It's tough to win when most of the roster has one foot out the door.
Like several teams in the league, the Los Angeles Clippers have spent the season clearing salary cap space for this summer, filling their roster with players in the last year of their contract.
Four of their five starters Tuesday will be free agents this summer. Only two of the 12 players active for Tuesday's lopsided loss to the Magic have contracts for next season.
"It's the nature of the business. I understand it, but I don't know if it's healthy to have that many free agents at once,'' said interim coach Kim Hughes, who is unlikely to return next season. "I don't think it's a positive situation to be in. There are too many dynamics involved.''
Davis, the team's highest paid player ($12 million), didn't enter the game until midway in the first quarter.
"It creates a scenario where people are looking for stats more than the productivity to win games,'' Hughes said. "It makes things a little tougher.''
The Clippers announced during the game that Mike Dunleavy, the man responsible for assembling the roster, had been relieved of his duties as general manager. He had left the coaching part of his job earlier this season and was replaced by Hughes.
After Davis, the Clippers have only All-Star center Chris Kaman ($11 million), injured guard Eric Gordan ($3 million) and rookie Blake Griffin ($5.3 million), who hasn't played this season, under contract beyond April.
Forward Travis Outlaw, forward Drew Gooden, and guard Steve Blake -- all obtained in trades this season -- and Rasual Butler were the free-agent-to-be starters Tuesday night.
None expressed any confidence about being back next season. Gooden played for the Magic earlier in his career, and has expressed a strong interest in returning to play in Orlando.
"I would love to come back and play in Orlando. I wanted to come back last summer,'' Gooden said. "But we'll just have to see what happens. This is a business, and nothing is guaranteed.''
The Magic considered signing Gooden last summer, but they opted for free agent Brandon Bass of Dallas instead. Gooden then signed a one-year contract with Dallas, which sent him last month to Washington, which traded him to the Clippers.
The Magic actually will have interest in signing Blake this summer as they search for another point guard to play behind starter Jameer Nelson. The Magic have used both journeymen Jason Williams and Anthony Johnson in the role this season, but both are in the final year of their contracts and already slowing down. Blake, 30, has shown an ability to play effectively as either a starter or reserve in his career.
The Magic, well over the salary cap, will have only a salary cap exception to offer once the free agency period begins July 1.
"I have a lot of respect for the Magic and their coach (Stan Van Gundy),'' Blake said. "But I'm not going to worry about that until this summer. I take pride in being able to give a team what it needs in any role.''
The Clippers lost their fourth consecutive game Tuesday, and all of them were blowouts. On Tuesday, the game was over before halftime. During the game, the Magic were joking both on the court and on the sideline, showing none of the intensity they had when they beat the Lakers on Sunday.
Outlaw likely will be their most sought-after free agent this summer, and he shrugged when asked about the chances of his returning. He talked about finishing the season strong, but it didn't show during the game.
"I just want to finish the season, and maybe show a little more ball handling skills,'' he said. "This has helped me out. Everyone knows I can score. This is about showing some other aspects of my game.''