Orlando Magic – Hoops Rumors Legitimate NBA free agent and trade rumors. 2020-08-04T03:26:28Z https://www.hoopsrumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Weltman: Isaac's Torn ACL Unrelated To Previous Injury]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167564 2020-08-04T03:22:27Z 2020-08-03T23:53:42Z Magic forward Jonathan Isaac suffered the first major injury during the league restart. However, the team insists that his torn left ACL wasn’t related to the left knee injury that had sidelined him since New Year’s Day, according to Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. The team’s president of basketball operations, Jeff Weltman, noted Isaac “cleared every hurdle” in his recovery from the knee injury.

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Luke Adams <![CDATA[Magic Announce Torn ACL For Jonathan Isaac]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167513 2020-08-03T12:21:51Z 2020-08-03T12:15:13Z The Magic‘s fears were confirmed following an MRI on Jonathan Isaac‘s injured left knee, with the team announcing early on Monday morning that the young forward has suffered a torn ACL and will be sidelined indefinitely.

According to the press release issued by the Magic, Isaac’s return to the court will depend on how he responds to treatment and rehabilitation. However, given the nature of the injury, it’s safe to assume he won’t be back this summer, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to play at all next season.

Isaac was driving to the basket early in the fourth quarter of Orlando’s blowout win over the Kings on Sunday when his left knee buckled and he went down, clutching the knee in pain. He was eventually taken off the court on a wheel chair.

Isaac was on the verge of a breakout 2019/20 season, having averaged career highs in PPG (11.9), RPG (6.8), BPG (2.3), SPG (1.6), and a handful of other categories in the 34 games (28.8 MPG) he played. However, a severe left knee sprain and bone bruise sidelined him on January 1, and his summer comeback effort was abruptly halted on Sunday by another injury to that knee.

As Josh Robbins of The Athletic writes, in the short term, Isaac’s injury will limit the Magic’s playoff upside this summer. However, it’s the long-term impact that figures to be of greater concern to the franchise. The 22-year-old, who will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, is viewed as perhaps Orlando’s most obvious franchise cornerstone. Now there’s no chance he won’t be back on the court before his rookie contract expires in 2021.

The Magic figure to be patient with Isaac’s injury, which shouldn’t compromise his long-term future in Orlando, but it creates some major questions for the club to answer within the next year or two. For instance, an offseason extension for Isaac had appeared likely, but that will be trickier to negotiate now that he’ll be in the early stages of rehabbing his torn ACL when he becomes extension-eligible.

Additionally, the idea of shopping Isaac’s fellow power forward Aaron Gordon in potential trades this fall figures to look less appealing with Isaac expected to miss most or all of 2020/21, as Robbins observes.

While the Magic will have to eventually consider those issues, for now they’re focused on supporting Isaac.

“It was tough seeing it just knowing what he’s been through and knowing the work he put in to get back out here,” teammate Markelle Fultz said, per Robbins. “Immediately when he went down, I just started to pray for him. I’m hoping everything works out the best for him. He’s just such a good guy.”

“We all love him to death,” Terrence Ross added. “Just to see what he’s been going through these last couple of years, it’s tough on everybody. If anybody can handle this and push through and come out better, it’s J.I. So our prayers are with him, and we’re going to support him no matter what.”

After consecutive wins in their first two seeding games, the Magic are 32-35, placing them seventh in the Eastern Conference and putting them in good position to make the postseason without participating in a play-in tournament. They’ll have to clinch that spot without their best defensive player in the lineup.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Luke Adams <![CDATA[Jonathan Isaac Suffers Non-Contact Knee Injury]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167500 2020-08-03T11:54:22Z 2020-08-03T01:12:31Z Magic forward Jonathan Isaac left Sunday’s game against Sacramento after suffering an apparent non-contact knee injury, as Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel details.

Isaac was driving to the basket early in the fourth quarter of Orlando’s blowout win over the Kings when his left knee buckled and he went down, clutching the knee in pain. He was eventually taken off the court on a wheel chair.

A severe left knee sprain and bone bruise had sidelined Isaac from January 1 until the season went on hiatus in March, and there was uncertainty about whether he’d be ready to return this summer. After participating in practices and scrimmages in July, the 22-year-old was given the go-ahead to play in the Magic’s seeding games. However, it appears likely that his comeback effort has come to an early end.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Isaac is undergoing an MRI on his knee at the Orlando campus on Sunday night. Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated adds (via Twitter) that the team has fears that Isaac suffered a torn ACL. While such an injury would likely sideline the former lottery pick for most or all of the 2020/21 season, there’s no formal diagnosis yet.

