady, saying he could possibly be the playmaker Turkoglu once was.
Danny Green, San Antonio Spurs – Green was one of the big surprises for the Spurs this season. After appearing in just 20 games for Cleveland during the 2009-10 season and eight for the Spurs last season, Green played in all 66 games, starting 38 this season. Green, who will be 25 next month, averaged 9.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game this season while shooting 43.6% from beyond the arc.
Alonzo Gee, Cleveland Cavaliers – The 24-year Gee is actually originally from Florida, which could help the Magic should they wish to sign him. Gee, who has already played for three teams in his career, averaged 10.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season. Gee shot just 41.2% from the field this season.
Landry Fields, New York Knicks – Fields wound up being a pretty good find for the Knicks in the second round of the 2010 draft. Fields has played in every game since being drafted (148), starting all but five. This season, Fields put up 8.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, but actually saw his shooting from the field (49.7% to 46.0%%) and from three (39.3% to 25.6%) dip in his second season.
Gerald Green, Brooklyn Nets – Green, who was MVP of the D-League All-Star game, had a very good 31 games with the Nets. He averaged 12.9 points and 3.5 rebounds in 25.2 minutes per game. He shot 48.1% from the field and 39.1% from beyond the arc. You have to wonder if Green was simply a flash in the pan – the talent and athleticism was always there – he just never put it together. Still, Green’s big season makes him a prime candidate to be overpaid.
Mickael Pietrus, Boston Celtics – Once a Magic fan favorite for his defense and ability to hit the corner three-pointer, especially during Orlando’s finals run in 2009, Pietrus was dealt to Phoenix in 2011. After being released before the season started, Pietrus eventually signed with Boston, where he’s currently showing signs of what made him valuable to the Magic. However, Pietrus still isn’t quite the same guy – he averaged just 6.9 points per game and shot only 38.5% from the field and 33.5% from three this season. The plus is if the Magic do want to bring him back, they can probably do it on the cheap.
Anthony Parker, Cleveland Cavaliers – Parker was a fairly hot commodity when he signed with Cleveland in 2009 and he delivered, shooting 41.4% from beyond the arc. However, once LeBron James left, Parker’s numbers began to fade. Some of that has to do with the James and some of that has to do with Parker’s age – He’ll be 37 in a month.
Michael Redd, Phoenix Suns – The oft-injured Redd probably should have been one of the feel good stories of the year. After playing no more than 33 games in each of the last three seasons, Redd saw action in 51 games for the Suns this season (Praise those miracle trainers in Phoenix… again). Redd played 15.1 minutes per game, averaging 8.2 points on 40.0% shooting.
Matt Barnes, Los Angeles Lakers – Barnes, who played for the Magic during the 2009-10 season, was upset he didn’t get more love from the Magic once he became a free agent. Barnes’s attitude made him a fan favorite in Orlando. This season, the 32-year old averaged 7.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting 45.2% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc, but has seen his shooting numbers plummet in the postseason.
We touched on Jamal Crawford earlier this week.
Former Magic guard and fan favorite Courtney Lee will become a restricted free agent. The Magic have attempted to reacquire Lee at least once since sending him to New Jersey with Tony Battie and Rafer Alston in exchange for Ryan Anderson and Vince Carter back in 2009. Lee really came on during the second half this season and wound up averaging 11.4 points per game and shot 40.1% from beyond the arc this season for the Houston Rockets. Plus, Lee is good friends with Dwight Howard and his acquisition would please the big man.
Bigger names like Nick Young (Los Angeles Clippers) Ray Allen (Boston), who are unrestricted free agents, and O.J. Mayo (Memphis) and Eric Gordon (New Orleans), are restricted free agents. Gerald Wallace (Brooklyn), who the Magic reportedly tried to acquire from the Portland Trail Blazers in a potential Howard deal before the Magic backed out and he was eventually dealt to New Jersey. Wallace has a player option worth $9.5 million. Lou Williams (Philadelphia), who can give you minutes at both point guard and shooting guard and was the 76ers’ leading scorer this season, is scheduled to make $5.4 million but has an Early Termination Option.
Other players who should draw a lot of interest are Jeff Green (Boston), who missed this season due to heart surgery and is a restricted free agent, Nic Batum (Portland), who is also a restricted free agent, J.R. Smith (New York), who has a player option and Jodie Meeks (Philadelphia), Carlos Delfino (Milwaukee), Marco Belinelli (New Orleans), Shannon Brown (Phoenix), Jodie Meeks (Philadelphia), Terrence Williams (Sacramento), DeShawn Stevenson (Brooklyn), and Anthony Tolliver (Minnesota), who are all unrestricted free agents.
Steve Novak (New York) is also an unrestricted free agent and although the Magic are unlikely to show interest, Novak’s three-point shooting probably made him some money this season.
Former Magic forward Grant Hill (Phoenix) is also an unrestricted free agent. Hill averaged 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game for the Suns this season.
(Andrew Melnick is the ESPNFlorida.com Magic and NBA Insider, co-host of the ESPN 1080 Insiders Show and publisher of Howard the Dunk. The Insiders Show can be heard Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST on AM 1080 in Orlando and on ESPNFlorida.com. You can follow Andrew on twitter here.)