Marc Daniels Monday Notebook: It's Time For Magic And Isaac To Part Ways

Boston Celtics v Orlando Magic

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The moment you heard the news you knew what it meant. Jonathan Isaac is out for the season, again. And this time it likely means his time in Orlando has come to an end.

Isaac had surgery to repair a torn abductor muscle after an MRI last Wednesday discovered the tear. It was almost like a Friday news dump when the team released the news during one of the area's biggest sports weekends of the year.

Isaac has played in just 147 games over five seasons. He has undergone numerous surgeries to repair knee injuries and no one argues his battles to come back and play are admirable. Everyone likes Jonathan Isaac the person. He is easy to root for and when healthy has been and could be a very productive player. But if you can't be on the court, you can't help your team.

He had played in just 11 games after missing the last two seasons and never played more than 16 minutes and was nothing more than a role player off the bench as the team was managing minutes

But the story has to end for Isaac in Orlando. As the team has turned the page from any hope that he could be a cornerstone of the franchise, the focus is now on Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero, who is expected to win the Rookie of the Year.

The NBA is also a business and the Magic have no reason to pay Isaac and guaranteed money after this season where he will make $16M. If the team waives him he is owed $7.4M for the 2023-24 season and $0 for the 2024-25 season. The Magic will cap space opportunities for the next two seasons and with Wager and Banchero developing into all-star caliber players, the focus needs to be on surrounding them with the right pieces to allow Orlando to contend in the east.

NBA team hope to hit on 50% of their draft picks, including teams that find themselves in the lottery year-after-year. The Magic have hit on a few with Wagner and Banchero and still believe Jalen Suggs can become a key part of what they are building. Cole Anthony has become a competent reserve and has played well while Markelle Fultz was out. Chuma Okeke, Mo Bamba and Jonathan Isaac have not worked out. One has been traded(Bamba), the other can't stay healthy(Okeke) and the other has been healthy in four years(Isaac). 

Don't feel bad for Isaac. By the end of this season he will have made more than $55M for playing in 147 games, That comes to about $375,000 a game. He never has to step on an NBA court again and he will be fine.

The Magic will look to trade Isaac and his contract may actually help teams because of how his deal is structured. If the Magic find any taker on a deal, do it. But there likely won't be much of a market for a player who has had bad luck with injuries. And that likely means he will need to be waived.

Isaac may find someone to take a flyer on him and there may be the tribute video played if he returns to the Amway for a game in a different uniform. Isaac is easy to like and easy to root for. But Jonathan Isaac's time in Orlando has likely come to an end...

Nuggets: Anthony Richardson ruined the weekend for a number of NFL teams who were hoping he flopped in his performance at the combine. Yes, he ruined their weekend because teams love to scratch off the names of hyped guys with little success on the field other than being big and physical. Richardson underperformed in his one season as a starter at Florida. There was plenty of hype going into the combine and many mock drafts having Richardson moving into the top 10 and some even suggesting he is worthy of the top pick. Some teams wanted a poor combine so the guessing game of what Richardson could be would become someone else's problem. The problem now is Richardson lit up the combine with his measurements and throwing performance during drills. Now some teams have to play the game they hate playing. They prefer seeing an NFL-ready quarterback with little projection. Now, with Richardson, they have to deal with the scenario that you may not be able to pass on him and let someone else get a potential star. That's how GMs lose their jobs. It was and will be fascinating to watch the next seven weeks leading up to the draft and see how "football experts" will tell you Richardson's combine workout outweighs Bryce Young and CJ Stroud's body of work on the field as a starter for multiple years playing on college football's biggest stage. But then again, we are still trying to master the process of finding the next great quarterback...Kurt Kitayama overcame a triple-bogey at the ninth hole to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. In what looked like the leaderboard of a major, Kitayama steadied himself to make seven straight pars before adding a birdie on the tough par-3 17th and then made a huge putt from 47-feet away on 18 to sit just outside the cup. His tap-in left him one shot better than Rory McIlroy and Harris English. But the leaderboard on the back nine featured the top player in the world in Scottie Scheffler as well as Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas...The Orlando Guardians' offense exploded for nine points in their latest loss. The team does realize tanking for Anthony Richardson is not an option, right?...Conference tournament week in college basketball. It's almost time the annoying guy in your office tells you about the Patriot League winner and this team from the Big South to keep an eye out for...

Final note: Did you know Levi Strauss doesn't make jeans in the US? They have outsourced the production of the country's most popular jeans for almost a decade.

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