Magic sign free-agent big man Jason Maxiell to two-year deal

In a clear sign that they don’t want to be caught empty-handed if Glen Davis is slow to recover from foot surgery, the Orlando Magic announced Thursday the signing of Jason Maxiell, a veteran of eight seasons with the Detroit Pistons.

The Magic won only six of 38 games to end last season after Davis fractured his left foot Jan. 30 at New York. He needed another surgery on the same foot last week, raising the possibility he might not be available when training camp opens in October.

Although the 30-year-old Maxiell is only listed at 6-foot-7, he can play both center and power forward. He played in 72 games for the Pistons last season and averaged 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 24.8 minutes. His total of 95 blocked shots was more than anyone on the Magic had, including 7-foot center Nikola Vucevic.

Maxiell’s contract is worth $5 million over two years, with only the first being guaranteed for now. He was a first-round pick of the Pistons in 2005 and was with them when they defeated the Magic in the 2006 and 2008 NBA playoffs. He made 71 starts last season but became expendable after the Pistons signed Josh Smith to a four-year, $56 million contract.

Maxiell is the second veteran free agent added this week by the Magic. Guard Ronnie Price, another eight-year pro who was most recently with the Portland Trail Blazers, was brought aboard for insurance at the point behind Jameer Nelson and rookie Victor Oladipo. Price’s signing is not yet official and may not become so until the Magic reach buyout agreements with veterans Hedo Turkoglu and Al Harrington.

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