It is deciding the fates of coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith. And with a nod one way or the other by Dwight Howard, the Magic either have hope to retool with him — or face a massive rebuilding job without him.
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He'll have to declare by June 15 whether to opt out of the last year of his contract ($7.8 million). Nelson says he wants to stay but probably not without a contract extension. And perhaps not without Howard.
At 30, Nelson must try to land one more decent deal as a free agent — and, preferably, a starting role.
Possible suitors: The Chicago Bulls need an interim point guard after Derrick Rose's devastating knee injury. Although the Bulls have luxury-tax concerns, Nelson would be a nice insurance policy at the midlevel exception. New Jersey (if Deron Williams leaves), Phoenix (if Steve Nash exits) and Philadelphia (Nelson's hometown) might have interest.
Consequences for Magic: Nelson has some leverage (Chris Duhon is backup) and lots of critics, but he might be their best option. There are few quality free agents available, especially for an Orlando team with no flexibility. They can pay Nelson whatever they want.
Redick has no control of his fate. His next season ($6 million) is not guaranteed. The Magic must decide by early July whether to keep J.J. or waive him, taking him off the books.
Howard's decision might affect Redick. He can thrive playing off Dwight. Without him, the club might need to let Redick go to begin creating cap room.
Possible suitors: To receive the full midlevel exception ($6 million to start), Redick might need to sign with noncontenders (Charlotte, Toronto, Phoenix, Minnesota) who have cap space. Contenders such as the L.A. Lakers, Boston and Memphis could use shooting-guard help but can only offer the mini midlevel ($3 million.)
Consequences for Magic: Loss of Redick makes them vulnerable at shooting guard. Jason Richardson will be another year older but is insanely under contract for the next three years.
Anderson must play the waiting game as a restricted free agent. As they did with Marcin Gortat and Redick, the Magic can match any offer sheet. The club kept Gortat and Redick but traded Gortat later. Look for them to keep Anderson as an asset/trade bait — unless somebody terribly overbids.
NBA's Most Improved Player hurt his value some in the playoffs. Howard's exit will affect Anderson's 3-point game. Plus, Glen Davis starred in the postseason and won't be happy backing up Anderson again — unless Big Baby replaces Howard at center.
Possible suitors: New Jersey, Sacramento and Utah.
Consequences for Magic: They lose the league's most prolific 3-point shooter as well as a young, developing player. But maybe they can trade him for another piece.
Howard a Rocket rental?