When it comes to free agency in the NBA, you sometimes swing and miss when it comes to courting players. According to ESPN, the Orlando Magic attempted to sign Joakim Noah. Instead, the 6-foot-11 center decided to try to build something special with Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks.
For the past four seasons, the Orlando Magic have not been able to make the NBA Playoffs. The franchise has increased its win total every season, but the improvement has not been enough for them to even having a winning record. The 35 victories last season was their best during that stretch.
When Scott Skiles abruptly decided to walk away from the Orlando Magic, the franchise was able to rebound by hiring Frank Vogel to become their new head coach. The former Indiana Pacers head coach is well respected within the NBA. Management wanted to build a team better suited for his style.
Wanting a defensive anchor in the paint, Victor Oladipo was deemed expendable. The Orlando Magic traded for Serge Ibaka, as reported by ESPN. Giving up a talented and young shooting guard for a power forward on the final year of his contract is a risky move, but Orlando wanted to move up the NBA ranks.
When free agency began this summer, the Orlando Magic were hoping that Joakim Noah would add further defensive prowess to their front court. When healthy, the 230-pound center has proven to be one of the best defensive players in the NBA. Orlando was hoping he could become that player again.
Joakim Noah, though, felt that he had a much better situation waiting for him with the New York Knicks. In addition to being able to team up with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, Noah had a chance to reunite with Derrick Rose, his longtime teammate with the Chicago Bulls.
To secure the services of Joakim Noah, the New York Knicks had to hand him a four-year contract worth approximately $72 million. The Orlando Magic were offering a similar contract to Noah. When the former Florida Gators star turned them down, they used that money to lure Bismack Biyombo from the Toronto Raptors, as reported by ESPN.
Nikola Vucevic was the starting center for the Orlando Magic last season. He has not been pleased with management for spending so much resources trying to find his replacement. The fact that the Magic had more faith in an aging Joakim Noah means that Vucevic will more than likely be playing for another NBA team next season.
While every free agent signing in the NBA is considered a gamble, the Orlando Magic are really rolling the dice this summer. Some of these moves might not work out as well as they had hoped.
There is a very good chance that Serge Ibaka could walk away as a free agent next summer. With the Oklahoma City Thunder, he was accustomed to contending for the NBA title every season. Ibaka might be craving that type of competition and could jump ship to one of the top teams in the National Basketball Association.
There is also a chance that Bismack Biyombo fails to live up to the lucrative contract that he signed. With the Toronto Raptors, he was mostly a backup center. Biyombo showed some spark as a replacement starter, but there is no guarantee that he is going to be able to sustain that productivity as a full time starter for the Orlando Magic.
A lot of people are going to be keeping an eye on the New York Knicks next season because of all the hype, but the Orlando Magic will be keeping an especially close eye on Joakim Noah to see what they missed out on.
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