Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 187

Dec 18

Chatter surrounding Gilbert Arenas grows louder

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Via Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

The [Orlando] Magic and Wizards are discussing a blockbuster trade that would send Gilbert Arenas to Orlando, a person with knowledge of the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com Friday.

The person characterized the talks as “serious,” with definite interest on both sides to make the deal happen.

CBSSports.com reported in October that Orlando and Washington discussed an Arenas trade over the summer, but at the time, it was scuttled by financial concerns on the Magic’s part. Orlando has a league-high $94 million payroll, and Arenas — owned $62 million over the next three seasons — is coming off two injury-plagued seasons and a 50-game suspension for bringing firearms to the Wizards’ locker room last season. As previously noted, Magic GM Otis Smith has a strong relationship with Arenas and has always been the most likely executive in the league to take another chance on him.

With news spreading like wild fire that the addition of Gilbert Arenas to the Orlando Magic is imminent, what does it all mean?

It could very well signal the end of an era for the Magic.

For two seasons, Orlando played the role of an elite team and title contender. Yes, the Magic were a disappointment in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics but it doesn’t change the fact that they were two games away from returning to the NBA Finals a year after making an appearance in 2009 when they faced off versus the Los Angeles Lakers. Orlando had their flaws but it took a specific set of circumstances for them to be exploited, and even then they almost overcame those scenarios.

Now?

Unfortunately for the Magic, their rivals in the Eastern Conference — the Miami Heat and Celtics — have improved while they’ve regressed. Head coach Stan Van Gundy has harped on the defense taking a nosedive during Orlando’s road trip to the West Coast recently, but the offense has been struggling. Roughly one-third of the regular season has been completed, yet the Magic rank 14th in offensive efficiency. As such, Orlando’s efficiency differential is +5.8, which is good but not as great as other teams in the NBA.

Hence the Arenas rumors.

The line of thinking for the Magic is that they have to find someone, anyone, that can jumpstart an offense that’s become stagnant. For all the talk about Dwight Howard‘s growth offensively, he’s not getting enough support on the perimeter and it’s forcing general manager Otis Smith to make a change and fix the problem. No, Arenas may not be the best solution for Smith but it’s becoming increasingly clear that he has no choice. Acquiring Carmelo Anthony or Chris Paul aren’t realistic options, which makes Arenas one of the few choices out there.

Is Arenas enough to make a difference for Orlando?

The numbers say probably not but again, the Magic have put themselves in a situation where they have to gamble and go all-in.

If this is the best hand that Smith can muster up, so be it.

It just might mean championship aspirations become nothing more than a pipedream.

Dec 18

Magic Basketball returns from hiatus again

Once again, sorry for the lack of activity. Last week, I wrapped up my graduate education at Northwestern University. This week, I’ve moved into a new apartment so I’m still in the process of settling into my new digs.

Everything around here should be returning to normal soon enough.

Thanks for your patience.

Dec 15

Sun Sports and Orlando Magic on-air auction benefitting OMYF

AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

Via Fox Sports Florida:

The OMYF has teamed up with Sun Sports/FS Florida to host the second annual On-Air Broadcast Auction during the December 18th Orlando Magic home game (Sun Sports 6:30p). All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation.

Live shots will be shown throughout the game of the auction items and the call center, which will feature Bo Outlaw, Nick Anderson and others taking bids. Sun Sports’ Paul Kennedy is the main host during the auction broadcast. The phone number to call in bids will be visible on-air throughout the game and viewers will received detailed descriptions of the items, see the items on display and hear from Magic executives and OMYF grant recipients, who will speak to the needs of their non-profit organizations and the benefits the auction proceeds will provide.

This is a tremendous opportunity, during the holidays, for Magic fans to bid on and purchase unbelievable items/experiences and have the money directly impact and benefit local non-profit organizations through the OMYF.

Click after the jump to see the list of one-of-a-kind items that will be auctioned.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 15

Dwight Howard blocks shots and headbands

Dec 15

StubHub Ticket Giveaway: Enter for a chance to watch the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers at Amway Center on December 18

NBAE/Getty Images

Today, I’m proud to announce a new partnership between StubHub and Magic Basketball. In short, MBN will occasionally give away free tickets to upcoming Orlando Magic home games with StubHub serving as the provider. How do you enter for a chance to win Magic tickets?

Easy.

Answer a trivia question.

The rules are simple:

  • If you’re able to attend the game, you’re more than welcome to submit your answer in the comments section.
  • Please do not answer more than once or add irrelevant commentary to your submission.
  • Two tickets will be given away, which means you can bring a second person.
  • In future instances, readers will be given 24 hours to submit their answers before a winner is announced. The winner will be determined by random drawing and contacted by e-mail (please make sure to submit a valid e-mail address).

Due to extenuating circumstances for today’s contest, everyone has until 3:30 EST to post a response. That’s six hours from now.

To make things easy the first time, all you have to do is reply to this post.

Enjoy!

