When Robin Lopez was the first to sign with Orlando Magicthere was a curiosity about what his role would be in court.
Lopez did not need much time see how it fits.
“I’ve always liked to think of myself as a utility worker,” Lopez said shortly after signing a $ 5 million annual contract. “All the teams need, I’m trying to fulfill that role.”
At the time, Lopez joined Orlando’s recovery team with three young greats (Wendell Carter Jr., Mo Bamba and Jonathan Isaac).
Magic has reached a signing agreement Mo Wagner signed a 2-year contract the day after they came to an agreement with Lopez.
Isaac did not play the second season in a row in recovering from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of the left knee, but Lopez was often third or fourth in Orlando, while Magic gave priority to developing younger players.
Being a veteran on the recovery team or a backup were not unfamiliar situations for the 34-year-old Lopez.
But when his role shrank to what it was compared to the rest of his 14-year career – playing in 36 low-career games – it was different.
Lopez accepted these changes.
His performance (7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 17 minutes) wasn’t obvious, but his reliability helped keep the ship for the Magic in tough times.
When the COVID-19 pandemic from mid-December to early January began to affect player availability, Lopez increased his responsibility for numbers and offensive.
If the Magic didn’t have any of its other great men or needed a stronger body to defend a stronger opponent, Lopez showed he could still work on that end despite his limited mobility.
And when Lopez, a well-known Disney fan, had a chance to take novice bodyguard Jalen Sags into the Disney world, he did not hesitate.
It is unknown whether Lopez and his patented scoop shot will want to return to Magic in a similar role next season.
Lopez will be one of two unlimited free Magic agents along with Gary Harris.
He is expected to be pursued by teams seeking to compete in the playoffs in a free agency, and most of these teams are likely to be able to offer more prominent roles than Magic.
Time will tell whether Lopez will be the one-and-made in Orlando.