Wednesday’s Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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Feb 15

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “There is only one certainty in the Dwight Howard saga. By the NBA trade deadline on March 15, which is now just one month away, the Orlando Magic front office will have made perhaps the most important personnel decision in franchise history. Little has changed in recent weeks. Howard has kept his trade request on the table, and Magic officials continue to sound content to wait until March 1 to reassess their situation. The front office believes there’s no rush to make a decision — that Howard still would be in high demand if General Manager Otis Smith, CEO Alex Martins and Chairman Dan DeVos decide they must trade the six-time All-Star before the deadline. In the meantime, members of the Magic front office hope that they can convince Howard to stay. They figure that winning games, being around teammates and hearing support from fans cannot hurt. Martins is in contact with Howard almost every day. Even the team’s 85-year-old owner, Rich DeVos, has made his sales pitch to Howard. Among other things, DeVos has told Howard that he might never develop as close a connection with a another city’s fans as Howard currently has in Orlando. The Magic have a reason to feel confident. If they keep him beyond the trade deadline, they will be able to offer him one additional year at higher annual raises than any of the other 29 teams. But even that might not be enough.”
  • Shaquille O’Neal: “”Orlando’s come a long way since the ’92 All-Star Game. The nightlife here is fabulous. The real estate has been fabulous. You still have Disney around the corner for you to bring your family. So I think it’s going to be a great event. It’d be good if he could put on a show and get the love and the support from the fans here and win the MVP. Hopefully, he stays, because that arena there is one of the best arenas in the country. If he leaves, it’ll be a travesty.”
  • Head coach Doug Collins talks about tonight’s matchup between the Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers.
  • The field for the 2012 Foot Locker Three-Point Contest in Orlando for All-Star Weekend is set.
  • Chris Bernucca of SheridanHoops.com tabs Magic-Sixers as “tonight’s best game.”
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie comments on O’Neal’s recent quotes about Howard: “Howard has made his fair share of missteps in how he’s handled his frustrations with Orlando, but we’re really hoping Shaq ends this silly and transparent batch of sly digs. It was unfortunate that O’Neal couldn’t work out with Orlando, or Los Angeles towards the end, or Miami once Pat Riley tired of him, or the Suns once Phoenix figured out he was a terrible fit, or Cleveland. It’s unfortunate that he’s keeping the same tone even after retirement.”
  • Justin Kubatko of Basketball-Reference: “It is with great pleasure that I announce the debut of Basketball-Reference.com’s latest and greatest set of research tools: Play Index+. Play Index+ utilizes over ten years of play-by-play data, allowing the user to sift through and summarize millions of plays with just a few clicks of the mouse.”
  • Five trade ideas involving Howard.
  • Three more trade scenarios pairing Howard with a second star for Orlando.
  • O’Neal’s thoughts on Howard’s future are nothing more than ironic.
  • Are the Magic a leading candidate to acquire J.R. Smith?
  • Eric Pincus of HOOPSWORLD: “While the Magic already have two shooting guards in Jason Richardson and J.J. Redick, they also have the advantage over most suitors with about $4.9 million of their Mid-Level Exception (MLE) still available. Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team cannot use their full MLE to climb to $4 million over the luxury tax. Currently the Magic are under; any investment in Smith would put Orlando above the threshold.”
  • Will Howard be traded at the deadline? NBA scribes chime in.
  • Mark Heisler of SheridanHoops.com: “Still win a lot for team with their issues. In latest, Dwight says he wants ball in crunch time (“Just get on my back. That’s why they call me Superman”). Of course, it would help if Supe made more than 56% of his free throws.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy argues against the assertion that Howard has checked out of games this season.

Eddy Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of Magic Basketball. Follow him on Twitter.

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