Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 208

Aug 19

Additional Commentary on Carmelo Anthony

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Via John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com:

After seeing what transpired in Miami this summer, of course anything can happen in the NBA. But acquiring superstars isn’t easy and to get one you usually must pay a heavy price.

For example, for the [Orlando] Magic to pull off a blockbuster and acquire Anthony it would also mean they likely would have to assume other undesirable contracts. Losing Melo would mean Denver would be starting over, so the Nuggets might also be looking to unload Chauncey Billups ($27.3 million still owed), Nene ($22.9 million still owed) or Kenyon Martin ($16.5 million still owed).

The Magic could trade Vince Carter ($17.3 million) straight up for Anthony ($17.1 million), but it assuredly wouldn’t be that easy. While Orlando holds the team option on the final year of Carter’s contract, few know that there is a $4 million penalty that Carter will get if a team buys him out. Orlando would likely have to throw $3 million (the most allowed by NBA rules) into any trade to make the transaction work.

And for all of his flash, Anthony does have his flaws. He’s an incredible scorer, but he would be taking more shots away from Dwight Howard. And defense and rebounding are but rumors with Anthony. If the Magic could land him without sacrificing too much it would be a no-brainer. But trades of this magnitude are rarely that easy.

It bears repeating that the odds of the Orlando Magic acquiring Carmelo Anthony are slim to none. Even though Anthony, indeed, has leverage in terms of where he wants to go, the Denver Nuggets are still the team that has the pull the trigger. And with the dismissal of Mark Warkentien, vice president of basketball operations, who knows how long it’ll take for the Nuggets to find a suitable replacement. Time will tell.

Oh, but there’s more.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 18

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “I think Miami’s moves have absolutely lit a fire under players all around the NBA, and more specifically ones in Orlando. Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, [J.J.] Redick and others have already pointed out that every summer drill and track session is done with Miami in mind. It’s absolutely on this season between the Magic and the Heat. Those four regular-season games will be emotionally charged and likely tune-ups for the Eastern Conference Finals. One more thought to consider: Orlando’s two strongest positions (center with Dwight Howard and point guard with [Jameer] Nelson) are Miami’s two weakest spots. At the end of the day, Miami will still be stuck using Joel Anthony against Howard and Mario Chalmers against Nelson. That could be just enough of an advantage for the Magic to nullify Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and James.
  • Color me skeptical about that last comment.
  • A look back at Dwight Howard’s time spent in India: “It took the Summer of 2010 for the NBA to once again to make its massive presence felt on the Indian shores, and that presence came in the form name of Dwight Howard. Suddenly, ‘Superman’ became sort of the flavor of the month amongst the basketball circles in India, and for a country full of many, many flavors and masalas, he came in as a hell of a big deal. Dwight was in India from August 10-14, sandwiching his visit here between a couple of visits to East Asian countries like China and Taiwan. Although the popularity of the NBA popularity in India still has a long way to go to match those other countries, it has been growing rapidly in recent years. [...] Over the past few days, Howard has brought his message of the joys of basketball to India, visiting Bangalore and New Delhi in his tour. India is a country that sorely lacks modern sport infrastructure and facilities, but Howard said that this shouldn’t deter young players from working on improving their athletic ability.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy on the Miami Heat: “If I look at what the Bulls did winning 72 games and I look at the Heat roster, I am going to tell you that the Heat roster is better than any roster that Michael Jordan played with the Bulls. I don’t think that people predicting them breaking the win total and being in the 70s and the whole thing, I don’t think those are expectations that are out of line based on their roster… Dwyane Wade is certainly, in my opinion anyway, as good as he was, is better than Scottie Pippen. Chris Bosh is better than Toni Kukoc. Mike Miller is every bit as good a shooter as (John) Paxson or (Steve) Kerr or anybody they put there. Plus, he’s 6′8″. If you start going down the list, I don’t think there is any question that the roster the Heat have is as talented a roster if not more so as any roster there has ever been in the NBA.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk thinks Van Gundy is engaging in reverse psychology.
  • Where will Chris Paul play in 2013? Orlando could be a possibility: “Naturally, Paul wants to play with a dominant center, and a PG-C tandem of Paul and Dwight Howard would be devastating, perhaps one of the best in league history — just look at what Paul accomplished with Tyson Chandler as his big man in New Orleans. The Hornets are doing all they can to keep Paul happy, but if he still wants out, they’ll have to listen to offers eventually unless they want a disgruntled face of the franchise. The Magic might be able to deliver the best deal out there, a package starting with All-Stars Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter, who has essentially just one year of guaranteed money left on his contract.”
  • Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference takes a look at which offensive rate stats are the most consistent when players change roles on a team. Paine looks at True Shooting Percentage, assist percentage, turnover percentage, free throw rate, and offensive rebound percentage. Here’s what he found: “As far as the correlations themselves go, offensive rebounding % and assist rate seem to be almost completely independent of a player’s role — i.e., if a player has a good assist rate at 15% possession usage, you can basically expect that to be retained even at 25% possession usage, etc. Perhaps it is because those two stats measure tendency as much as ability, although there’s certainly skill being captured in each as well. True shooting % is easily the least consistent stat when a player changes roles, which seems to back up the concept of skill curves. When a player has a high TS% and a low possession %, it may be that his efficiency is inflated by taking relatively easy shots, attempts that comprise a smaller proportion of his shot selection when he is asked to increase his usage. Along the same lines, turnover rate was the 2nd-least consistent offensive rate stat when changing roles, suggesting that not only is shooting % dependent on the player’s usage, but the ability to avoid turnovers is as well. Finally, free throw rate was in the middle of the pack in terms of correlations.”
  • Can intangibles be quantified? Drew Cannon of Basketball Prospectus searches for an answer.

