Magic sign former Pacers center Goga Bitadze

The Orlando Magic have signed former Indiana Pacers center Goga Bitadze. The 6-foot-11 big man was waived by Indiana last Thursday. His $4,765,339 team option for this season was exercised in October 2021.

This was part of the four-year, $13.64 million rookie scale contract Bitadze signed with the Pacers four years ago. However, his current contract is now dead. Of course, the Georgian was selected 18th overall by Indiana in the 2019 NBA Draft.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Magic possess 26th-ranked odds to win the championship. Sportsbooks are ruling out a playoff appearance this season. The Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks have greater odds of qualifying for the postseason.

Bitadze will compete with Moritz Wagner on the Magic for minutes off the bench. Orlando trading away Mo Bamba for Patrick Beverley and a 2024 second-round draft pick was an interesting move. Bamba was no longer part of the team’s frontcourt rotation. So, the trade made sense.

In the 2021-22 season, Bitadze averaged career highs of 7.0 points, 3.5 boards, 1.1 assists, and 14.6 minutes per game through 50 appearances with Indiana.

Orlando Magic sign former Indiana Pacers center Goga Bitadze

Through 21 games off the bench this season, Bitadze is averaging 3.3 points and 2.3 rebounds. Plus, he’s shooting 51.9% from the field, 28.6% beyond the arc, and 45.8% at the foul line.

On Oct. 22, in the Pacers’ 124-115 win over the Detroit Pistons, the center logged career highs of 14 points and 15 rebounds in 26 minutes played in the second unit. He finished 6-of-8 (75%) shooting from the floor and knocked down one 3-pointer. This is a solid signing by the Magic.

While with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Indiana’s G League affiliate, Bitadze averaged 19.2 points, 13.3 boards, 4.0 assists, and 3.3 blocks through six starts during the 2019-20 season.

Last season, in two starts with Fort Wayne, the center notched 28.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.5 dimes, and 2.0 blocks per contest. He also shot 70% from the field and 63.6% outside the arc. Bitadze will have the opportunity to win over fans with the Magic.

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