"The Chief" Has Arrived (Free Agency)
What a night of Free Agency it was in the NBA. One for the history books. Within the first 2 hours of the opening bell, there had been 2 billion dollars in contractual transactions reported, which is an exorbitant number in respect to how many players had actually been moved. This heavy action continued into the night with the total number ending at S2.9 billion (ESPN).
The Orlando Magic started the night off early by nabbing Nikola Vucevic off of the market with a 4 year/ $100 Million dollar contract offer (first reported by Marc Stein). A Stress-inducing amount of time later the Magic men ironed out a return of fan-favorite Terrence Ross for a 4-year stint bringing The Human Torch a cool $54 million dollars during that time. The surprise of the night came in the form of an unexpected WOJ BOMB! With news of Orlando signing Al-Farooq Aminu “The Chief” to a 3 year $29 Million dollar deal. We now dive into what Al-Farouq Aminu’s signing will mean for present and future Orlando Magic Basketball.
Orlando addressed a very important need by signing The Chief, possibly just as big as their need for a point guard. Orlando brought in a player who is calm, cool and collected and has playoff experience on a contending team in the west. Simply put in the words of Stephen A. Smith “the brother can ball” Al-Farouq Aminu proved to be valuable in clutch moments during his time in Portland and has a good all-around game. During his last season in Portland Aminu averaged 9.4 Pts 7.5 Rebs and 1.3 Assists while shooting 43.3% from the field and 34.3% from beyond the arc (Basketball-Reference). Aminu is an average shooter who can get hot in a moments notice, but tends to be streaky at times. He is by no means a number one option but he is more than capable of scoring off of the bench with shooters around him like the returning human torch and Wes Iwundu.
During his 4 years in Portland Aminu had many moments where he showed his aggressiveness , posting highlight slams over many bigs in the NBA. The Chief also has shown flashes of top notch defense especially in transition which would fit in nicely with what the Magic are preaching in Orlando. Aminu is a player that can prove his worth in any aspect of the game, while he is starting caliber his position in Orlando would likely be a bench roll initially but with his skill set and scoring ability may challenge some of the young guys for starting minutes. Aminu always seems to be in the right place at the right time. In similar fashion, Orlando was in the right place, made the right call and is bringing The Chief to Orlando.
Many Magic fans took to Twitter to question the front office on their decision in regard to the signing, expressing concerns regarding the overloading of front court talent, especially with the lack of depth at the PG position. Aminu, however, fills a prominent void in the front court. If we look back at the 2019 NBA Playoffs during Orlando’s series against the Raptors there was a pretty obvious gap in Orlando’s offense. While Issac and Gordon were on the floor the defense was adequate for the Raptors offense but the Offense struggled to keep up. When Gordon and Issac were off of the floor Orlando’s lineup felt too small and the spacing on the floor disappeared. Aminu would fill a void from a defensive perspective as well as the physical attributes to further develop his offensive aptitude under the tutelage of Steve Clifford. Aminu seems to be a perfect addition to an Orlando Magic team that is full of youth and potential but lacking in a veteran forward down the stretch, who isn’t afraid to get dirty in the paint and force the action. Someone who can change the game through his versatile defense, and post play when absolutely necessary and Aminu has the characteristics to be that guy in Orlando. Coming off the bench will also help him conserve energy and provide a defensive spark during critical moments down the stretch.
During the rest of free Agency Orlando has a few more decisions that it must make: Do they sign Khem Birch and go into the Luxury Tax? Do they use their Bi-Annual Exception (BAE) estimated at $3.4Million (Orlando Sentinel) to address a clear need at PG? Is Markelle healthy enough to play this upcoming season or should they use the BAE on a veteran scorer who could use a one year prove it deal like Isaiah Thomas? The WeltHam combo has many decisions to make these next couple of days but The Chief was a great step in the right direction.
The Chief ended the night with a message to his new crew:
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