Aug 18

Dwight Howard Having Some Fun in India

Aug 18

Carmelo Anthony and the Orlando Magic

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Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

Via Royce Young of CBSSports.com:

You’re supposed to believe the Orlando Magic haven’t made any inquiries into Carmelo Anthony’s availability. At least that’s what general manager Otis Smith is telling you.

But we all know better. A tier one superstar is potentially on the block and Smith’s team is in the market for an upgrade at small forward. And as Ken Berger reports , the Magic are one of the teams on top of Anthony’s list. Yeah, I’m sure Smith hasn’t at least asked about ‘Melo’s situation. [...]

Targeting Brandon Bass, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus means the Nuggets get a good small forward in return, plus two solid big men, a position Denver has been looking to improve this year. (Denver would need to throw in Renaldo Balkman to make numbers work, but if they’re getting back two bigs, it would need to clear out room in the frontcourt anyway.) Yes, it’s a step down from Anthony, but any time you trade one of the top seven or eight players in the league, it’s going to be hard to get a comparable deal. Actually, scratch that, it’s basically impossible. But Denver’s other option is to let Anthony walk and get NOTHING in return. You know, the LeBron/Bosh exit plan. And teams that could offer really intriguing deals like the Clippers (Chris Kaman and Eric Gordon?) evidently aren’t on Anthony’s radar.

Same song and dance.

First it was Chris Paul, now it’s Carmelo Anthony.

It’s been an interesting off-season for the Orlando Magic, simply because they have been linked in trade rumors to some of the best players in the NBA. Paul is a top five player and the best point guard in the league. Anthony is, admittedly, a notch below in skill and value, but still an All-Star caliber talent. And both players, through various reports in the mainstream media, see the Magic as an attractive destination to ply their trade and join forces with Dwight Howard.

Anthony is the latest high-profile player that wants to take his talents to the City Beautiful.

Should Magic fans expect anything to happen with Anthony? No, but Anthony has something that Paul doesn’t — or didn’t — have. Anthony has leverage in the situation because he’s an expiring contract, and in the midst of deciding whether or not to re-sign with the Denver Nuggets for three years, $65 million. As been pointed out elsewhere, it speaks volumes that Anthony has not signed a new contract with the Nuggets when he’s had plenty of chances to do so already.

What does this mean for Orlando? Not much, other than it needs to be stated that there’s a greater chance, albeit a slim one, that general manager Otis Smith can make a play for Anthony if he chooses to do so. Acquiring a talent like Anthony is always tricky because the stars have to align just right, but there’s one thing that will the Magic as the process moves forward. Anthony, unlike Paul, has a lot of power with the situation.

