Tuesday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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Jun 22

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Sam Amick of NBA FanHouse: “It’s no surprise the Orlando Magic are looking to upgrade their roster. Center Dwight Howard is the type of dynamic, unique talent that sparks championship visions, yet the group that won the Eastern Conference championship in 2009 watched the NBA Finals from home this time around after being beaten by Boston in six games for the latest Eastern Conference crown. And if their latest trade inquiry is any indication, Orlando is looking to upgrade its point guard position. According to a league source, the Magic are among the teams that recently inquired about New Orleans point guard Chris Paul. While it’s not known what the Magic would be willing to offer, the mere inquiry is a reflection of the organizational thinking as they move forward with Howard as the centerpiece and Jameer Nelson running the show.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith said this afternoon that the Magic have not inquired about Chris Paul’s availability in a potential trade with the New Orleans Hornets. Early Tuesday, the website FanHouse, citing an unnamed league source, reported that the Magic were among a group of teams that had asked about Paul. Asked minutes ago by the Orlando Sentinel whether the Magic made such an inquiry, Smith answered flatly, ‘Nope.’ ”
  • Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse: “The Orlando Magic’s preliminary inquiry into the availability of point guard Chris Paul involved a discussion that included a trade of both starting guards Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson to New Orleans. The Magic, as part of the early discussion, would receive both Paul and small forward James Posey, according to a second NBA source that confirmed the original FanHouse story by Sam Amick involving the two teams. Although Paul clearly is the best player in the talks, the Hornets are interested in reducing future salary obligations. The team is in the midst of an ownership sale/transfer that has been stalled by the debt obligations that the new owner would incur. [...] Although Carter is past his prime, he is attractive because he has only one year remaining on his contract, worth $17.7 million. It would allow the Hornets to drop below the salary cap next summer. Nelson, an All-Star point guard two seasons ago, has three years remaining at $6.7, $7.3 and $7.8 million, making less than half of Paul’s salary.”
  • To clarify, the three previous links are in chronological order.
  • Is the Jameer Nelson debate worth discussing?
  • Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports: “It’s hard to imagine the Hornets agreeing to move their franchise star for much, if anything, short of an All-Star, a starter and a high draft pick.”
  • On the other hand, Gilbert Arenas would be a poor fit for the Orlando Magic according to George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Beyond money matters, there are other issues to consider that would make me very, very hesitant to pull off this deal. Arenas isn’t a true off-guard. There are a lot of good things to like about him: He can create shots, is a sound perimeter threat, and can drive to the basket. But he needs the ball in his hands to create shots. It would be impossible for him to co-exist with Jameer Nelson. And ditching Nelson would be a one heck of a risky makeover for a team that has been in the Final Four mix the last two NBA seasons. So why does some speculation persist? Smith and Arenas go back to their days at Golden State in the early 2000s. Smith worked in the Warriors’ front office as executive director of basketball operations and Arenas was the team’s second-round pick. When Arenas was arrested on a gun felony charge earlier this season, Smith reached out to offer guidance.”
  • Eric Freeman of The Baseline projects that the Magic will select Armon Johnson, a point guard from Nevada, with the No. 29 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. It doesn’t appear, however, that Johnson would be a good fit, given that he shot 23.9 percent from three-point range this season.
  • Tzvi Twersky of SLAM ONLINE with a must-read profile on Jason Williams: “In one of the most memorable crosses ever, Williams, a rookie, went between his legs and followed it with a swift switching of the ball from left to right near the three-point line, losing Gary “The Glove” Payton, arguably the best defensive guard in the League at the time, before finishing high off the glass over a 6-9 Detlef Schrempf. Dwight Howard was 12 years old when Williams, his current teammate, was selected seventh overall in the ’98 Draft, and just 13 when Jason shook Payton. [...] Webber played with a 23-year-old Williams. Howard plays with the 34-year-old version. Hubie Brown coached him in between, when Williams was in his late 20s. Over the course of their time together with the Grizzlies, Brown came to understand his point guard in a way few others did. Where most saw “White Chocolate,” a dazzling dribbler and passer, the coach saw a cerebral player who simply loved the game.”
  • J.J. Redick is ranked 20th on Chris Mannix’s free agent list at Sports Illustrated.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk provides his thoughts on the Chris Paul-to-Orlando rumor: “This shows Orlando is thinking the Jameer Nelson/Dwight Howard combo many not be the answer, and if they have to make changes it is not Howard that has to go. Point guard was actually the weakest position statistically on the Magic last year, for example look at PER generated and PER against (not a perfect measure, but one that gives you some idea). Jason Williams coming off the bench was part of that issue, but it was also with Nelson. Nelson was just a +1.5 per 48 minutes on the court this season, a number well below Howard (+10.8) or even Vince Carter (+6.9). Simply, the Magic were not that much better than their opponents with the shoot-first point guard Nelson at the helm. [...] This may have been just a one-time shot in the dark to ask about Paul. Or, it may be part of a plan we see unfold over the summer.”
  • Would Greivis Vasquez be a worthy first round draft pick for the Magic? Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post thinks so: “Vasquez would indeed be a risky pick, especially considering the dubious history of just about every tall point guard to enter the league since Johnson; the closest anyone’s come to succeeding is Shaun Livingston, who’s had to reinvent himself as a floor-bound distributor after a horrific knee injury robbed him of his athleticism and set him back three years. Incidentally, Livingston will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and might be worth a look. In any case, this closer look at Vasquez has certainly piqued me interest, and he might make sense for the Magic if he’s around when they’re on the clock, and depending on who else is available. By the looks of things, the Magic are strongly leaning toward drafting a wing player instead. But if they go with a point guard so late in the first round, they could do far worse than to select Vasquez, whose offensive strengths blend nicely with the Magic’s.”
  • Chad Ford of ESPN Insider thinks Orlando could select Darington Hobson in the draft: “The Magic haven’t worked out many players. Each year they pick a small handful of prospects they like and then grab from there. Of the group they’ve had in, Crawford and Ebanks are off the board. Of the group left, Hobson makes a lot of sense. His playmaking ability and versatility remind some scouts of Turkoglu. The Magic missed that this season.”
  • Fran Fraschilla of ESPN Insider categorizes a number of prospects that can fill niches in the NBA — shooters, energy guys, and big men. For example, Quincy Pondexter is an energy guy: “This is another one of those guys without a true NBA position, but he does enough of the little things well that he’ll have a steady job in the league for a while. He gets offensive rebounds at a high rate, gets himself to the foul line often and plays mistake-free basketball. He’ll be a nice fit for a playoff-level team at the bottom of the first round.”
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