Joe Ingles Reveals What Makes Magic A Free Agency Destination

Coming off their best season in over a decade, the Orlando Magic could be big players in free agency this offseason.
Apr 12, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Orlando Magic guard Joe Ingles (7) dribbles the ball
Apr 12, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Orlando Magic guard Joe Ingles (7) dribbles the ball / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

ORLANDO — One could argue that no NBA franchise is better positioned to build on this season's success than the Orlando Magic.

The Magic's ability to draft and develop paved the way for their best season since 2011. They improved their record by 13 wins, won the Southeast Division for the first time since 2019, and made the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. Now, with all of their draft picks and the fifth-most cap space in the NBA according to Spotrac, Orlando will have a shot to make a splash this offseason through free agency or a trade.

Joe Ingles, 36, was the Magic's lone significant free agent signing last offseason, signing a two-year deal with a $11 million team option heading into this offseason. With young stars Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner in tow for the foreseeable future, Ingles said the Magic could be a desirable destination for free agents and players seeking a trade.

"I don't know why it wouldn't be attractive," Ingles said on May 6. "You've got two young stars that have proven what they can do on the court, how unselfish they are at that age and where they're at in their careers, and Jalen [Suggs] and all these guys that we've got. I don't know why guys wouldn't want to be a part of it."

Banchero averaged 22.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game in the regular season, making him the first player to average at least 20 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists in his first two seasons since LeBron James. The 2023 Rookie of the Year cemented himself as a superstar with his postseason play. Banchero averaged 27 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, including a 38-point performance in Orlando's Game 7 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Minus his struggles in Game 7, Franz Wagner also had a strong showing in the playoffs, averaging 18.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game. He also had a superstar-like performance in Game 4, scoring 34 points with 13 rebounds and no turnovers. That performance made him and Banchero the youngest duo to have at least 30 points and 10 rebounds with no turnovers in playoff history.

Ingles noted how rare it is for a team to have two ascending young players as focused on winning and helping their teammates as Banchero and Wagner. Before signing with Orlando last offseason, Ingles played alongside Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert on the Utah Jazz (2014-2022) and with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo on the Milwaukee Bucks (2022-23).

"As good as they are, they've still got potential to be even better, which is scary, but it's also amazing for Orlando and the Magic," Ingles said. "I've enjoyed playing with them, being around them, they're great teammates [and] great guys. To have the faces of your organizations as those guys is pretty special."

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Nathaniel Marrero