Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 198

Dec 23

Sneak Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic

AP Photo/David Goldman

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The person who now wears No. 15 for the Orlando Magic looks and sounds just like the guy who wore No. 15 during the team’s run to the 2009 NBA Finals. Same goatee. Same smile. Same accent. But which Hedo Turkoglu did the Magic receive in their recent blockbuster trade with the Phoenix Suns? Is he the same playmaker, deft ball-handler and clutch shooter who helped spark Orlando to the Eastern Conference title a year-and-a-half ago? Or is he the guy who has struggled since then with the Toronto Raptors and the Suns? […] So far, though, the jury’s out. On one hand, he reeled off eight assists in the Magic’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks the other night. On the other hand, in that same game, he also botched a fastbreak dunk attempt when he didn’t elevate high enough and he jammed the ball on the front of the rim. Turkoglu is 31 years old now, an age when many players’ physical skills begin a steady decline. But his game has never been predicated on jumping ability, quickness or sheer strength. Instead, he flourished under coach Stan Van Gundy because Van Gundy utilized Turkoglu’s height advantage and Turkoglu’s ability to make smart decisions on the fly. Magic officials hope that the 6-foot-10 Turkoglu can recapture that old form.”
  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “On Wednesday, for the first time in the Stan Van Gundy era, the Orlando Magic practiced on the day after a back-to-back. Usually when the Magic play games on consecutive days, they take the next day off to allow the players to rest their bodies. Not with the team’s current situation, though. As the Magic continue to integrate newcomers Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark into the system, Van Gundy felt his team needed the practice. It was the first practice the new guys participated in — they played games against Atlanta on Monday and Dallas on Tuesday without even going through as much as a three-man weave together.The new guys were grateful for the practice time.”
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Magic power forward Brandon Bass would love to receive a phone call on Christmas Day. The past, though, tells him not to count on hearing a ring. If Brandon has to pick up his cell and dial the number and be the one to say, “Merry Christmas,” then he will. He’ll do what it takes to reach out and connect with his dad. He’ll stay at it. He’ll work on it. It’s who Brandon is. It’s how he has survived sorrow and mean streets and long odds to make it to the NBA. He can power his way toward the basket, taking two, sometimes three, defenders with him for a dunk and earn the nickname, ‘Little Darryl Dawkins, Dark Chocolate Thunder,’ from teammate Dwight Howard. But when it comes to establishing a relationship with his father, Charles Joseph, he is powerless. A bond with his dad would complete an improbable life’s journey. He’s the missing piece. Bass has gone from living with eight kids in his aunt’s small house in a high-crime Louisiana neighborhood to becoming a multi-millionaire. He finally has found his footing with the Magic after stints in New Orleans and Dallas.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Hedo Turkoglu rested in his own bed Tuesday, met up later with old friends, hung out at his favorite lunch spot and then played before the fans who revered him once upon a time, booed him for a brief period and then showered him again with cheers. Back in Orlando a year-and-a-half after leaving to sign a $50 million free-agent contract with the Toronto Raptors, Turkoglu found out an important life lesson: Change isn’t always a good thing. He hopes that’s something the Magic, his former team and his new team again, believes as well. Turkoglu, who went through his first practice with the Magic on Wednesday following Saturday’s blockbuster trade and games against the Hawks and Mavericks, stressed that he never really wanted to leave Orlando in the first place. Now that he’s back, he couldn’t be happier.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “In his first game with the Washington Wizards since the Orlando Magic traded him for Gilbert Arenas, forward Rashard Lewis struggled. The two-time All-Star shot 4-of-10 from the field, including 0-of-5 on three-pointers, for 8 points in 22 minutes off Washington’s bench. He also added 3 rebounds, an assist, and a blocked shot. Lewis asked to be excused from the Wizards’ first game with him available, a 108-75 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, because he was not mentally prepared to play. Thus, he debuted tonight against the Chicago Bulls instead. As Michael Lee of the Washington Post writes, Wizards coach Flip Saunders says he intends to use Lewis at both forward positions, depending on matchups–something the Magic tried this season to mixed results.”