For his part, head coach Steve Clifford expressed hope that the injury wouldn’t end up being that serious, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press relays (via Twitter).

“I’m hopeful. It looked bad, obviously, but until you hear anything I’m just hopeful, that’s all,” Clifford said. “… It’s all conjecture and you just have to wait and find out.”

As a first-round pick in 2017, Isaac will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason. It’s not clear if the two sides’ chances of getting something done this fall would be adversely affected if the knee injury turns out to be significant.

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Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Iwundu Sidelined By Neck Stiffness]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167359 2020-08-01T13:19:09Z 2020-07-31T23:43:58Z
  • Wesley Iwundu cleared the league’s concussion protocol but didn’t play in the Magic’s first seeding game due to injury, the team’s PR department tweets. The swingman is dealing with neck stiffness and soreness, an issue that cropped up during a scrimmage on Saturday.
  • The Magic built a big lead against the depleted Nets and held on for a 128-118 victory on Friday. They’re eager to prove that they’re a playoff team during the eight seeding games at the Orlando campus, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel writes. “We’re going to play meaningful games here, which is what this is all about,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[And-Ones: A. Gordon, OTAs, Draft, Avdija]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166963 2020-07-28T21:09:31Z 2020-07-28T21:09:31Z With teams around the NBA preparing for the possibility that the 2020 offseason could be significantly truncated, one league executive tells Sean Deveney of Forbes that “there are already a lot of conversations” going on about possible offseason trades.

    “If you want to get something done, you need to make sure you have the framework in place, that you know where you stand on everything because there just won’t be time to pull the trigger on these things,” the exec said.

    With that in mind, Deveney spoke to a pair of executives about potential offseason trade candidates, including Magic forward Aaron Gordon. An Eastern Conference exec suggested that Gordon, who was shopped by Orlando before the February deadline, is “probably the most likely big name to be traded.”

    Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

    • As the NBA continues to work on a plan for allowing its bottom eight teams to conduct offseason workouts, Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter links) hears that the league may approve of up to three weeks of OTAs for those clubs. In that scenario, there likely wouldn’t be a separate campus created for the bottom eight teams, as had been previously explored, Popper notes.
    • The NBA hopes to create a platform called “Combine HQ” that would help provide teams with profiles, stats, and interviews for the 105 draft-eligible prospects who received the most votes to be invited to the combine, a source tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). It remains to be seen if such a tool would supplement an actual combine or be used in place of one.
    • Lottery prospect Deni Avdija has been named the Most Valuable Player of the Israeli Basketball League, making him the youngest player ever to win the award (Twitter link). The promising young forward currently ranks fifth overall on ESPN’s 2020 big board.
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    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Bamba's Weight Up, Minutes Down]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166894 2020-07-28T02:16:29Z 2020-07-28T00:46:41Z Magic guard Markelle Fultz is confident he’ll play effectively in the league restart. He told Josh Robbins of The Athletic and other media members that he’s actually feeling better than he did before the stoppage of play in March. “Right now I actually feel really good,” he said. “I think it’s just a matter of getting those reps up in a game.”

    Fultz arrived at the Orlando campus late due to a personal matter and didn’t start practicing until July 17, but played in the Magic’s scrimmage against the Nuggets on Monday.

    • The Magic have limited the minutes of big man Mohamed Bamba after he added 20 pounds to his frame during the shutdown, according to Chris Hays of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando coach Steve Clifford wants to make sure Bamba can play at a high level while carrying the extra weight but Bamba is irritated by the plan. “It is difficult to not be frustrated because at the end of the day, you want to go out there and be able to play,” he said.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Jonathan Isaac Set To Play In Monday's Scrimmage]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166860 2020-07-27T14:51:43Z 2020-07-27T14:51:43Z Jonathan Isaac hasn’t played for the Magic in nearly seven months, having suffered a knee injury on January 1. However, it looks like his return is imminent — the team’s performance staff and front office officials have cleared Isaac to suit up for Orlando’s scrimmage on Monday, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

    The Magic are being extra cautious with Isaac, one of the franchise’s young cornerstones, so he’ll still have to make it through today’s shootaround before being given the go-ahead for the club’s evening scrimmage vs. Denver. And even if he plays, he’ll face restrictions, Robbins notes.

