Orlando catches a Bass

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the fish reference…

The Magic signed Brandon Bass to a four-year deal.

The Orlando Magic are trying to keep up in the arms race in the competitive Eastern Conference, agreeing to terms on Friday with free agent forward Brandon Bass on a four-year deal believed to be worth $18 million.

The Mavericks tried to keep him, but Dallas’ commitment to Magic free agent center Marcin Gortat to an offer sheet made money scarce. New Orleans, Bass’s first team, and Cleveland also were working to sign him.

With Hedo Turkoglu gone to Toronto, there may be an opportunity for a starting job at power forward in Orlando for Bass, with the Magic moving Rashard Lewis back to his normal small forward position. But even if he doesn’t start, Bass will provide toughness and size for an Orlando team that now has to contend with Shaquille O’Neal and re-signed forward Anderson Varejao in Cleveland and the return of Kevin Garnett and newly signed Rasheed Wallace in Boston.

Sometimes GMs target productive bench players that play behind All-Stars and they turn out to be good starters. The Mavs signed Dwight Howard’s backup, Marcin Gortat, and the Magic turned around and signed Dirk Nowitzki’s backup to shore up their power forward position. Though I wasn’t a big fan of the Magic’s decision to acquire Vince Carter at the expense of Hedo Turkoglu and Courtney Lee, I do like this signing. This will allow the Magic to go big with Lewis at small forward and Bass at power forward, or utilize Bass off the bench.

I think Bass is starter quality and it will be interesting to see how the 24-year-old develops after posting two seasons with a PER of 16.00 or more.

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