Dec 22

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Remember all those lofty goals the [Orlando] Magic always had high on their wish list to start a season? Best regular-season record, playoff seeding, home-court advantage. Well, the mission statement has changed dramatically. It’s not that the Magic won’t want to win every game, but there’s truly a bigger picture to evaluate now in the [Stan] Van Gundy era. Right now, after making two blockbuster trades, they are basically in a training-camp mode, just trying to find some cohesion with four new players. And more could be on the way as Orlando desperately needs another big man. The Magic might not have this thing totally squared away until, oh, the February all-star break.”
  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Between the gun incident, the injuries, the injury faking and everything else that happened in Washington, Gilbert Arenas makes it no secret that he’s happy to no longer be with the Wizards. But it’s not just the off-the-court incidents that make him happy to be part of the Orlando Magic. It’s basketball, too. He’s surrounded by a collection of talent he’s never played with before in the NBA, but it’s even more than that. It’s the way the Magic play.”
  • For the most part, Magic fans are energized with the trades that occurred on Saturday.
  • Kevin McHale and Chris Webber, analysts on NBA TV, like the new-look Orlando Magic.
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post has locker room notes and commentary after the Magic’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks in last night’s game. Check it out.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie: “The Orlando Magic clearly need time, space, maybe fewer back-to-backs, and a chance at not playing two pretty good teams before they can get things right again.”
  • Hedo Turkoglu gets blocked by the rim on a dunk attempt.
  • Eric Freeman and Bethlehem Shoals at NBA FanHouse debate the merits of whether or not it makes sense for Gilbert Arenas to pay tribute to Penny Hardaway by wearing No. 1 on his uniform. An excerpt from Shoals: “I don’t think there’s any risk here of Arenas becoming so great in Orlando that he’s the No. 1 retired — and at one point, that seemed the risk with McGrady. But I agree that this doesn’t really do much to keep Penny’s memory out there in public. When players wear No. 23 because of Jordan, they’re referencing a player who everyone still recalls vividly. There are players entering the league now who don’t know how ridiculous pre-surgery Penny was.”
  • Will Arenas honor Hardaway’s number?
  • NBA.com writers debate the Magic’s trades. John Schuhmann chimes in: “As someone who picked them to win the championship, I hope they’re better! There’s no clear explanation for why a team that was so good last season was playing so mediocre this year. If the trade invigorates Gilbert and Hedo, the Magic should be improved offensively, and that’s the area where they’ve really fallen off. The defense will likely suffer, but with Dwight [Howard] in the middle and Stan on the bench, they’re still going to be good on that end. So as long as the new guys play well, they will be better overall.”

Dec 22

A retrospective look at Vince Carter’s time in Orlando

Dec 22

Happy holidays from the Orlando Magic

Via the Orlando Magic

Dec 22

Navigating through murderer’s row

Photo by Fernando Medina

Two games since the Orlando Magic acquired Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu. Two losses.

Losing to the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks is nothing the Magic should be ashamed of, considering head coach Stan Van Gundy is trying to integrate three players on the fly in the middle of the regular season. In fact, Van Gundy is referring to the timeframe right now as training camp. But it’s easy to see why the frustration level is rising for Orlando — losses are piling up. After a 15-4 start to the year, a stomach virus, injuries, and trades have contributed to the Magic losing eight of their last nine games. Now Orlando is 16-12 and tied for fifth in the Eastern Conference with the New York Knicks.

Needless to say, no one saw this coming.

And with the Magic still having to face off against the San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics in the next four days, it’s safe to say that things are going to get worse before they get better.

Orlando is dealing with a murderer’s row schedule at a bad time. It’s not the worst time because the playoffs aren’t here yet. The Magic do have 54 games to right the ship and rest assured, they’re going to need each and every one of them to figure things out.

What once was a stout defense with Dwight Howard as the anchor is in shambles right now as Orlando waits for reinforcements to arrive and rebuild a frontline that is depleted at the moment. Not only that but the Magic are lacking for great, let alone elite, perimeter defenders with the departure of Mickael Pietrus.

