Magic exercise contract options on Victor Oladipo, Maurice Harkless, Evan Fournier and Andrew Nicholson
Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan announced today that the team has exercised their their third-year team option on the contract of Victor Oladipo, and fourth-year options on the contracts of Maurice Harkless, Evan Fournier and Andrew Nicholson.
All four of these players are now under contract with the Magic through the 2015-16 season.
Oladipo (6’4”, 210, 5/4/92) is considered a key building block; an essential piece in the future of the Magic, though it remains to be seen if he will live up to that very lofty expectation. He played in 80 games (44 starts) during his rookie campaign last season with Orlando, averaging 13.8 ppg., 4.1 rpg., 4.1 apg. and a team-high 1.61 stlpg. in 31.1 minpg. He was tied for 15th in the NBA in steals. Oladipo also ranked among all NBA rookies in scoring (2nd), rebounding (T-8th), assists (3rd), FG percentage (.419, 8th), three-point FG percentage (.327, T-7th), FT percentage (.780, 6th), steals (2nd) and minutes played (3rd).
Originally selected in the first round (second overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft by Orlando, Oladipo was named to the 2013-14 NBA All-Rookie First Team. He was also named the NBA’s Rookie of the Month twice (December 2013, February 2014). He has talent but needs to improve his shooting.
Harkless (6’9”, 215, 5/11/93) played in 80 games (41 starts) last season with Orlando, averaging 7.4 ppg., 3.3 rpg., 1.0 apg. and 1.21 stlpg. in 24.4 minpg., while shooting .383 (59-154) from three-point range. He ranked sixth in the NBA in steals-to-turnover ratio (1.13, 97/86).
Originally selected in the first round (15th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft by Philadelphia, Harkless was acquired by Orlando as part of a four-team, 12-player trade on Aug. 10, 2012. He has appeared in 156 career NBA regular season games, all with the Magic, averaging 7.8 ppg., 3.8 rpg. and 1.19 stlpg. in 25.2 minpg.
Fournier (6’7”, 205, 10/29/92) played in 76 games last season with Denver, averaging 8.4 ppg., 2.7 rpg. and 1.5 apg. in 19.8 minpg., while shooting .376 (89-237) from three-point range. He was acquired from the Nuggets, along with the draft rights to Devyn Marble, in exchange for Arron Afflalo on June 26, 2014.
Originally selected by Denver in the first round (20th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft, Fournier has appeared in 114 career NBA regular season games, all with the Nuggets, averaging 7.4 ppg., 2.1 rpg. and 1.4 apg. in 16.9 minpg., while shooting .381 (111-291) from three-point range. He also played in four career playoff outings, averaging 4.8 ppg. and 1.0 apg. in 13.3 minpg.
Nicholson (6’9”, 250, 12/8/89) played in 76 games (five starts) last season with Orlando, averaging 5.7 ppg. and 3.4 rpg. in 15.7 minpg. Originally selected in the first round (19th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft by Orlando, Nicholson has appeared in 151 career NBA regular season games, all with the Magic, averaging 6.8 ppg. and 3.4 rpg. in 16.0 minpg.
For now, Harkless, Fournier and Nicholson are are considered bench depth. It remains to be seen how much better they can get.
The Magic are rebuilding, and although they are still not expected to be competitive, the team did improve this summer, adding talented rookies Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton, and versatile veteran big man Channing Frye, among others. At the least, Orlando should be far more fun and interesting to watch this season than they were in 2013-14.