Magic Keep Rudez and Onuaku, Waive Johnson and Galloway

The Orlando Magic on Saturday announced that they waived Nick Johnson and the recently signed Ramon Galloway. The team is expected to retain Damjan Rudez and Arinze Onuaku. It will be a 15-man roster – the NBA’s maximum – for when the regular season begins on October 26th as Frank Vogel’s Magic will host the Miami Heat at Amway Center.

The 30-year-old Rudez being chosen as the fourteenth man on the squad should surprise no one. ‘Damo’ was fantastic during the preseason. In 6 games, the Croatian PF averaged 5.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, and 1.7 apg on 55.6 FG% and 57.1 3PT% in about fourteen minutes per contest. He looked more like the 28-year-old NBA rookie as part of Vogel’s Pacers squad two years ago, than the struggling player he was in Minnesota last season.

The 29-year-old Onuaku has been a pleasant surprise ever since the center played for the team at Orlando Summer League. In 4 preseason contests with the pinstriped patrol, Onuaku averaged 4.0 ppg and 2.3 rpg on 63.6 FG% in about eight minutes per contest.

Still, I didn’t think GM Rob Hennigan would occupy the 15th roster spot. Part of that could be that Bismack Biyombo is expected to serve his 1-game league suspension opening night. Also, rookie big man Stephen Zimmerman may not be ready to play NBA minutes. Onuaku is a large body who can bring some post-up offense.

Nick Johnson came into training camp as the biggest known name among the six total training camp signings. The former Houston Rocket and Arizona Wildcat never made much of an impression. In 4 games played, the 23-year-old Johnson averaged 4.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, and 2.0 apg on 31.3 FG% and 14.3 3PT% in about ten minutes per contest.

Johnson, Onuaku, and Rudez were summer non-guaranteed training camp signings. Onuaku and Rudez now are on the team payroll, but their full season contracts won’t be fully guaranteed until January 10, 2017.

Galloway – who was just signed on Friday by the Magic – is expected to be heading to Erie and the D-League. Johnson very well may be joining him with the BayHawks.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

Orlando Narrows Roster After Waiving Dawson, Murphy, and Alexander

Following the Orlando Magic preseason home loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, it was announced that the franchise has waived forward Cliff Alexander, forward Branden Dawson, and guard Kevin Murphy.

The 20-year-old 6’8″ Cliff Alexander played in two preseason games with Orlando. The University of Kansas product made his only field goal attempt and totaled 2 points and 2 rebounds in 10 minutes.

The 23-year-old 6’6″ Branden Dawson also saw action in 2 exhibition contests. The Michigan State Spartan totaled 6 points on 3-of-4 shooting, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal in 13 minutes.

Also seeing two games and 13 total minutes, the 26-year-old 6’5″ Kevin Murphy posted 5 points and 1 rebound on 2-of-2 shooting (1-of-1 on 3s).

All three players were originally signed as free agents on September 8. All three of those men can find employment overseas or in the D-League. However, if I had to pick one, I’d say that Murphy has the best chance of landing on an NBA roster in the regular season. The Tennessee Tech product has the shooting ability and defensive capabilities to be a 14th or 15th man somewhere.

GM Rob Hennigan’s Magic roster has now been narrowed to 16 players. There are thirteen Magic men under contract, and now three training camp invites remaining. The NBA allows a maximum of 15 players per team roster once we get into the regular season.

It’s pretty evident that the 14th spot for the Magic will belong to Damjan Rudez based on how heavily involved the Croatian forward has been in Frank Vogel’s rotations.

The thought going into training camp was that the coaching staff and front office was planning on beginning opening night of the regular season on October 26th with 14 players, leaving a vacant spot open in case injuries or something else happens that could give the Magic flexibility to go after a specific type of player.

But Arinze Onuaku and Nick Johnson also remain. The Magic are already heavy at guard, so I’d be surprised if Johnson – considering his bad jump-shooting as well – claimed that final roster spot. Onuaku is intriguing because he’s a big man the Magic could prefer to give third-string minutes to rather than rookie Stephen Zimmerman. The picture gets clearer a week from now.