General manager Otis Smith is gambling that Van Gundy and Howard are enough to rebuild a top five defense with Arenas, Richardson, and Turkoglu, along with any other newcomers that may be on their way before the trade deadline. If Turkoglu’s stifling defense on Dirk Nowitzki in last night’s game against the Mavericks is any indication, the gamble may pay off but it remains to be seen what happens in that department.

The offense?

It’s a work in progress, but it’s clear that Orlando is going to be a handful offensively when things are clicking on all cylinders. Turkoglu’s synergy with Howard in the pick and roll remains intact, Richardson — as he gets acclimated in the Magic’s offense — poses a dynamic threat on the perimeter, and then there’s Arenas.

Well, Arenas is the wild card. Let’s put it that way. Arenas’ spirits are high, as he seems to be enjoying his new surroundings. But Smith traded for Arenas to produce, and that’s something he expects from him sooner than later. It’ll take some time, though, for Arenas to not only know the right moments to be aggressive on the offensive side of the ball but also how to effectively play with Howard, the type of dominant center he’s never played with before in his career.

That being said, the playmaking is there, the scoring is there, but the defense has some catching up to do. A lot of catching up to do, actually.

With the upcoming schedule, things aren’t going to be easy.

Dec 21

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “While ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, the brother of [Orlando] Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, admits he’s still a bit undecided on the Orlando Magic’s recent overhaul, he’s confident about one thing: this new Magic team ain’t winning it all. ‘I still don’t think they’re a candidate to reach the finals,’ Van Gundy said. ‘Clearly, Boston and Miami are better with their old team and with their new team. It’ll be interesting to see how it works out, though.’ Orlando’s acquisition of Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson was certainly bold and ambitious, he said. But there are too many question marks for him to really get behind this team. Does Hedo Turkoglu have anything left? Does the have enough on the perimeter defensively? And Gilbert Arenas? He’s worthy of his own paragraph.”
  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The left ankle sprain to Malik Allen only accelerates the need to swing a deal for a solid backup big man. They Magic are going to get killed in some games because they don’t match-up well size-wise, especially when [Dwight] Howard isn’t around to clean up any mistakes. General Manager Otis Smith was in Atlanta Monday night to watch the game. Maybe he shouldn’t come back until he has signed a 7-footer.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy has his work cut out for him to integrate Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu seamlessly into the roster for the Orlando Magic.
  • The Magic are learning on the fly.
  • Orlando has an interest in acquiring Ronny Turiaf from the New York Knicks. Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post explains the appeal: “Turiaf, seven years Battie’s junior, has more upside. His high energy and boundless enthusiasm make him a fan-favorite wherever he goes, but understand he’s more than simply a hustle player: he’s productive, too, converting 59.3 percent of his extremely limited shot attempts–he only uses 9.7 percent of the Knicks’ possessions when on the court–and blocking a shot every 14.7 minutes. Further, he’s an exceptional passer out of the high post and consistently ranks among the league’s best big men in that area.”
  • Don’t expect the Knicks to trade Turiaf, however.
  • Gilbert Arenas is a new man. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports has the story: ”Not even a 91-81 loss to the Atlanta Hawks could temper Arenas’ enthusiasm about his trade to the Magic. He leaves behind a franchise in Washington that’s in the throes of a rebuilding project, as well as the memories of a firearms violation that stained his career, not to mention his legal record. In return, he joins a team still intent on challenging for a championship – one that is also run by a general manager whom Arenas considers to be the ‘the only person that actually believed in me.’ ”
  • Orlando will need time to figure everything out when it comes to their new acquisitions and current players jelling together. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated breaks it down: “Orlando needs practice time. Badly. But with four games this week they won’t get much of it and will have to contend with a murderers’ row of games through Christmas. The Magic will host Dallas (Tuesday), San Antonio (Thursday) and Boston (Saturday). Along with Atlanta that’s four talented, cohesive teams Orlando will be up against as they try to incorporate the new players into the system. Each game will undoubtedly draw a lot of attention, but expectations should be ratcheted down; this Magic team will look markedly different than the one playing in March.”
  • Dwight Howard is optimistic about the new-look Magic.
  • General manager Otis Smith is on the lookout for a back-up center.
  • Matt Moore of CBSSports.com: “It should be noted that the Magic didn’t have time for a practice with the new guys before last night’s game. In reality, not even a walk-through. They simply walked out on the floor and tried to play together. When you consider that, it’s a wonder they were even in this game, much less lost by only ten.”
  • Four NBA scouts talked to Sam Amick of NBA FanHouse before Orlando played last night and gave their opinions on Arenas, Turkoglu, and Richardson joining the team. Three of them gave the move a thumbs up in terms of whether or not the Magic improved their championship chances, while one didn’t. Here’s what one scout had to say: “The first thing that struck me is how it’s so rare, maybe unprecedented, that you get three guys of that quality in a trade. That’s what’s so earth-shattering about it, is the level of talent — all of whom have some issues. […] But just the level of talent acquired is what’s so astonishing to me. I think they came out like bandits. I really do.”
  • A look at Turkoglu traveling with the basketball.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie points out the Magic’s issues in their loss to the Atlanta Hawks: “Jason Richardson had no idea where to go, the screen and roll defense stunk, and Gilbert Arenas shot 2-11.”