It’s no secret that Anthony would like to join the New York Knicks if possible, but it’s been reported that Orlando is high on his list as well.

Here we go again.

Aug 17

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “If the speculation that Chris Paul wanted to join the Orlando Magic made Magic fans salivate, just wait until the Carmelo Anthony-to-the-Magic rumors gain momentum. Actually, the process already has begun. [...] Anthony obviously would be a huge upgrade for Orlando offensively at small forward. And he’d be a more reliable go-to guy in the fourth quarter than Vince Carter was last season. Orlando could be an attractive landing spot for Anthony. The Magic already are a title contender and have the game’s best center. And, oh yeah, the fact that Florida doesn’t have a state income tax can’t hurt either. Leon Rose, Anthony’s agent, did not immediately return a phone call from the Orlando Sentinel for comment. Anthony has some leverage to force a trade. He can become a free agent next summer, and he has not accepted the three-year, $65 million extension the Nuggets have offered.”
  • Jameer Nelson is conducting his “Building Magic” program in Philadelphia.
  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel thinks the Orlando Magic shouldn’t let Adonal Foyle go after he announced his retirement: “So how do you miss a guy who has played only played 62 minutes over the last two seasons? The Orlando Magic will no longer have Adonal Foyle on the bench, sitting there in a stylish sports coat and offering tidbits of advice to Dwight Howard. Most people assumed he was a glorified cheerleader, waving imaginary pom-poms for a cool $1.3 million a year. But his value to the team was measured in other ways.”
  • Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com: “[...] unlike the past at this time of year, it’s the NBA that is on the minds of most sports fanatics. There is a profound curiosity that we all have about this upcoming NBA season. People in Orlando are ecstatic about the newly-established and rapidly evolving Sunshine State rivalry. Everywhere I go around Central Florida, it’s all people want to talk about. I recently went to SeaWorld with family and while standing around a bunch of sea lions at the Pacific Point Preserve, the crowd around me starting talking about the Heat-Magic rivalry. Even the seals seemed to be intrigued by the conversation. Everywhere you go, the NBA is at the forefront of discussions.”
  • Dwight Howard likes to block shots.
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Denver Nuggets small forward Carmelo Anthony is but the latest NBA megastar to reportedly wish for a trade to the Orlando Magic. [...] If this line sounds familiar, it should, given the multitude of reports earlier this summer about New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul wanting to force a trade to Orlando. Berger reported parts of that narrative as well. The difference in the two situations, as Josh Robbins points out, is that Anthony has leverage, while Paul does not. Anthony will be a free agent next summer and the Nuggets risk losing him for nothing if they do not deal him before February. Further, the Nuggets are believed to be exploring trade possibilities for Anthony.”
  • Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “Anthony’s hesitation to sign a three-year, $65 million extension with the Nuggets goes beyond his desire to enjoy the major-market exposure and pressure that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade turned down this summer. Melo would accept other destinations as well, and the Magic are believed to be at the top of his list along with the Knicks, according to a person familiar with his strategy.”
  • Why does Carmelo Anthony want to leave the Denver Nuggets?
  • Rob Mahoney of ProBasketballTalk takes a look at Foyle’s impact off the court: “Foyle has long been an important part of the NBPA’s operations, and with negotiations over the terms of a new CBA ongoing, losing an asset like Foyle is a pretty big deal. There are still plenty of ways he can be involved in that process, but losing a direct avenue for Foyle’s knowledge, perspective, and charisma is a loss for the players.”
  • Jameer Nelson is the 11th-best point guard in the NBA, according to Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie: “Nelson is entering his ostensible prime, and if last season’s too-early Eastern Conference finals proved anything, it’s that Nelson needs to put this Magic team on his surgically reconstructed shoulders. He’s never going to be this team’s best player, but a squad’s most important player doesn’t have to be its best player, and you’d think that Nelson can’t help but understand that by now. Maybe I’m being too optimistic for my hopes with him, especially rating him over Kidd, but this is how we roll in summer, before the dyspepsia sets in.”

