Reaction: Simmons, Magic Agree to Deal

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Free agent Jonathon Simmons has agreed to a three-year deal with the Orlando Magic, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical.

The deal is fully guaranteed and is reportedly worth $20 million over three years, Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News reports.

News of the reported deal comes just one day after the San Antonio Spurs withdrew their qualifying offer to Simmons, which made him an unrestricted free agent. Simmons began to draw significant interest among NBA teams once he became an unrestricted free agent before agreeing to a deal with the Magic.

Simmons, 27, averaged 6.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 78 games last season with the Spurs. During his two seasons with the Spurs, he solidified his place in head coach Gregg Popovich’s rotation and eventually earned significant playing time for the Spurs during the playoffs.

He came up with perhaps the biggest play of his career in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets. With the score tied in the final seconds of regulation, Simmons drew a charge against James Harden to help send the game to overtime. The Spurs pulled out the win and went on to take the series in six games.

For the Magic, adding the 6-foot-6 Simmons will give the team a proven wing defender that figures to compete for a place in the starting lineup. Simmons averaged just 17.8 minutes per game last season with the Spurs and now appears ready for a bigger role in head coach Frank Vogel’s rotation.

With the addition of Simmons, the Magic now have several young pieces in Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, Wesley Iwundu, Terrence Ross, Elfrid Payton and Evan Fournier that they can build around.

Simmons marks the fourth addition to the team since team president Jeff Weltman and general manager John Hammond assumed the position. The Magic drafted Isaac and Iwundu in this year’s draft, while they also recently signed free agent point guard Shelvin Mack.

Orlando was not expected to be big players in free agency this year after having around $15 million in cap space. They saw an opportunity to add a relatively cheap option in Simmons to the lineup after he became an unrestricted free agent.

For Simmons, agreeing to a deal that is expected to pay around $7 million annually marks a solid point in a long journey that has become a remarkable story. Simmons went undrafted out of Houston in 2012 and played in the American Basketball League and the G-League prior to joining the Spurs.

Simmons arrived to the Spurs’ organization in 2013 after paying a $150 tryout fee for the Austin Toros (now the Austin Spurs). He nearly quit basketball altogether but eventually earned a training camp invitation from the San Antonio Spurs following a standout performance in the 2015 Summer League.

While Simmons now moves on from the organization that gave him his first real opportunity in the NBA, the Magic pick up a player that figures to continue to prove himself and his place in the NBA.