As we play out the final weeks of the 2011-'12 NBA season, we take a look at each franchise. Who emerged, what went wrong, what lies ahead. A look at post season chances, long term potential and upgrades possible in this summer's NBA draft. We continue in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference with the Orlando Magic.
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Orlando figures to land anywhere from four to six in the Eastern conference post season picture. Losing Dwight Howard for the post season was a major blow. The Howard circus was certainly a distraction this season and its hard to tell where everything now stands. The Magic must aggressively attempt to extend Howard or deal him in the offseason. Hopefully, Howard will recover quickly and fully from surgery and will either extend or agree to a trade.
The Magic are in cap nightmare and can only pray that someone has interest in either Hedo Turkoglu or Jameer Nelson. Their only real hope is to dump them in a trade along with Superman. Orlando does have a four and a half million trade exempton (Brandon Bass).
Since they reside in cap hell, Orlando needs to be sure to make good with both draft picks. Vanderbilt forward Jeff Taylor would provide insurance for Ryan Anderson's potential departure, while Texas combo guard J'Covan Brown would fit nicely in their aging backcourt.
Unfortunately, Orlando already exercised their amnest provision on Gilbert Arenas. Turkoglu would be an ideal candidate had they not already cleared Agent Zero's $60+ million from the books.
The Good: They are playoff bound despite a season full of off the court talk. For now, Dwight Howard appears to be at least considering making Orlando his permanent home. Howard's back injury, turned out much more serious that originally feared, Orlando can only hope he will be fully recovered by training camp this Fall. Glen Davis has provided relief from the bench and Ryan Anderson is the perfect stretch four to complement Dwight. If Howard does want out, at least the Magic can dump the unfriendly contracts of Turkoglu and Nelson along with the big man.
The Bad: Too bad the NBA limits teams to one amnesty exemption. Gilbert Arenas and his mega-contract had to go, but Turkoglu's is almost as bad. Howard's seeming interest to play on a better team is concerning and management cannot let him walk as they did Shaq. The backcourt is old and in need of new blood. Earl Clark and Justin Harper have potential, but not in the near future. Daniel Orton may have been a reach, but they need to bring him back.
Orlando has a dozen players under contract for next season. Jameer Nelson and Earl Clark have player options, which we fully expect them to execute. J.J. Reddick and Von Wafer's contracts are not guaranteed. Restricted free agent Ryan Anderson is certain to draw plenty of attention on the free agent market. Former first round pick Daniel Orton should be invited back. Ryan Anderson figures to draw alot of interest in free agency after his breakout season. The backcourt is in bad need of new blood, too bad the Deron Williams ship has probably sailed.
Who are The Experts Taking and When? Check Out The Latest ADP from The NFBC!
Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Earl Clark, Justin Harper
Jameer Nelson, J.J.Reddick, Jason Richardson, Chris Duhon, Von Wafer
Daniel Orton, Ishmael Smith, DeAndre Liggins
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Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
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