Dec 15

Second Look: Denver Nuggets 111, Orlando Magic 94

AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Frustration oozed throughout the Orlando Magic locker room late Tuesday night. Stan Van Gundy dressed down his players after the final buzzer. Later, Jameer Nelson sat at his locker, read the postgame box score, crumpled up the piece of paper and threw it to the ground. In a postgame interview, Dwight Howard all but called out Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis by name for their terrible defense against Carmelo Anthony. The Orlando Magic had just concluded their dreadful West Coast road trip with a 111-94 loss to the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. The Magic performed just as poorly as they did in Portland, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. […] The Magic have lost five of their last six games, a freefall that has prompted their fans to call for a major trade and the players themselves unable to explain why their defensive intensity has dropped off so badly.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Short-handed because of injuries at absolutely the worst position to have them on this night and dragging at the end of a long and frustrating roadtrip, the Orlando Magic suffered a fourth-quarter meltdown on Tuesday that likely could be felt from the Rocky Mountains all the way back to Florida. And when Denver’s 111-94 demolition of Orlando was complete late Tuesday night, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was irate and threatening changes, Jameer Nelson wadded up a stat sheet and fired it across the floor and disgusted star Dwight Howard fumed over his team’s defensive lapses and talked of just wanting to get back home again. When Orlando got outscored 32-16 in the final period – getting shredded defensively and coming unglued offensively — it undermined a career night from shooting guard J.J. Redick and a solid effort through three quarters by the team. And it left a Magic team that has openly talked about being on a championship-or-bust mission since training camp somewhat in shambles as far as their confidence is concerned. Orlando (16-9) limped back to its plane for Florida following a disappointing 1-3 record on this four-game, seven-day roadtrip. Orlando lost in Portland, Utah and Denver, but did enough to beat the Clippers in Los Angeles on Sunday night.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Against a tough home team like Denver–which is now 11-1 at Pepsi Center–opponents already have a small margin for error. Orlando’s margin shrunk when it learned it would not have the services of [Mickael] Pietrus or [Quentin] Richardson this evening. Overcoming those deficits with only an eight-man rotation–Malik Allen and Chris Duhon did not play–would have been a tall task. The Magic’s performance through the first 36 minutes suggested they were up to it, but the Nuggets doubled them up, 32-16, in the fourth quarter. To fall so hard like that must sting, especially when Redick’s remarkable five-point play gave the Magic a one-point lead with 11:02 remaining. Smith senselessly fouled Redick on a made three-point basket, then earned a technical foul for protesting non-call that occurred on Denver’s previous possession. Redick drained both foul shots to complete the rare feat, but for the rest of the game, Denver stole the show, to the tune of 29-11.”
  • Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post: “The postgame commotion Tuesday night had a something’s-going-down feel to it. After the news conferences, Nuggets executives Masai Ujiri and Josh Kroenke bounced from room to room in the bowels of the Pepsi Center searching for their star player. Carmelo Anthony emerged from an interview room with NBATV, and the trio disappeared into the Nuggets’ training room. […] The vultures are circling. Anthony played as well as he has all season long in the Nuggets’ 111-94 win over Orlando, the team’s 10th straight home victory. His 35 points and 11 rebounds represented his sixth double- double of the season. And all anyone wondered is if his next double-double will come in a different uniform. […] While the Nuggets were beating Orlando, the New Jersey Nets were making moves believed to be in anticipation of putting together a package strong enough to make another run at the Nuggets star. The impending three-team trade between themselves, Houston and the L.A. Lakers, which can be made official today, features draft picks that may be enticing to a Nuggets organization faced with the realization that Anthony is going to have to be moved or it risks losing him for nothing at the end of the season.”

Dec 14

Recap: Denver Nuggets 111, Orlando Magic 94

AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

BOX SCORE

When the Orlando Magic embarked on their four-game road trip to the West Coast, it was said that the players would learn a lot about themselves and as a whole, they’d figure out where they stand vis-a-vis the rest of the NBA elite — the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat, the Boston Celtics, and the San Antonio Spurs.

After the Magic went 1-3 against the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, and Denver Nuggets, one thing has become clear.

Orlando isn’t an elite team or a championship contender.

Something is missing from the roster. Against the Blazers, the Magic couldn’t score if their lives depended on it. Against the Jazz, it was a lack of defense. Against the Clippers, after a brilliant first quarter against one of the worst teams in the league, complacency and consistency cropped up as ever-too-familiar issues.

Against the Nuggets? There was little to no defense present from Orlando but more importantly, there was a lack of mental toughness and fight that has plagued the roster since the season began. When the going got tough in the fourth quarter, the Magic wilted and displayed a body language that emitted negativity.

Denver was able to defeat Orlando by the score of 111-94 in a game that was close for 42 minutes. After Vince Carter made a three-pointer at the 6:05 mark of the fourth quarter to pull the Magic’s deficit to one point at 92-91, the Nuggets went on a 19-3 run to turn a competitive game into a blowout. Carmelo Anthony led the way for Denver, putting up 35 points and 11 rebounds. Anthony got plenty of support from his supporting cast, with five players for the Nuggets scoring in double-figures. Orlando was led by J.J. Redick, who had a career-high 29 points on 12 shots — an excellent performance. Dwight Howard finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks. Carter chipped in with 18 points. Unfortunately for the Magic, it was a three-man show offensively between Redick, Howard, and Carter. No one else for Orlando was able to make a significant impact on the game, at least on the offensive side of the ball. The defense?