Dec 21

StubHub Ticket Giveaway: Enter for a chance to watch the Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs at Amway Center on December 23

Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Magic Basketball 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 6:00 PM EST to post a response. That’s six hours from now.

Which player for the Orlando Magic will score the most points in tonight’s game against the Dallas Mavericks?

Enjoy!

Dec 21

Orlando Magic players and coaches celebrate the holidays with the Parramore community

Photo by Fernando Medina

Via John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com:

Orlando’s Patsy Jacob stood back a few feet behind 10-year-old Oskaria Houser and shook her head in delight as her daughter rode up on a shiny, new scooter before tearing into a box of new toys. Christmas was still more than a week away, but Jacob knew that this was going to be a good holiday season because of the good fortune being lavished on her family by the Orlando Magic.

“It’s truly a blessing what they have done for us. The Magic are spectacular the way they are helping these kids,” Jacob said as she watched kids riding new bicycles and scooters around the Magic’s practice court. “It’s a godsend them giving their time and money for something like this. These kids look up to these players. A lot of us already live in a bad community, but with the help of the Magic doing things like this, the kids won’t go astray. The staff at the New Image Center is excellent and with the Orlando Magic helping them they are just the best for these kids.”

The Magic’s players, coaches and staff held a holiday party on Friday for 55 families from the New Image Youth Center in Parramore. The families were first treated to a party outside of the Amway Center with Dwight Howard making a mock music video with kids, Rashard Lewis playing video football games with teenagers, Jameer Nelson doing face-painting and J.J. Redick running the snow cone machine.

The families were then taken inside to the Magic’s practice court where each of the children had a box full of toys, books and clothes waiting for them. And the grand finale was the Magic players riding out new bicycles and scooters for each child.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 20

Reaction roundup

Looking around the web for reaction to the Orlando Magic’s blockbuster trades.

