Date: 07/09/2015

Orlando Magic sign C.J. Watson to 3-year deal

The Orlando Magic formally signed free-agent point guard C.J. Watson today, the team announced.

Watson, 31, is expected to serve as the primary backup to second-year point guard Elfrid Payton and provide backcourt depth.

“I just thought it was the best situation at the time, to come in with a young core group that they have and hopefully just try to be a positive impact to the team and hopefully get them to the playoffs,” Watson said this afternoon.

The agreement calls for Watson to earn as much as $15 million over the next three seasons. But after Watson earns $5 million in 2015-16 and $5 million in 2016-17, only $1 million of his $5 million salary for 2017-18 will be fully guaranteed, a league source with knowledge of the deal said.

Watson’s presence should improve the Magic’s perimeter shooting. He’s a career 38.3 percent shooter from three-point range.

Last season, Watson enjoyed one of the most productive years of his career. In 24.9 minutes per game for the Indiana Pacers, he averaged 10.0 points, 3.6 assists and 1.8 turnovers per game.

The Magic and Watson agreed in principle to the deal over the weekend, but the contract couldn’t be signed until the league’s annual July moratorium was lifted at 12:01 this morning.

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