Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images
The time has come.
Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images
The time has come.
Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
While those elite free agents prepare for an unmitigated frenzy set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, a certain gentle giant who’s a couple years away from any such courtship is quietly beginning to formulate a plan that he’d like management to execute. And it turns out that Dwight Howard, the most physically gifted big man in basketball, wants to team up with the most physical gifted little guy in basketball: Chris Paul.
On the eve of the most anticipated free-agent signing period since 1996, when Howard was 10 years old, the Magic center has formulated a short list of players he’d like GM Otis Smith to pursue this summer. No. 1 on the list, according to a person with close ties to Orlando management, is Hornets point guard Chris Paul. [...]
The Hornets have a point-guard-in-waiting, Darren Collison, who would mitigate the loss of Paul on the court, if not at the ticket office. Any team in the mix for Paul would have to agree to take back Emeka Okafor, scheduled to make $11.8 million next season and $53.2 million over the next for season. The last three seasons will come under a new collective bargaining agreement, in which owners are seeking to dramatically slash salaries. So the full magnitude of taking on such a contract is unknown at this point – but certainly not pleasant.
But one Western Conference executive called the scenario “plausible,” if nothing else because the Magic have shown themselves to have “deep, deep pockets,” the executive said.
To soften the blow from losing Paul, New Orleans would likely insist – and the Magic would agree – on the inclusion of Jameer Nelson in any such trade. Nelson was exposed as a liability in the Magic’s conference finals loss to the Celtics, but could bridge the gap to Collison with a cap-friendly contract that pays him $8.1 million in each of the next three seasons. The Magic have internally explored including Vince Carter in various trades they’re considering, sources say, but Carter’s $17.5 million salary next season might require a third team to get involved or force the Magic to explore another deal for him.
Another player on Howard’s short list, sources say, is Utah free agent Carlos Boozer, who would allow Howard to flourish as a defensive and rebounding force without having to handle the bulk of the scoring on the block, too. The capped-out Magic, of course, would have to acquire Boozer via a sign-and-trade arrangement. The Jazz might be enticed by Brandon Bass and free agent J.J. Redick, for starters.
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
At the peak of his powers, Arenas was — regarded by many — as a quirky and eccentric player that had many memorable moments on and off court. Unfortunately for Arenas, he made some bad decisions this season when he brought unloaded firearms into the Washington Wizards locker room en lieu of a gambling dispute with teammate Javaris Crittenton, which forced commissioner David Stern to suspend Arenas indefinitely while the NBA investigated the issue. Eventually, Arenas was suspended for the rest of the year by Stern and sentenced to two years probation, in addition to serving 30 days in a halfway house (he was released on May 7).
With Arenas looking to reboot his career, there have been rumors circulating the internet that general manager Otis Smith might look to acquire him in a trade involving Vince Carter. But according to Michael Lee of The Washington Post in a report on Thursday, “the talks didn’t get very far” and it appears that the Wizards were the ones to initiate the conversation with the Orlando Magic. Since Smith has history with Arenas, dating back to their days with the Golden State Warriors, it’s easy to conjure up the possibilities of a reunion taking place with the Magic. And given that Carter, for all intents and purposes, is on the trade block, a swap involving him and Arenas seems plausible in theory. Even though a trade with Carter and Arenas would be easy to pull off because of their matching salaries, there’s no question that the move wouldn’t make much sense from Orlando’s perspective because Arenas has four years left on his max contract.
For all of Carter’s faults as a player (can’t question him as a person), one of the main reasons why Smith acquired him last year was because his contract expires this year. Smith has the flexibility, despite Carter’s diminishing value, to tweak and adjust the Magic’s roster as he sees fit. If Smith traded for Arenas, that flexibility would be destroyed. However, let’s ignore the issues of Arenas’ contract for a second.
From a basketball perspective, is Arenas a better fit than Carter?
Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic
Via the Orlando Magic:
Vince Carter appeared at his first Orlando Magic basketball camp on Tuesday, June 29 at the Orlando Sports Center. The week-long camp allows the approximately 250 youth basketball players in attendance the opportunity to learn alongside the eight-time NBA All-Star, Olympic gold medalist and NBA Slam Dunk champion. Highlights of Vince Carter’s 2010 Orlando Magic Basketball Camp include 32 hours of expert camp instruction provided by trainers from the National Basketball Academy, a camp T-shirt, Magic headband, a full-size Magic basketball to take home and an Orlando Magic jersey bag, a ticket to a Magic home game in the brand new Amway Center, a team photo with Carter and special appearances by other Orlando Magic celebrities.
Via the Orlando Magic:
Orlando Magic draft picks Daniel Orton and Stanley Robinson will headline the Magic’s roster at the 2010 AirTran Airways Pro Summer League, the team announced today. The 20-game event, which will run from July 5-9 at the RDV Sportsplex, will feature the Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics and the Charlotte Bobcats.
Due to space limitations, the event is not open to the public and will be open only to the media and professional team/league personnel. Games will begin at 1 p.m. from July 5-8, and at 8 a.m. on July 9. Fans can follow the action, get box scores, game recaps and cumulative statistics by visiting www.orlandomagic.com.
The Orlando Magic’s roster and a complete game schedule for the 2010 AirTran Airways Pro Summer League is listed below. Please note, the schedule of games on Monday, July 5 and Tuesday, July 6 have changed since the schedule was first released.
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Orlando Magic starting small forward Matt Barnes‘ first preference as a free agent would be to try to win a title without needing to pack for another move. But if he doesn’t re-sign with the Magic, Barnes said Monday that he believes there are options for him — with other contenders. [...]
Barnes said he also has heard that the Magic perhaps are looking to swing a deal for a prime free agent. Shooting guard Vince Carter, reserve center Marcin Gortat and back-up small forward Mickael Pietrus have been among the names mentioned in trade scuttlebutt. [...]
Barnes told the Sentinel he also would be open to coming off the bench if the Magic make a trade for a power forward, a move that might shift Rashard Lewis back to his natural position at small forward.
Matt Barnes has said many times throughout the season that he’d like to return to the Orlando Magic and continue the chase for a championship with Dwight Howard and company. In that regard, Barnes has made his intentions clear. By the way, it’s curious to note that Barnes stated he would be willing to come off the bench if the Magic acquired a premiere power forward, presumably in a sign-and-trade, and moved Rashard Lewis to small forward. With Barnes, however, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he would be willing to be a reserve for Orlando, given that he’s proven time and again that he’s a consummate team player and wants to win at all costs.
The issue with Barnes’ situation is that he wants a raise, which he deserves, even though he fizzled out in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics and J.J. Redick emerged as a consistent threat for the Magic … to the point that head coach Stan Van Gundy was forced to find room for him on the floor. Yes, there were times when Barnes was the odd-man out in the lineup as Vince Carter slid over to the small forward position to accommodate Redick at shooting guard but it’s important to note Barnes’ body of work for the year and not focus too much on a bad series. In any case, where will the cash come from for Barnes?
Let’s presume, just for a second, that Orlando matches Redick’s offer sheet from another team like they did last year with Marcin Gortat. Because the Magic are over the salary cap, they would be able to offer Barnes either all or a portion of the mid-level exception. Even if Redick is offered the mid-level exception elsewhere, Orlando isn’t making the offer per se. In other words, the Magic are still able to use their own mid-level exception. It’s, admittedly, a confusing process. Remember, Orlando split up the mid-level exception to sign Brandon Bass ($4 million) and Barnes ($1.6 million) last season while retaining Gortat, even though he was offered the mid-level exception from the Dallas Mavericks. That is allowed by the current NBA collective bargaining agreement. Given that Barnes has stated repeatedly that he wants a raise and it’s assumed he wants a few million dollars, it appears that the Magic have the resources to bring him back if they choose to do so.
It comes down to money.