The Orlando Magic outrightly fell apart in the 2020-21 NBA season after losing Markelle Fultz to injury. A rebuilding process got underway after the franchise traded three stars on deadline day.
The 14th-place finish in the Eastern Conference standings is a testament to how poorly the team performed.
Looking at their current roster, there are young, untapped talents that are starting to show their value. Although the Orlando Magic is undergoing a rebuilding process that might favor some of these youngsters, there is only so much room to accommodate the current and incoming talents. The franchise will need some allowance ahead of the coming offseason to accommodate their three draft picks.
Which Orlando Magic players will likely part ways with the franchise?
Roster change is a common phenomenon, as franchises will look to bring in players that might be a "good fit." With the Orlando Magic rebuild in full swing, several players have incredibly slim chances of featuring in the team's colors next season.
The Orlando Magic President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman made a clear statement with the Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon trade. It was a clear expression of the path he's willing to take regarding the team's roster.
The implementation, which started during the trade deadline and with the parting of Steve Clifford, will perhaps be completed this offseason.
With the team looking to build a new identity, here are the players the Orlando Magic might not bring back next season.
#3 Gary Harris
While this might sound like a very unlikely outcome, the aggressiveness the Orlando Magic front office has used to approach their rebuilding suggests otherwise. If there is a favorable trade option regarding Gary Harris, the franchise will take it.
Harris has been exceptional for the Orlando Magic during his short stay but could be more valuable to the organization if traded. His defensive prowess and ability to knock down 3's are areas that make the guard desirable.
But with competition in the Orlando Magic backcourt, his continued stay on might not be of much value to the team in the 2021-22 NBA season. Fultz is expected to make his return following an ACL tear that ruled him out for the entire 2020-21 season after eight games.
With potentially favorable first-round picks, there is a high chance that the Orlando Magic will make another addition to their backcourt.
The 26-year-old has one more year with the Orlando Magic before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. He could be used in a trade package to get a great deal that will be in line with the Magic's rebuild.
#2 Terrence Ross
Although a veteran presence is a need for the Orlando Magic, Terrence Ross might not be the person to provide it. Ross is 29 and still close to his peak, but might not be the perfect fit for the role. The desired veteran needs to have a commanding voice who will play a higher role than Ross' current production level.
The Orlando Magic have relied on Ross for his perimeter shooting for years, and their dependence continued to grow as time passed. He is the longest-tenured player on the roster following the departures of Gordon and Vucevic.
Ross has been a role model for the Orlando Magic and has been consistent with his production, averaging 15 points off the bench in the last three seasons. Although his impact is worthy of recognition, his time with the Orlando Magic might have come to an end.
Based on Ross' current contract, he is perhaps the most valued tradeable asset that is healthy. He has two years left on his contract worth $24 million, which will not be a financial burden, especially for teams looking to bolster their offense.
With the potential return of Jonathan Isaac and the possible addition of a forward through the draft, playing time might dwindle for Ross. It would be unwise to keep him on the roster if he can be traded for a player or pick that will fit with the Orlando Magic's new timeline.
#1 Otto Porter Jr.
Otto Porter Jr. joined the Orlando Magic on deadline day as he was part of the package that facilitated the Nikola Vucevic trade. He came with the option of a buyout, but that did not materialize.
A knee injury derailed his progress with the Orlando Magic, resulting in only three appearances. Although he was impactful during his short time on the court, it is safe to say that he doesn't fit into the Orlando Magic plan for the future.
Porter Jr. will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and it is unlikely that the Orlando Magic will pursue him. Although his seven-year experience is worth having considering his position, the forward is not a cost-effective option for the Magic.