Magic Exercise Team Options On Bamba, Fultz and Isaac
ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic took a major step toward locking up their talented and promising young core for the foreseeable future on Monday.
By exercising their fourth-year option on forward Jonathan Isaac’s contract and their third-year options on contracts for center Mo Bamba and point guard Markelle Fultz, the Magic are now assured of having their young trio signed through the 2020-21 season. Isaac, Bamba and Fultz are all just 21 years old.
``Mo (Bamba), Markelle (Fultz) and Jonathan (Isaac) have each demonstrated a strong work ethic, while exhibiting a commitment to team values,’’ Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman said. ``We look forward to exciting futures with them as part of the Magic family.’’
Orlando is coming off a season in which it went 42-40 and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Magic wiped out a 20-31 start with a stirring 22-9 closing kick and they defeated the eventual World Champion Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of the playoffs before dropping the next four postseason games.
The Magic will hold Media Day on Sept. 30 and open training camp on Oct. 1 at the Amway Center. Orlando opens the preseason with three road games before playing at the Amway Center for the first time on Oct. 11 against the Boston Celtics. The Magic will open the regular season at home for a fifth straight year, this time hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 23.
Isaac, a 6-foot-10 and 230-pound forward, has bettered his body and grown his game tremendously since being selected with the No. 6 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Magic. Last season, he played in 75 games (64 starts), averaging 9.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.31 blocks in 26.6 minutes per game. He also appeared in and started five playoff games, averaging 6.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 27.3 minutes a night.
Bamba, a 7-foot center with a seven-foot, 10-inch wingspan, has also worked to add muscle and bulk this offseason to ready his body for the rigors of an 82-game NBA season. Bamba, the No. 6 pick in 2018, saw his rookie season in the NBA cut short by a tibial stress fracture in his left leg – an injury that has since fully healed. He played well in his one game in the NBA Summer League and should be fully cleared to play by the start of training camp.
Bamba appeared in 47 games (one start) during his rookie season, averaging 6.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.36 blocks in 16.3 minutes a night. He ranked among all NBA rookies in rebounding (sixth) and blocked shots (third).
Fultz is hoping to get his professional career on track in Orlando, the franchise that traded for him last February following two injury-interrupted seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers. Formerly the No. 1 pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, Fultz has appeared in 33 NBA regular-season games (15 starts) because of the thoracic outlet syndrome injury in his right shoulder. In two NBA seasons he’s averaged 7.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 20.6 minutes per game. He has also played in three career playoff games, averaging 1.7 points, 1.7 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 7.6 minutes.
Fultz, a 6-foot-4, 209-pound point guard, has spent most of his offseason in Orlando head coach Steve Clifford said, working with the team’s coaching and medical staffs to strengthen his shoulder and ready himself for the season. Clifford said late last week that he is hopeful that the guard continues to progress physically so that he might become a key rotational piece for Orlando in the season ahead.
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