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Actually, the beginning of the end for the [Orlando] Magic as we knew them, came on July 8. That was the night LeBron announced his Decision. That was the night [Otis] Smith knew his team clearly wasn’t good enough to reach the Finals again and, at some point, he needed to try somebody else’s players. That was the night the lights went out in Orlando. If the Celtics’ Big Three set up the Magic for the knockout, the Heat Threesome finished them off. And they still don’t have anybody who can guard James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in the playoffs, although the trades gave Orlando more scoring and some tougher guys. Saturday it became official: LeBron stole the Magic’s future. You’re a mean one, LeGrinch.”
  • Today begins the process for the Orlando Magic to integrate Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu. Head coach Stan Van Gundy expects an adjustment period that’ll last a few weeks.
  • Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel says that general manager Otis Smith is rolling the dice, with hopes that the Magic can win a championship and keep Dwight Howard around: “We don’t know if these trades will work or not, but what we do know is this: The Magic were not going to win anything by standing pat. This team is 16-10, has lost six of its last seven and is 3-6 against opponents with .500 records or better. It was becoming increasingly evident the Magic could not compete for a championship with a slumping Rashard Lewis and an aging Vince Carter in the lineup. In other words, Smith, even though he won’t say it publicly, is symbolically admitting that some of his past moves were mistakes. Two years ago, after the Magic made the NBA Finals with Turkoglu playing a key role, Smith let Turkoglu walk to bring in Carter. Now he is letting Carter walk to bring in Turkoglu. In addition, everybody knew Smith vastly overpaid when he signed Lewis to an exorbitant $118 million deal four years ago. Now Lewis is averaging just 12.2 points per game and has become an average player with a maximum contract. Smith had to do something to stop the bleeding, and so he rolled the dice. To get rid of Lewis’ bloated contract, Smith was forced to take on the bloated contract of Arenas, an immense talent with immense character issues. […Who knows whether these deals will work, but Magic fans had better hope so. Otis Smith’s job depends on it. More frighteningly, so does Dwight Howard’s future in Orlando.”
  • After a 16-9 start to the regular season before losing to the Philadelphia 76ers short-handed on Saturday, Smith and Van Gundy knew that changes had to be made.
  • A Q/A with Arenas.
  • Evan Dunlap shares a lengthy analysis on the Magic’s blockbuster trades. A choice excerpt: “If shot-creation is the Magic’s biggest offensive issue–and that’s a defensible position, I believe–then Arenas certainly fixes it; no one’s ever accused Arenas of lacking aggression. The issue is refining his ability to get shots off, eliminating the bad ones and maximizing the good ones. The fewer off-balance 20-footers he forces up, the better.”
  • Quentin Richardson knows a thing or two about trades.
  • LeBron James offers his take on Turkoglu’s return to the Magic.
  • Arenas’ legacy is on the line, according to Matt Moore of ProBasketballTalk: “He’s gone from a team that fell under frustration due to his injuries, then turmoil due to his locker room behavior, to a contender. A team with an established hierarchy, a coach that drives the cart, and a real chance to make a run at the East. Well, okay, a slight chance to make a run at the East (the big bad wolf is still running the game). Arenas has a chance to change the narrative of his career from ‘the boy who cried ‘Hibachi’ and then faded into a trivia question’ to ‘the man who brought joy to the Amway Center.’ What happens next is up to him.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk gets straight to the point: “In the end there are two wild cards that will determine if the Magic are again contenders, if this trade works out for them. One is Turkoglu. He may well come off the bench with Brandon Bass starting next to Howard, but Hedo is going to get his chance. Except, he had chances in Toronto and Phoenix the last two years and blew those. […] The other wild card is Arenas. He has been injured and just did not look comfortable in Washington, on John Wall’s team. Maybe the new surroundings, a new team with something to really play for, rejuvenates him.”
  • Surprisingly enough, Orlando saves some money by acquiring Arenas, Richardson, and Turkoglu and offer themselves enough financial flexibility to keep tinkering the roster if need be.
  • John Hollinger of ESPN.com: “As for Arenas, he’ll help the backcourt because he’s better than Chris Duhon and will have his moments as a sixth man, but let’s be realistic here. He isn’t better than Jameer Nelson or Richardson, he’s not anywhere near the player he was five years ago, and his laissez-faire attitude to defense is going to put him at odds with coach Stan Van Gundy. I have similar feeling about Turkoglu. While [Mickael] Pietrus has been awful this year and Turk is likely an improvement, we need to nip this revisionist history about his Orlando years in the bud: Turkoglu wasn’t particularly good in his last season in Orlando, save for a glorious Game 7 in Boston, and he’s unlikely to provide more than a small bench upgrade at a very expensive price. The Carter-Richardson swap at shooting guard looks even on paper, but Richardson’s catch-and-shoot 3-point game is tailor-made for Orlando’s system. He’s another player who doesn’t defend much, however, so Van Gundy will have his hands full getting his three new offensive-minded players to play his kind of defense.”
  • J.A. Adande of ESPN.com makes an interesting point: “Another subplot to Saturday’s moves is the way the Magic are now beholden to agent Dan Fegan. Fegan represents Howard and Richardson and has been advising his former client Arenas. Does Fegan want to continue to consolidate power in Orlando and do his best to help Howard succeed there? Or will he take his guys elsewhere, which happened when he had a glut of players in Golden State?”
  • How do the new-look Magic matchup with the Miami Heat?
  • It’s title or bust for Orlando. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports explains: “The message has been delivered to Magic management in a clear way. Want to keep the indestructible franchise star? Want the league’s best center to re-sign for the long run? As the Magic GM tore apart one of the best teams in the NBA, the words hung over his every machination. To keep Dwight Howard, the mandate’s unmistakable: nothing short of a championship.”
  • Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated: “We don’t often see a contender attempt to overhaul its roster in midseason. For several years now the Magic have shown a willingness to spend big money in pursuit of a championship for owner Rich DeVos, who is benefiting from the new revenue streams created by this season’s opening of the 18,500-seat Amway Center in downtown Orlando. It was easy to forget about the Magic while the Lakers and Celtics were deepening their benches after Dwyane Wade had recruited LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami. But now Orlando has declared its intention to create a three-team race in the East. Let’s see if more reinforcements for the frontline are on the way.”
  • Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “People with knowledge of Howard’s thinking said the superstar is on board with Orlando’s moves, with one saying he’s “a big fan” of the changes. But as he grew restless over the summer about the developments in South Florida, and as the Magic were exposed in recent weeks, Howard privately already was beginning to weigh his options. Like the list of stars he wanted to join him in Orlando, he was forming another list: potential suitors for him. Two teams were on it, according to sources: the Knicks and Lakers.
  • Imagine Dwight Howard bolting for the Los Angeles Lakers. Boy, that would be devastating.
  • Smith is a gambling man.
  • Arenas is “ecstatic” not only to join the Magic but to be the sixth man.
  • If it’s not clear by now, Orlando wants to win a championship — by any means necessary.
  • Who are the winners and losers in the trades made by the Magic, Phoenix Suns, and Washington Wizards?
  • New teammates, new team, new number, new city. Everything is new for Arenas.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie: “Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas. There’s a lot of offense in that sentence, and the Magic need offense. But it hardly guarantees them championship contender status again. And it certainly shouldn’t have Dwight Howard counting the days until he can sign his next contract extension.”
  • Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm says that Van Gundy needs to let Orlando go. As in run: “They have to go full-tilt offensive firepower. Their greatest success was 2009, that has to be the model to some significant degree. Yes, Garnett was absent. No, he won’t be this time. But if you aren’t willing to accept that you’re screwed, which you can’t be, the answer is not to try and fight on their turf, it’s to fight on yours. Instead of trying to adapt for Garnett, you ignore the big husked screaming elephant in the room and you fire, and you fire, and you fire again. And if that’s your approach this is a pretty good deal.”

