The Orlando Magic have something like 19 big guys now.
After trading for Serge Ibaka on draft night and signing Jeff Green (who plays power forward often) to go along with incumbent starters Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic, the Magic made a big splash Saturday by agreeing to a four-year, $72 million deal with free-agent center Bismack Biyombo, who of course came into national prominence with his terrific showing in the playoffs with the Toronto Raptors.
AP Source: The Orlando Magic have agreed to terms on a 4-year deal with Bismack Biyombo.— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) July 2, 2016
Four-year, $72M on Bismack Biyombo's Magic agreement @APkrawczynski reported on. Masai Ujiri loved Biz, but didn't value him that way.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 2, 2016
OK, there's a lot to this. Some thoughts:
- For starters, it's good value. Coming off his playoff run in which, in the absence of Jonas Valanciunas, he wound up collecting a franchise record for rebounds and while establishing himself as a dominant shot blocker, Biyombo was at his very peak value in this crazy money market. To get him for under $20 million a year, even for a guy who was a lost soul until about two years ago, is great return
- The Magic's defense is going to be legit. Ibaka and Biyombo will protect the paint at all times and can both switch out onto guards capably. This is going to be the fiercest defensive combo inside in the league and no guard is going to want to drive ever. It's a block party. This is perfect for Frank Vogel's defense.
- OK, so good value, great defense. What's the problem? Well for starters, the offense is a colossal mess. Unless Ibaka can get back to being a plus-50-percent shooter, this team has no spacing. Elfrid Payton: Non-shooter. Biyombo: non-shooter. Ibaka: fallen-off shooter. Aaron Gordon (who we'll get to him in a minute): non-shooter. That's a huge issue. Even with Evan Fournier back at five-years, $85 million, that's not nearly enough spacing for what they would need. They'd kneed a Klay Thompson to be able to spread the floor enough.
- Second problem is the minutes crunch. The Magic still have very-productive-but-limited Nikola Vucevic and Gordon, who had his best minutes at power forward last year. Jeff Green can come off the bench (for $15 million, but whatever). They can bench Vucevic but that's not great value, a trade would make more sense. They can start Gordon at the small forward spot and get away with it, but their best lineups might include Gordon at power forward, and how to align that is going to be difficult with Ibaka and Biyombo.
- This is at least a plus move for the Magic, who spent a lot of money in adding D.J. Augustin, Jeff Green, Jodie Meeks, and keeping Fournier. This makes them better, even if Biyombo comes with stone hands and some uneven play. He's turning into a dominant rim protector.
For Toronto, it makes sense to let him walk. You have to like Jonas Valanciunas' upside more, especially after the extension they gave him last year keeps him at a cheaper price. Masai Ujiri was willing to shell out and limit flexibility to get DeMar DeRozan back, but doing the same with Biyombo was just too much, and he was smart to walk away. There's talk that the Raptors could look to pursue Pau Gasol instead.