Aug 17

Longtime Basketball Player and Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame Inductee Adonal Foyle Announces Retirement from NBA

Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

Adonal Foyle, an NBA basketball player with a total of 13 seasons under his belt, announced his retirement from basketball this week. From humble island beginnings, Adonal’s basketball talent was discovered by two Colgate University professors who brought him to the United States and laid the foundation for Foyle’s NBA basketball career spanning both coasts with the Golden State Warriors and the Orlando Magic.

In addition to a noteworthy NBA career, Adonal Foyle’s passion to make a difference has fueled the founding of the Kerosene Lamp Foundation (KLF). Since 2005, KLF has built/refurbished basketball courts in urban areas to provide safe places to play for more than 3,000 youth. KLF’s most recent mentorship program, All-Star Student Athletes, is designed to turn promising young basketball players from Adonal’s native country of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, into successful student-athletes. Foyle was inducted into the Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame for his work with KLF.

“I have loved every minute of the game,” said Foyle. “Retiring is bittersweet as my happiest memories are with the game. I’m looking forward to spending more time on humanitarian issues and mentoring the young basketball players who may need a voice of experience as they embark on their NBA careers.”

Foyle recently completed his third and final season with the Orlando Magic. Prior to that, he spent a decade with the Golden State Warriors, where he began his career as the NBA’s eighth overall draft pick. Foyle holds the Warriors’ all-time record in blocked shots (1,140) and is fifth on their all-time list for offensive rebounds and sixth for defensive rebounds.

Adonal’s education continues beyond the NBA. In addition to plans to support his Kerosene Lamp Foundation, he is finishing up his Masters Degree in Sports Psychology from John F. Kennedy University. Foyle has written a poem to commemorate his love affair with basketball.

It’s official.

Aug 17

Playbook: The Orlando Magic’s 4-Out/1-In Offensive Scheme

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Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The 4-out/1-in offensive scheme.

For three years and counting, head coach Stan Van Gundy has used an alignment (which features Dwight Howard in the post surrounded by four shooters on the perimeter) on offense that has vaulted the Orlando Magic to the elite in the NBA.

The system works, as best exemplified by a regular season winning percentage of .691 (170-76), a trip to the NBA Finals in 2009, three consecutive Southeast Division championships, back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances (one conference title), and more.

Yes, the Magic are still in pursuit of the Larry O’Brien Trophy and the 4-out/1-in schemes have come under fire after the Boston Celtics shut them down in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals but it is what it is. The playoffs are about matchups and things can go either way. For example, even though the Miami Heat have the potential to be a very good team this season, their personnel might be vulnerable to Orlando’s philosophy on offense. It happens.

Some people may be asking, what does the 4-out/1-in scheme look like?

There’s an answer to that question.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 17

Adonal Foyle Retires From the NBA After 13 Seasons

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Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

Adonal Foyle has decided to end his NBA playing career after 13 years.

The 35-year-old center chose to retire after a right-knee injury often prevented him from practicing with the Magic during the 2009-10 season.

“It just never really quite got back to where I could feel like I could keep pushing it and do what I wanted to,” Foyle told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday night. “Basically, I never really got back to that place where I felt like I could make a contribution. My thing has always been that the game has really been too good to me to really be around it if I can’t give anything to it.”

Foyle appeared in 733 regular-season games during his career, which he spent with the Golden State Warriors, the [Orlando] Magic and the Memphis Grizzlies. He averaged 4.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.

Best of luck to Adonal Foyle’s next stage of his life. A class act and great human being.

Make sure to read Foyle’s poem bidding farewell to the game of basketball. Here’s a snippet:

How should I tell thee goodbye?

What can you say about a love affair to rival that of Romeo & Juliet? This is not just some melancholy ode to a hackneyed love of mortals.

I found our love deep in the entrails of the Caribbean Sea. Love that swept me to a land where our embrace became mythical.

You showed me a world that few have dreamt of.

