Magic Basketball Mailbag, 6/15/10 | Magic Basketball

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Jun 15

Magic Basketball Mailbag, 6/15/10

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Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Welcome to the inaugural installment of Magic Basketball Mailbag.

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Will the Magic get rid of Vince? Can the Magic get rid of Vince?

‘Will’ and ‘can’ are two different words.

According to Hoopdata.com, Vince Carter is on the hook to be paid approximately $17.5 million next year, with a guaranteed salary of $4 million in 2011-2012 out of a contract that is $18.3 million. Carter is, more or less, an expiring contact but which team in the NBA would want him? Expiring contracts are always valuable commodities in the league but it’s highly unlikely that general manager Otis Smith can trade Carter unless he’s willing to part with players of value, like Marcin Gortat for example. That’s a price Smith will have to pay to accommodate a move. If Smith is able to package Carter in a deal and find a trade partner, then yes, he will be traded but the odds of that happening are low.

Should the Orlando Magic get rid of Carter?

Yes. But if push came to shove and Vince Carter remained with the Orlando Magic in the off-season, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Despite his faults, Carter is still a good player and a starter in the NBA. Plus, Carter would have the benefit of playing with the core of Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, and Dwight Howard for another year and adding to the chemistry and familiarity they each have with each other. More than anything else, Carter’s chemistry with Howard in the 2/5 pick and roll may continue to blossom or it may not. Still, that type of familiarity can’t be underestimated when it comes to players knowing their teammates’ tendencies and what not. However, there are some red flags with Carter that are of concern.

Since 2007, Carter’s field goal attempts at the rim and free-throw attempts have decreased year-by-year. Consequently, in that same timeframe, Carter has taken more shots from 10-15 feet as each season has gone by. It makes sense. As Carter gets older — he’s 33 and will turn 34 in January — and his athleticism wanes, he’s becoming more reliant on the jumpshot and that poses a problem. For whatever reason, Carter hasn’t adjusted to this phenomena by becoming more savvy on the perimeter and drawing fouls on defenders like someone such as Paul Pierce. And it doesn’t look like Carter will suddenly develop that particular ability any time soon. That is a problem, because Carter was brought in primarily to be a playmaker for the Magic.

From that perspective, Carter needs to be replaced sooner rather than later after he was unable to help Orlando return to the NBA Finals. Howard is slowly reaching the peak of his career and the time has come for general manager Otis Smith to pair the big fella with a second star in his prime to capitalize on the Magic’s current championship window. No matter who it is, it needs to be someone that is relatively young so that he can become a part of Orlando’s core for the next few seasons. Analyzing who that player should be is a topic for another day.

What can we expect from the Magic in the offseason? They made some bold moves last season that didn’t quite pan out overall, particularly VC and Bass. VC had stretches of greatness during the season, but was far too inconsistent in the playoffs. Bass needs to be more involved. I understand he’s not the perimeter shooter Lewis is, but he brings more toughness that would hopefully take some pressure off of Howard. They spent a lot of money to bring him, but for what?

With general manager Otis Smith, expect anything. Especially after last year.

That being said, one of Smith’s top priorities will be to re-sign J.J. Redick. After Redick started and finished the season with a bang, there’s no doubt that there will be many teams in the league that will be vying for his services. However, the Magic have a few things going for them … Redick is a restricted free agent, which means that Smith can opt to match any offer sheet. Also, Redick has stated many times that he’d like to remain with Orlando (the organization loves him, by the way) and would be more than happy maintaining his current role with the team rather than sign elsewhere and have a chance to start, particularly if he can’t win as much with his new team as he could if he continued to play with the Magic. As long as Smith’s hands aren’t forced and the new contact is within reason financially, Redick should be back next year.

As for Matt Barnes and Jason Williams, both are unrestricted free agents and it’s tough to tell whether or not they’ll remain with Orlando. Though it should be noted that, according to John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com, the Magic want Williams back.

Finally, the issue with Brandon Bass is that he’s not a good fit with Orlando. Toughness is irrelevant if you’re unaware of schemes and plays, which was Bass’ problem during the season. Many times, even during the Eastern Conference Finals, Bass would do some good things here and there but then undermine his ability to stay on the floor by blowing defensive coverages or running plays incorrectly on offense. There’s no question that Bass’ energy off the bench is a positive, but it makes no difference when he’s usually caught out of position on defense and is unable to make a bigger impact for the Magic on offense since he’s unable to spread the floor like Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson. Bass is a good player, but he’s on the wrong team. The signing was a mistake, even if Smith won’t admit it.

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Thanks for the questions!

If you have a question for the mailbag, you can reach me at eddy.rivera7 [at] gmail [dot] com

17 comments
jason
jason

A sign and trade deal for Amare Stodamire for Vince and either gortat or Bass and a draft pick mjght work? Nash is getting old and they are going to have to rebuild soon and does Amare really want to go through that? Plus, he's from the Orlando area. So, i think that trade would be the best bet on landing a big name free agent, and having a the best chance of matching up with LA or Boston.

G-baby
G-baby

use carter as backup to nelson. move lewis to his natural SF. keep bass and anderson as backup PF go and find a real true POWER FORWARD to start.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Ayj

Carter's defense was a problem but the bigger issue was his inability to score. That was the death knell for the Magic, at the end of the day. And I'm actually going to do a draft board, of sorts, in the next few days so be on the lookout for that.

@Zachary

Thanks for the kind words.

Not sure if a sign-and-trade is realistic with either Carlos Boozer or Chris Bosh, but I don't think the possibility should be completely dismissed. I don't think a lower-tier free agent can make the same type of impact someone like Boozer, Bosh, and even Stoudemire could make if they played for the Magic. Whatever the position may be, Orlando needs a premiere scorer alongside Dwight Howard if they want to win a championship.

