- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Paul gave New Orleans a hint last summer when he floated a trial balloon, basically trying to nudge the Hornets into dealing him. This time, Paul and his agent apparently aren’t wasting any time flying balloons, alerting the Hornets that he won’t sign an extension and they should get what they can for him now. The Magic are in the same place with Dwight Howard, except that Howard, through agent Dan Fegan, hasn’t declared his intentions — at least publicly. For all we know, though, the Magic might be trying to trade Howard right now. As we’ve written before, Howard needs to declare because the Magic will not go through the season gambling that he’ll return if he walks as a free agent. I’d have more respect for Howard if he did what, reportedly, Paul is doing. He owes them that.”
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel responds to the idea that the Orlando Magic could risk everything they have to acquire Chris Paul in a trade and pair him with Dwight Howard for a season.
- Magic players are happy to be back in the gym.
- Here’s the latest on Howard’s contract scenarios: “Plays the entire season in Orlando, opts out and ends up elsewhere (either by signing as a free agent or through a sign-and-trade): $80.5 million for 4 years. Gets traded in February, opts out, then re-signs with the team that acquired him: $110.8 million for 5 years.”
- With the return of StatsCube, John Schuhmann of NBA.com breaks down the numbers and sheds light on the disaster that was Gilbert Arenas last season: “Of the 181 players who attempted at least 500 shots last season, only one (Jason Kidd) had a worse field goal percentage than Arenas, who connected on 36.6 percent of his shots. And that number is aided by the 39.4 percent that Arenas shot before he was traded. He made a putrid 34.4 percent of his shots with the Magic. Arenas shot poorly from both near and far. Of the 236 players who attempted at least 100 shots from the restricted area, he ranked 234th at 48.6 percent. And of the 167 players who attempted at least 100 3-pointers, he ranked 157th at 29.7 percent.”
- Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “My reading of the new rules is that Orlando and New Orleans can’t risk their stars playing this out and getting to free agency. If they do, there will be considerable angst and even more considerable risk that their stars will leave and they’ll get nothing in return. One more thing, while we’re on the subject: The Magic and Hornets have the benefit of a shortened season, which would make the short-term ramifications of a blow-it-up-and-start-over trade fairly fleeting. Plus, cap space in a better free-agent market next summer and a superb draft could speed the reloading process.”
- Should the New York Knicks be pursuing Howard instead of Paul?
- Mark your calendars: the Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder will be playing on Christmas Day.