That was a different story altogether.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 14

Preview: Orlando Magic at Denver Nuggets

9:00 EST | NBA TV
16-8 @ 14-9
Pythagorean Record: 15-6 Pythagorean Record: 13-10
Pace: 91.1 (19th) Pace: 96.5 (2nd)
Offensive Rating: 106.5 (14th) Offensive Rating: 110.5 (6th)
Defensive Rating: 100.9 (3rd) Defensive Rating: 108.6 (18th)
Pepsi Center | First meeting this season

Dec 14

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The next time the [Orlando] Magic see the Denver Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony will be wearing a New York Knicks uniform — or so the story goes. Could he be wearing a Magic jersey? Or another team’s gear? […] Anthony faces the Magic tonight and likely won’t be with the Nuggets for the March rematch in Orlando. Or maybe he will. Approach any trade rumor with care. The Magic haven’t been in the rumor mill for ‘Melo’s services. But I’ve talked to their execs, and they aren’t backing away from trying to swing a deal, whether it’s for Melo, Chris Paul, Tayshaun Prince, Gilbert Arenas, Monta Ellis, Fill-In-The-Blank. Sam Smith of the Chicago Bulls’ website just tossed out a trade scenario involving Memphis and Orlando — involving Vince Carter and Brandon Bass and Zach Randolph and O.J. Mayo. Trade talk is bound to pick up because this summer’s players signed as free agents can be dealt starting Wednesday.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy jokingly suggests the Denver Nuggets should sit Carmelo Anthony in tonight’s game: “Well, I’m just concerned about his knee injury for the long term, and I really think more rest is what’s needed for him.”
  • Brandon Bass will start at power forward against the Nuggets.
  • Chauncey Billups may not play against the Orlando Magic later this evening.
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “The point here is that, from at least one standpoint, the current Magic team that seems like such a letdown to many of its fans is actually right on track with the 2008/09 squad, which is so beloved. Scoring margin isn’t everything, of course. I realize that. But the 2009 team went from “pretty good” to “freaking fantastic” once its three-point shooting corrected itself and the defense took it to antother gear, contending for a championship despite subbing the production of two mediocre point guards (Rafer Alston and Anthony Johnson) for one All-Star one (Jameer Nelson) in mid-February. There’s no reason why the current team can’t make a similar advance as the season goes along.”
  • Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated: “A team with the best defender on the planet always merits respect. But with more than one-quarter of the season gone, a trademark of the Magic’s past success, three-point accuracy, is still missing. In the last six games, Orlando hasn’t shot better than 36 percent from behind the arc, and it ranks 17th overall at 35.5 percent. Then there is the team’s recent post-intermission blues: The Magic have outscored their opponents in just one of the past 10 second-half quarters over the last five games. After a relatively light week — at Denver on Tuesday and home against the Sixers on Saturday — the schedule ratchets up with a trip to Atlanta and home games against Dallas, San Antonio and Boston.”
  • No more dunk contests for Dwight Howard.
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward kicks around trade ideas: “The wing is crowded in Orlando, with [Quentin] Richardson, Vince Carter, [J.J.] Redick and Mickael Pietrus all fighting for minutes (and Rashard Lewis getting more time at small forward), and it wouldn’t shock me if the Magic somehow addressed the redundancy.”
  • Eric Freeman of Ball Don’t Lie: “Howard’s path from dunk contest fun to retirement is a familiar one for superstars. Players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter stopped participating in dunk contests to focus on being serious. It didn’t work for all of them — VC will always be mostly fondly remembered for his 2000 victory in Oakland — but the best players around trade in dunk contest hardware for championship rings.”
  • Chris Tomasson of NBA FanHouse opines on Rashard Lewis’ struggles offensively this year.

Dec 14

Orlando Magic All-Star Dwight Howard to present $25,000 donation in support of BETA Center program

AP Photo/Gus Ruelas

Via the Orlando Magic:

NBA All-Star Dwight Howard will present $25,000 to the BETA Center for the second consecutive year on Wednesday, December 15. Howard’s gift will be used to support the newly developed “Dwight Howard Learning Center” at BETA. The learning center is a newly designed program that incorporates innovative activities to empower teen moms to achieve academic and vocational success. Services at the center will include tutoring, college preparation, self-esteem building and more. It will also provide funding to cover college application fees and test preparation booklets, instructional materials and other essential program-related supplies.

The BETA Center donation became a reality due to Howard being named the 2009-10 Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award winner. Each year at the Orlando Magic Youth Fund Black Tie and Tennies Charity Gala, the Orlando Magic honors a player who has dedicated his efforts off-the-court for the purpose of enhancing others’ lives. In addition to receiving the award, the player is granted $50,000 from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation to donate to the charity of his choice.

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