    “It’s been a very long time since he’s played,” Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said of Isaac. “As always, we will take a very cautious approach, and his playing time will be placed under a very limited minute restriction as he gets reacclimated to the NBA game.”

    The Magic had originally been planning to be without Isaac this summer, but the young forward has exceeded expectations, writes Robbins. If he gets through Monday’s scrimmage with no issues, he would be well positioned to contribute in the team’s seeding games and potentially the playoffs as well, which would be a nice boost for Orlando. Isaac was one of the NBA’s best defenders during the first half of the season, with averages of 2.4 blocks and 1.6 steals per game in 32 contests.

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    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Magic’s Wesley Iwundu In Concussion Protocol]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166773 2020-07-26T21:31:29Z 2020-07-26T16:01:12Z Magic forward Wesley Iwundu has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol, according to a tweet from the team. He was injured in Saturday’s scrimmage against the Lakers, suffering a cut above his left eye that required four stitches.

    “I feel like we’re fortunate,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said (Twitter link from Josh Robbins of The Athletic). “That was right in front of us and it was scary. He really went down hard. And the way he fell, he didn’t have an ability to stop his fall. So I talked to him after the game, and I feel fortunate, like I said, that he wasn’t hurt more significantly.”

    There is no set timetable for players to pass through the protocol. They must complete a series of tests to prove they no longer have concussion symptoms. Orlando, which enters the restart is in eighth place in the East, will have its first seeding game Friday against the seventh-place Nets.

    Iwundu has been a valuable member of the Magic’s rotation throughout his three NBA seasons. He has appeared in 45 games this year, starting 18, and averages 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per night.

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    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Isaac Showing Progress From Knee Issue]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166605 2020-07-25T12:39:02Z 2020-07-25T01:38:44Z Magic guard Markelle Fultz isn’t quite healthy enough to participate in the team’s scrimmage on Saturday, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets“These guys missed so much time and they weren’t able to be in a gym,” coach Steve Clifford said. “For Markelle, it’s just the situation that he was in.” Fultz’s arrival in Orlando was delayed due to a personal matter.

    • Magic forward Jonathan Isaac will also sit out the scrimmage against the Lakers but he’s making progress, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. Clifford said Isaac took part in contact drills at practice and is “getting closer” to playing. Isaac has been sidelined since suffering a left knee injury on New Year’s Day.
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    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Magic Lay Off Employees; Clark Has Something To Prove In Restart]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166154 2020-07-21T01:56:35Z 2020-07-21T00:39:07Z As Magic prepare for the league restart, the franchise is taking difficult steps due to the COVID-19 related drop in revenue. It has laid off 31 full-time employees, approximately 10% of its staff, according to The Athletic’s Josh Robbins and Shams Charania. The Magic had 10 regular-season home games remaining, as well as potential playoff games, prior to the stoppage of play in March.

    “This is not the fault of any specific individual that we must part with today, this decision is purely about becoming more efficient in a post COVID-19 environment, and the requirement to be more efficient in this unknown future that we find ourselves faced with,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said in part in a prepared statement.

    • Having been in and out of the rotation prior to the NBA’s hiatus, Gary Clark is hoping to prove this summer that he can be a dependable contributor for the Magic, as Chris Hays of The Orlando Sentinel writes. “I think my role there and now is just being a reliable player,” Clark said. “At the end of the day, put Gary on the court, he’s going to hold defensive presence and he’s going to be able to let our offensive flow (be) smooth out there.”
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    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Magic Notes: Disney World, Rotation, Seeding, Fultz]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165836 2020-07-17T21:44:20Z 2020-07-17T19:00:32Z The Magic may have the shortest trip to the Walt Disney World complex, but their players are struggling with the same adjustment as the other 21 teams, writes Marc Stein of The New York Times. They can have things dropped off easily to help pass the time, but they are still isolated from friends and family members.

    Like most of the teams in Orlando, Magic players have family concerns while they tend to basketball-related business. D.J. Augustin‘s father-in-law recently died, and Nikola Vucevic‘s parents arrived from Montenegro to help his wife, who is expecting a baby in November.

    “It’s hard being away from family, period, so when I get back to my room, that’s when it’s hard,” Augustin said. But at the same time I’m here to do a job. I’m here and I’m focused and I’m trying to make the best of this opportunity.”