Aug 16

Monday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic announced Monday that they have signed second-round draft pick Stanley Robinson. Team officials would not disclose terms of the contract, but the small forward said he signed a non-guaranteed deal. [...] Robinson’s contract is believed to be worth $473,604 for the 2010-11 season, but for him to start earning that salary, he would have to make the regular-season roster. Non-guaranteed contracts will become guaranteed for the remainder of the season on Jan. 10. Orlando already has 13 players on its roster with guaranteed contracts. Magic President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith has said Robinson will have an opportunity to make the team if he plays well during the preseason.”
  • The Orlando Magic have a new head athletic trainer.
  • Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com: “Some words that describe Marcin Gortat on Saturday: Outstanding, brilliant, dominant and menacing. The Polish Machine erupted for 29 points on 12-of-14 shooting from the field and added seven rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots to catapult Poland (2-2) to a demolishing 93-73 triumph over previously unbeaten Belgium in EuroBasket qualifying action. Even more dazzling for the Orlando Magic’s backup center, he carried out this effort in front of his hometown fans in Lodz, Poland.”
  • General manager Otis Smith speaks out on whether or not Magic rookies Daniel Orton and Stanley Robinson will spend any time in the D-League. Dan Savage of OrlandoMagic.com has the report: “The Magic have used their D-League affiliate the past two seasons as much as I’ve used my winter wardrobe since moving down to Orlando. They haven’t touched it at all. In fact, the last time the Magic made a D-League transaction was when they recalled Marcin Gortat from the Anaheim Arsenal on Dec. 2, 2007. Since that time they’ve been affiliated with three different squads – the Bakersfield Jam, Reno BigHorns and New Mexico Thunderbirds – and haven’t made a single move. But that trend could change this season. With two raw rookies on its current roster – Daniel Orton and Stanley Robinson – Orlando could opt to give its young players some court time with the T-Birds. [...] While Orton, the team’s first round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, would clearly see more game action down in the minors, the organization believes he might be better served battling Dwight Howard and Gortat on a day-to-day basis in practice. Not only would Orton face a higher level of competition, but the sessions would also aid him in picking up Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy’s system.”
  • Learn more about True Shooting Percentage.
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post chimes in on a rumor involving Courtney Lee: “I believe that the Magic are at least intrigued with the idea of bringing Lee, whom coach Stan Van Gundy trusted as the team’s top perimeter defender in 2009, back. I don’t believe even for a second that they’d consider losing Vince Carter or Rashard Lewis to get him, though. Sending Carter to the Rockets in a salary dump makes sense to a degree, but the shooting guard the Magic would want in return is the hyper-efficient Kevin Martin, not Lee, and it’s doubtful that Houston would part with Martin at such a low cost. And as for the Magic trading Lewis? He’s too valuable to this team, though if Ingram’s right, you can count the Rockets among the teams willing to take on the $63 million left on his deal. Remember, they pursued him heavily in 2007 before he ultimately signed with the Magic.”
  • Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated gives Orlando a C for their off-season.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “Stanley Robinson is the kind of guy teams should take a shot at in the second round — no doubt this guy is an NBA-level athlete. He needs more skills and more polish — he needs some coaching and time in the gym — but the foundation is there. The Orlando Magic took him with the next-to-last pick in the draft (N0. 59) and now have signed him to a deal. While the team has not officially disclosed that deal, this is certainly a make-good contract. Meaning he has to make the team in camp, this is not a guarantee.”
  • Dwight Howard talks about India.
  • Despite a disappointing series against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, the Magic performed well against playoff-caliber teams during the regular season.
  • Creative financing in the NBA, brought to you by Sham Sports: “Orlando has a $92 million payroll because the father of creative financing, Otis Smith, can’t creative finance to save his life. The Magic’s ownership just keep cutting him bigger and bigger checks, letting him sign and retain whoever he wants and whatever the cost is. It’s kind of ludicrous, yet such generosity has allowed the Magic to assemble a competitive team, more with financial muscle than craft. (If you’re a Magic fan who doesn’t thank ownership every day for this, there’s something wrong with you. Organisations win championships.) However, is there a limit to this spending? By matching Chicago’s offer sheet to J.J. Redick, Orlando will be CTCing for $15 million this year just on Redick, after the luxury tax and signing bonus are taken into account; all that for a backup shooting guard. Was that the final straw? If it wasn’t, perhaps it should have been.”

Aug 16

23 Made Three-Pointers In a Game is a Lot, And Still a Record

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