  • Smith earns kudos for shaking the roster up and improving the Magic’s talent pool, but will it be enough to come away with a championship? Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus says “it could go either way.”

  • Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference: “Based on the numbers, one has to conclude (sadly) that the Gilbert Arenas Orlando just acquired is not the same version we saw before his injuries and personal travails. He’s settling for too many jumpers, no longer drawing fouls, no longer avoiding turnovers, no longer scoring efficiently, and consequently he’s not having the same positive impact on his team. As one of my favorite players, I’m rooting for Agent Zero to buck these trends and rediscover his game in Florida — but as it stands now, I’m not sure he can make the kind of difference Orlando is counting on.”

  • No matter what, the Magic gave themselves a better chance at winning a title this year.

  • Scads of writers at ESPN.com wonder if Smith made one trade too many by acquiring Arenas.

  • Eric Freeman from ‘The Works’ at NBA FanHouse: “The Magic pretty much know what they’ll get from Richardson — Arenas is the wild card. In some opinions, that makes this deal a question mark for Orlando, but history suggests that this is the kind of moment in which he excels. Throughout his career, Arenas has been at his best when no one quite knows what to expect from him; he thrives on uncertainty. Now out of Washington and with diminished expecations, perhaps Gil will recapture some of the personality that has made him a must-watch for the past decade. He may not lead the Magic to any titles, but he could act as a trailblazer for a franchise in serious need of a new plan after this weekend’s upheaval. Arenas, for all his eccentricity, has proven several times before that he can be an effective guide in confusing times.”

Dec 20

The “Great Magic Purge”

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

On Saturday, general manager Otis Smith executed his version of “Order 66.”

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