Orlando Magic Player Availability Part I

Orlando Magic

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Coup over at Rip City Project is considering creating an “availability database.”

Because of the popularity of setting up your own trades, which you can easily do at places like ESPN.com with their trade machine, Coup tried to gauge each player’s availability based on their skill set and their salary.

The Magic have already shown they will spend money to put a winner on the floor. This season, they went over the luxury tax, paying out a combined salary of $82,085,267 (per Sham Sports) to their team, which doesn’t even include paying the tax. According to Sham Sports, they are on the hook for $80,474,626 in 2010-11. If you remove J.J. Redick’s salary, which is his qualifying offer and Matt Barnes’ salary because he has already said he will opt out of his contract, that gives you a total of $74,987,476 on the books for next season.

Since the Magic are over the luxury tax again so any player they sign or any contract they do take on will cost double it’s actual value.

Excluding J.J. Redick, who is a restricted Free Agent, the Magic have eight  players under contract for the 2010-11 season.  We’ll run down the Magic players in order of the salary they are paid per season and include their 2010-11 salary. In this Part I, we’ll take a look at Orlando’s four highest paid players.

Rashard Lewis, $19,573,711

Lewis is a good player with elite offensive skill but he is heavily criticized by Magic fans because of that number next to his name. Although Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy consistently says Lewis will remain a Four, what position he plays has also been heavily scrutinized among the Magic community. Lewis does have disappointing numbers for a player with that kind of salary, but he’s been a big key as the Magic have progressed into one of the league’s elite teams. As for his availability, you’d have to think he’s at least somewhat available. The problem is finding a suitor would be nearly impossible. Not only would it be tough to find a team who could put together a package to match Lewis’ salary, but I can’t think of a team who would take on Lewis’ contract since he has two more years left on his deal after next season.

Vince Carter, $17,522,375

If Lewis isn’t the most heavily criticized Magic player, Carter is. Carter didn’t have a bad season and actually really improved from the midway point until the end of the season but he will best be remembered for his disastrous performance against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. Although, Magic General Manager Otis Smith doesn’t make rash decisions, I don’t think Smith would be hesitant to deal Carter. Carter can be viewed as available and is much more tradeable than Lewis. After the 2010-11 season, the Magic hold a team option on Carter for $18,300,000, meaning Carter will almost certainly be a free agent at the end of next season. There are teams who could decide to rebuild and take on Carter’s deal mid-season or maybe a team will whiff in free agency this season, deal for Carter and gear up for next year. It’s still unlikely Carter is dealt but he does have value in a potential trade because of his contract situation.

Dwight Howard, $16,647,180

If you consider that Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are free agents and Kobe Bryant is 31, Howard may be the least available player in the entire league. So let’s keep it simple; Howard is untouchable.

Jameer Nelson, $8,100,000

Many Magic supporters have problems with Nelson and claim they’d rather have a pass-first Point Guard but Nelson’s performance in the playoffs should have disproved those theories. There have been times when Nelson’s production hasn’t matched his contract but when he’s healthy, he’s shown great value. He was an All-Star before his injury during the 2008-09 season and was playing at perhaps an even higher level during the 2010 postseason. Nelson’s value increased after the postseason and he could be a good fit in several places. He is under contract through 2011-12 and has a player option in 2012-13, which could scare suitors off. Plus, he has a history of injuries, which lowers his value. For these reasons and the fact that Nelson is one of Orlando’s co-captains and has really taken to his role as a leader, Nelson’s value is higher to the Magic than it is to any other team. It’s hard to think of a realistic option the Magic could acquire who would be an upgrade over Nelson, so unless the Magic were to be completely blown away in a potential trade, I see Nelson as one of Orlando’s least available players.

Stay tuned to HtD early in the week to read about Orlando’s other players who are under contract for the 2010-11 season – Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and on Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).

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Tags: Dwight Howard Jameer Nelson Orlando Magic Rashard Lewis Vince Carter

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