Ayj
Ayj

Eddy - Who do you like better for the Magic in the draft (Dominique Jones or Quincy Pondexter) - I think these two picks make the most sense. These guys have both played through their college careers and are solid defenders with an ability to score.

Zachary
Zachary

Eddy-

Is a sign-and-trade for Chris Bosh realistic? Or would a scenario involving Carlos Boozer be more feasible?

Granted, either situation is unlikely but, to quote you on this, "With general manager Otis Smith, expect anything". He's still got that trade exception which expires at the end of the month, so I think we can both agree somebody's going somewhere. Even if the likely candidates for that are Bass, Gortat, Anderson, or (like you said, unlikely) Carter.

Is there a lower tier Free Agent available to fit our needs, or should we concentrate more on getting the prime scorer?

Great site, keep up the good work!

Ayj
Ayj

@Eddy Rivera
Eddy, Vince's defense was one of the biggest problems against the Celtics that seems to be overlooked, and the Magic don't need someone who is going to shrink in the face of adversity. Vince was making terrible decisions all series against the Celtics, including turning the ball over on very errant passes leading to momentum changes and jacking up awful shots that did the same. For all the positives he can bring, it's the negatives that really hurt the Magic when they could have just used someone who was more steady.

I'm assuming Barnes is gone, because he wants more money or at least thinks he is worth more money.

Craig
Craig

Would it be crazy to perhaps keep Carter and have him come off the bench? Redick really reminds me of Ray Allen the way he comes off screens and free's himself up for the outside shot (which fits Orlandos system). If we were to start Redick over Carter it would also mean that his direct opponent will be working hard at both ends of the floor (chasing Redick as well as playing his role when his team has the ball).

Basically I am thinking about this because I dont see Carter going anywhere so he will be playing for us next season. If the time comes in games where we need a bit more height at the Shooting Guard spot then we have Carter/Pietrus ready to come on the floor and share the load?

Also - Redick is great at drawing the foul when shooting the 3 ball.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Ayj

I think the problem was that, when push came to shove, Carter couldn't be the dominant scorer when the stakes were at the highest. I thought Carter played fine in Game 1 against the Boston Celtics, but he wasn't able to make the two free-throws at the end of the game and I think that affected his confidence moving forward in the series.

The Magic have solid wing defenders -- Barnes fits the bill and so does Pietrus. The main thing that Orlando needs is a dominant scorer next to Dwight Howard. The Magic aren't going to win a championship with a role player at small forward and a defensive-minded player at shooting guard. That lineup wouldn't score enough to win. As for Mike Miller, he's a defensive liability and -- for whatever reason -- refuses to shoot the ball as much as he should, given how efficient he is offensively. Orlando doesn't need Miller.

Ayj
Ayj

Eddy, isn't it true that Vince isn't what they wanted him to be? And for that reason he is just way too expensive for what he is - a liability on defense and someone too reluctant to make his way to the basket. To be honest I don't think they need someone like Vince Carter or any other jack-o-matic shooter. They simply need a solid defender at the 2, and someone who can take it to the hole. They don't need a great perimeter shooter at the 2, because they have plenty of perimeter shooters.

I wouldn't mind seeing the Magic pick up Mike Miller and/or Pondexter at the 3 and find someone that can just take it to the rack and play D at the 2, they don't need to be a superstar, but they do need to know how to take good shots.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@YHa

The only way I see Otis Smith giving it any thought is if Arenas showed he was back to his All-Star form and even then, I don't think it'd be worth sacrificing financial flexibility and locker room chemistry to take the risk. Plus, I really doubt Arenas will ever be the player he once was.

YHa
YHa

would you consider taking on Arenas' contract for Vince? I'm a Wiz fan and like Arenas, but realistically, not sure if he fits in with the team's rebuilding plans/horizon and the magic are built to win now. **If** Arenas can show that he's bounced back to something like his All Star form, then that trade might be beneficial for both teams, provided the magic are willing to absorb the longer contract...

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@JoeybarZ

Not sure acquiring a perimeter player to replace Carter is realistic, given that the pickings are slim.

@yermi

That trade would never happen. The Raptors would want more compensation from the Magic than just Marcin Gortat.

@fromCanada

It's Vince, not Wince. People from Toronto need to move on.

@McLean

Thanks.

@magicman775

If you're implying that the Magic won Games 4 and 5 against the Boston Celtics in the ECF's because of Brandon Bass, you're mistaken. Orlando won those games because of monster performances from Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard, not due to minor contributions from Bass. Sorry.

magicman775
magicman775

its funny you say that about bass when the only games we won in the ecf is when bass got real minutes. also with more minutes bass would learn the def. he just needs to play.

McLean
McLean

Diggin the Mailbox Eddy!!!

fromCanada
fromCanada

@yermi

Hahaha I laughed so hard at imagining Wince's reaction. It would only be topped by the simultaneous shouts of dismay by 30 odd million canadians.

yermi
yermi

Magic got to get rid of Carter, and i got an idea how:
trade Vince + Gortat to Toronto for C. Bosh and Calderon.

Both teams will gain from this trade.
Bosh could move Rashard Lewis to be a small forward where he is more comfortable. Calderon can play with Nelson or be a good back up.
Gortat would be great starting next the Italian guy from Toronto.

and i would pay a million dollars to see Vince's reaction when he is told that he was traded to Toronto....

JoeybarZ
JoeybarZ

Great article eddy... Who do u feel would be a good, better yet probable, perimeter guy we might seek... Play Otis Smith for a second... Interested in your opinion