    There’s more Magic news to pass along:

    • Orlando may use an expanded rotation when the season resumes, according to John Denton of NBA.com. The Magic already had one of the league’s most productive bench units, which may be bolstered by the return of Jonathan Isaac from a knee injury. “I don’t see us, by July 31 being able to play just nine guys, especially when you are going to play eight games in 15 nights,’’ head coach Steve Clifford said. “I think there will be nights when you play 10 guys or 11 guys and everybody has to be ready. That might make it difficult to get to playing groups, which is always an important factor in our league. It will be as unique of a situation as anything that any of us have ever been involved with.’’
    • The Magic will approach the eight seeding games with a goal of moving up to the seventh slot, Denton adds in a separate story. At 30-35, Orlando is a half game behind the depleted Nets, and passing them would prevent the Magic from having to face the Bucks in the first round. “I would say that’s one of our main goals right now,’’ Wesley Iwundu said. “It’s about coming out from the start really strong.”
    • Markelle Fultz has passed the quarantine protocol and is expected to take part in his first practice this afternoon, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Fultz, who didn’t travel with the team, said his arrival was delayed by a personal matter and wasn’t due to COVID-19.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Markelle Fultz, James Ennis Report To Magic]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165598 2020-07-15T15:40:58Z 2020-07-15T15:40:58Z Magic guard Markelle Fultz has arrived at the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus and has begun his initial quarantine period, a league source told Josh Robbins of The Athletic this morning (Twitter link).

    As Robbins notes, Fultz didn’t travel with the rest of the Magic when the team headed to Disney last Tuesday. Fultz’s arrival was delayed by a personal matter, unrelated to COVID-19. Once he returns a pair of negative coronavirus tests, clears quarantine, and passes a conditioning test, he’ll be able to join the Magic for practices.

    Meanwhile, forward James Ennis told reporters on a Zoom call that he was the Magic player who recently tested positive for the coronavirus, Robbins tweets. President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman had said last Tuesday when the club arrived at Disney that one player didn’t accompany the team due to a positive COVID-19 test.

    According to Robbins, Ennis had a headache for four or five days and experienced some nausea, but is feeling good now. He has completed his quarantine period and practiced on Wednesday with the Magic for the first time since arriving at the campus.

    I’m just trying to get my wind up and my legs back under me and just get in rhythm, because our first scrimmage is next week,” Ennis said, per Robbins (Twitter link). “I want to be prepared for that.”

    The Magic, who currently hold the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, will be looking to secure a playoff spot when they resume play on July 31. Their goal will be to pass the depleted Nets for the No. 7 seed, which would allow them to avoid a first-round matchup with the 53-12 Bucks.

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    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Latest On Isaac; Bamba Bulked Up During Layoff]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165386 2020-07-14T02:14:59Z 2020-07-14T00:25:29Z The prospects for Magic forward Jonathan Isaac playing during the league restart are improving, Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Isaac, who hasn’t played since he injured his left knee on New Year’s Day, hasn’t been allowed in contact drills yet but he is participating in other team drills. He’s “optimistic” about returning, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link). “I have no reservations in my mind about it,” Isaac said. “If I’m ready to play and if I get the clearance, I’m ready to go.”

    • Magic big man Mohamed Bamba used the time off to bulk up, he told Hays in a separate Orlando Sentinel story. “My mentality the whole entire time we were quarantined was to gain an inch every day and it really took, literally, every day going through it to get to where I am,” Bamba said. “It took changing my diet, it took intense workouts and it took leaning on the Magic’s strength and conditioning staff to provide a plan for me.”
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Community Shootaround: Western Conference Seeding]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165310 2020-07-13T18:10:24Z 2020-07-13T18:10:24Z As we detailed on Friday when we discussed the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, there will be an opportunity for teams to move up – or down – in the standings when play resumes on July 30.

    With eight “seeding games” on tap, teams are unlikely to make up five- or six-game deficits on the clubs ahead of them in the standings, but there’s a strong likelihood of a shake-up in instances where teams are only separated by a game or two.

    That’s even more true in the Western Conference than it is in the East, albeit not necessarily at the very top of the standings, where the 49-14 Lakers hold a fairly comfortable lead on the 44-20 Clippers. The Lakers’ magic number to clinch the conference is just three, so they’re a safe bet to hang onto the No. 1 seed.

    After that though, there’s some congestion in the standings. The Clippers’ lead on the Nuggets (43-22) is just 1.5 games. Denver holds an identical lead over the Jazz (41-23). Utah, meanwhile, is just a couple losses away from slipping down to the No. 6 seed, as the Thunder (40-24) and Rockets (40-24) are right on their heels. The 40-27 Mavericks round out this group of six teams, a game-and-a-half behind OKC and Houston and just 5.5 games behind the second-seeded Clippers.

