(Moncton, NB.) In what many would have expected to be a bit of downtime for the defending league Champions, having a twelve day stretch that saw no games scheduled, it has been anything but that for the team's front office and Head Coach Joe Salerno. The Magic announced a flurry of roster moves this morning, moves in which Salerno feels will ultimately benefit the Magic in the long term as they continue to defend their 2018-2019 NBL Canada title.
"As an organization we are constantly looking to improve, add depth, and shape a roster we feel is in line with our long-term goal, which is winning a second National Championship" commented Salerno.
Headlining the most recent transactions is the signing of former St. John's Edge star Desmond Lee.
Lee, a 6'5" guard from Norfolk, Virginia was an absolute juggernaut in last years NBL Canada's post season for the Edge, and a thorn in the side of the Magic in the league final averaging 21 points, 7.2 rebounds and shooting over 52% from the three-point line.
Lee, who was one of the seven players on the St. John's Edge protected list from last season signed a qualifying offer with the Magic earlier this week. The Edge, who had 48 hours to match the offer to retain Lee's rights opted not to, ultimately landing the versatile guard with the Magic.
"It's been a very long process and a very hard decision, but I signed with the Magic because coach is giving me a good opportunity that I couldn't turn down" commented Lee. "To play alongside other great players and coaches and have a great chance to win a championship. Most importantly I feel like I'm going to a place where I'm wanted and appreciated, while still being able to be me as a player."
Due to a personal obligation in the United states, Lee will not be joining the team or be placed on the active roster until sometime later this week.
Along with Lee, the Magic made another big acquisition this week in the re-signing of 6'10" centre Nick Evans. Evans, who recently returned to Canada after playing in Albania earlier this fall, will join the team on Monday and have a full week of practice before upcoming games in Halifax on the weekend. A fan favourite at the Avenir Centre, Evans played an integral role in last season's championship run, suiting up in 42 games for the Magic, averaging 10 points, and 5.7 rebounds per game. He also led the team in blocks per game in 2018-19 with just shy of 2 per game, and currently sits 5thall time in the NBL Canada for blocked shots with 182.
"It will be great to have Nick back in the fold. Nick plays hard night in and night out and has continued to improve and expand his game over his career. He is another guy who is extremely familiar with our systems, roster, and organization. He understands what the expectations are when you play here, and I'm excited to work with Nick for another season" commented Salerno.
The Magic also announced today a trade that sends forward Billy White to the Central division's Windsor Express in return for Canadian guard Kemy Osse, and the protected player rights to 7'0" centre Ty Walker.
Osse, a 6'2" guard is no stranger to the NBL's Atlantic Division, having spent the past two seasons with the Island Storm and the Saint John Riptide. The Montreal, Quebec native has gotten off to a great start in his third NBL Canada campaign, currently averaging 14 points per game, to go along with 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists.
Walker, who currently is not on Windsor's active roster led the NBL in blocks per game last season and was a finalist for the leagues Defensive Player of the Year award.
"Obviously it was a difficult decision to move Billy. He has played a large role in our team's success over the last 14 months and has had an incredible career in this league. We certainly wish him the best moving forward" commented Salerno. "Strengthening our roster, providing greater depth across the board, while improving our salary cap position are all factors that came into play here, among many others" Salerno continued, "all of which we feel better position our team to win another championship. This is consistently the goal and will continue to be our focus when it comes to making these types of decisions moving forward."
The 5-1 Magic will head to Halifax this weekend for games against the Hurricanes on Friday night and Sunday afternoon at Scotiabank Centre.
About MONCTON MAGICHeadquartered in Moncton, NB, the MONCTON MAGIC is a professional basketball organization that operates under a licensing agreement with the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC). The team will play its games in a two-conference league with clubs located in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.
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