    A number of those six clubs bunched up in the middle of the Western Conference playoff picture will face one another when play resumes. For instance, the Thunder – who have the potential to move up or down a couple spots in the standings – will open the restart against the Jazz and Nuggets and eventually finish their season against the Clippers. The Clips will face the Mavericks and Nuggets in addition to OKC. Dallas opens its eight seeding games by playing the Rockets.

    Given the strength of competition in the West, seeding could be paramount in the postseason. The Nuggets, for example, could conceivably face the Jazz, Thunder, Rockets, or Mavs in the first round and would likely prefer some opponents to others in that group. The Jazz, currently at No. 4, could be motivated to avoid the No. 6 Rockets in the first round, since they’ve been eliminated by Houston in each of the previous two postseasons.

    At the bottom of the playoff picture, the No. 8 Grizzlies (32-33) have essentially no chance to move up, since they’re seven games back of Dallas. But they’ll be looking to increase their lead over the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs, and Suns — if they can finish with more than a four-game lead on all those clubs, they’ll avoid a play-in tournament. If the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds finish within four games of one another, a play-in tournament will be necessary to determine that final playoff spot.

    A newly-healthy Blazers squad will be a major threat to the Grizzlies, as will a Pelicans team that faces one of the league’s weakest schedules over the course of the eight seeding games.

    What do you think? Do you think we’ll see much movement in the Western Conference’s top eight? Will the Grizzlies be knocked out by one of the challengers behind them in the standings? What do you expect the West’s top eight seeds to look like by the time the playoffs begin?

    Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your predictions!

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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Community Shootaround: Eastern Conference Seeding]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164907 2020-07-10T17:13:12Z 2020-07-10T16:50:07Z Although the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference will still be up for grabs when the NBA’s eight “seeding” games begin on July 30, that race has lost much of its luster as a result of the injuries, COVID-19 cases, and opt-outs that have decimated the Nets‘ and Wizards‘ rosters.

    Technically, the Magic (30-35) are the No. 8 seed at the moment, but they’re just a half-game back of Brooklyn (30-34) for the No. 7 spot and seem likely to pass a Nets team that will be without at least seven players, including Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, and DeAndre Jordan.

    That would leave the Nets to hang onto the No. 8 seed by holding off the Wizards (24-40), who will be missing Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans, and John Wall, but could force a play-in tournament if they finish within four games of Orlando or Brooklyn. Washington is also currently without Thomas Bryant (coronavirus), Gary Payton II (coronavirus), and Garrison Mathews (personal), though some or all of those players may eventually rejoin the team.

    While that race for the seventh and eighth seeds may not be quite as dramatic as the NBA would like, there could still be some interesting jockeying for position further up the standings in the East.

    The 53-12 Bucks have a 6.5-game cushion over the 46-18 Raptors, so Milwaukee will likely clinch the top seed even if they’re on cruise control during the seeding games. But Toronto’s lead on the third-seeded Celtics (43-21) is just three games, and Boston’s eight-game schedule looks less daunting than the Raptors’ slate.

    Five of the Celtics’ eight games are against the Nets, Wizards, Magic, Grizzlies, and Trail Blazers, all of whom are at or near the bottom of the playoff race. The Raptors, meanwhile, will face Orlando and Memphis, but also have games against the Lakers, Heat, Nuggets, Sixers, and Bucks. The Celtics and Raptors face each other as well, in a game that will have important tiebreaker implications.

    That No. 2 seed isn’t as important as it once was, given the lack of home court advantage available, but it could mean facing the Magic instead of the Pacers, which should be a more favorable matchup even with Victor Oladipo sidelined.

    Speaking of the Pacers, they’re currently tied at 39-26 with the Sixers, with the No. 5 seed up for grabs. Clinching that fifth seed would likely mean securing a first-round matchup with the fourth-seeded Heat instead of the Celtics or Raptors.

    The Heat, meanwhile, are 41-24, putting them two games behind Boston and two games ahead of the Sixers and Pacers. They seem like a relatively safe bet to hold their position in the No. 4 vs. 5 matchup, but a hot or cold streak in Orlando could affect their spot in the standings, especially with games vs. Boston, Toronto, and Indiana (twice) on tap.

    What do you think? What do you expect the top eight spots in the Eastern Conference to look like by the time the playoffs begin? Will they look relatively similar to the current standings, or will there be some shuffling that results in some unexpected first-round matchups?

    Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!

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