- Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “It’s unlikely Matt Barnes will actually kill you … probably. But the idea sure made for some funny T-Shirts. Little else needs to be said about Barnes’ impact on the basketball court than the fact that those T-shirts, complete with a menacing picture of his face, exist. Barnes was the [Orlando] Magic’s tough guy last season. An antagonist to some of the league’s best players. It was how he contributed even while struggling offensively. Barnes, who opted out of the second year of his contract with the Magic this summer, will play for the Los Angeles Lakers next season. Salary cap issues won’t get in the way of this deal.”
- Make sure to check out Matt Barnes’ top five greatest hits.
- Trey Kerby of Ball Don’t Lie: I don’t know if you guys realize it, but we’re pretty close to entering a new era in the NBA. No, not the superteam era kicked off by the Miami Heat, though that’s happening too. Rather, I’m talking about a Shaquille O’Neal-free NBA for the first time since 1993. That’s pre-Justin Bieber being born, people. It’s kind of like a big deal. [...] It’s hard to even imagine what an NBA without the league’s biggest goofball would be like, but after scoring just a shade more than 600 points last year it wouldn’t be terribly surprising. Shaq’s one remaining skill is being huge, and while he’s very good at that, he doesn’t have a lot left to offer. Some post scoring, sure, but that often comes at the expense of a free-flowing offense. And let’s not even consider defense, since Shaq doesn’t.”
- More on O’Neal’s struggles to land with a team in the NBA.
- Eric Freeman of The Baseline chimes in on Barnes joining the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Beware the perils of cap space. Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated explains: “Over two decades of unrestricted free agency, the results have been recklessly disappointing for teams with major cap space. Shaquille O’Neal remains the only major free agent to win a championship with his new club, having won three championships for the Lakers after signing as a free agent in 1996. Four years after Shaq went to Los Angeles, Orlando thought it would be able to recruit Tim Duncan but wound up instead with Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill, whose injuries prevented the Magic from moving past the first round. Now the Heat hope they have created a dynasty around James, Wade and Bosh; even if it works, they will be the exception to the rule. Free agency rarely works out as planned.”
- Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus looks back at blockbuster trades involving superstars that were busts. At No. 1 is the Magic, when they infamously traded Tracy McGrady to the Houston Rockets and didn’t get much to show for it.
- A look at Dwight Howard‘s poor free-throw shooting.
- Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie thinks Barnes will have “the time of his life” with the Lakers.
- Want to give Barnes a proper send-off? Write a haiku at Orlando Pinstriped Post.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
Free-agent forward Matt Barnes has signed a two-year, $3.6 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The Lakers announced Thursday night Barnes had officially signed the contract. League sources said the deal will pay him $1.7 million next season and give him a player option for $1.9 million in 2011-12.
The Cleveland Cavaliers had guaranteed $7 million over two years with a team option for a third season, but Barnes wanted more guaranteed money to sign with a non-championship contender. Cleveland refused to improve its offer and ultimately was willing to let Barnes go to a lower bidder.
- Adly Santiago of OrlandoMagic.com: “During the offseason many basketball players go on vacation to rest from a grueling regular season. Others spend time working with their charities, while a select few are able to juggle that responsibility along with conducting basketball camps. One of those players is Vince Carter, an eight-time All-Star, Olympic Gold Medalist and NBA Slam Dunk Champion. Since his earlier years as an NBA player in Toronto, Carter has run his basketball academy during the summer to help kids in the community learn how to play basketball and improve their skills. As an Orlando Magic player, Carter now has the opportunity to bring his academy to his hometown of Daytona Beach, where he’s now spending some time with kids in the city that saw him grow as an athlete and become one of the top players in the NBA. As a member of the Magic, he has been able to participate in the organization’s summer camps and help participants develop their skills during a week-long training session with staff and coaches from the National Basketball Academy.”
- If you were the New Orleans Hornets, would you trade Chris Paul?
- Matt Moore of CBSSports.com gives the Orlando Magic a C- for their off-season: “Without any adjustments, and with how much better the East has gotten, it’s hard to argue that the Magic have improved by not subtracting. Chris Duhon might be considered an upgrade over Jason Williams, but we’re talking inches, not miles, and Quentin Richardson brings better three point shooting than Matt Barnes. That may be the best addition the Magic made, adding another shooter that provides an alternative reason not to play Vince Carter when he goes in a hole. But all in all, for a franchise that has spent the money to contend, they simply haven’t done enough to get there.”
- Behold, an uninformed comment from a SLAM ONLINE writer: “Quentin Richardson to Magic. Who cares; he’s not helping. Just like Vince Carter didn’t help. He’s slow and fat now and doesn’t have the shooting touch he once had so I don’t see him as being much help to the Magic.”
- Who is on Paul’s demand list?
- Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider labels the Magic’s signing of Quentin Richardson a steal: “LeBron’s sub-max contract is a no-brainer for this slot, but the two-time MVP was slated to be the best deal of the summer even before free agency began, given the league’s restrictions on player salary. Instead, it’s worth pointing out that the Magic just signed Richardson, a perfect fit for their four-out system, for less than $3 million annually. In a seller’s market in which Wesley Matthews, an undrafted rookie, received a $34 million deal, it’s a veritable bargain. The 30-year-old drilled 142 3-pointers at a 39.7 percent clip last season in Miami, and he should help alleviate the void left by Matt Barnes, who is expected to leave Orlando this summer. It’s a low-risk, solid-reward move that goes largely unnoticed in this free-agency climate. It’s also the type of signing championship contenders need to make.”
- Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “Orlando has already made a run at Paul during the “he’s available/no he isn’t” game the Hornets and their ownership played earlier this summer. They offered Jameer Nelson as the heart of a solid package, but they could also throw in bigs like Brandon Bass or Martin Gortat. The Paul/[Dwight] Howard pick and roll would be the best in the league from day one.”
- More Paul-to-Orlando scenarios: “This one’s been out there for a while. The Magic have the right combination of talent, contracts, and assets to maneuver into position for Paul. They can send back a versatile shooting point guard to help with the transition of Darren Collison. They can send Vince Carter and his expiring contract, along with a significant player at shooting guard to pair with Marcus Thornton. They still have draft picks in the can, have expendable players with talent like Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass. It puts an elite player next to Dwight Howard and matches the upgrade the Heat have made, and potentially gives them an advantage over the Celtics in terms of talent. The question would be if Paul could function inside the unique spacing the Magic employ, which primarily functions on a series of swing passes. There’s no question he’d be dominant in the pick and roll with Howard.”
- Royce Young of CBSSports.com thinks that the Magic have the “ideal” assets to acquire Paul.
- Otis Smith, the 17th-best general manager in the NBA.
- Sean Sweeney of Dime Magazine: “Apparently, Orlando is number two on Paul’s wish list, probably because of the presence of Dwight Howard and their well-established winning foundation. Howard catching lobs from Paul off the screen and roll would be insane. And with Rashard Lewis spotting up on the wing, the point guard would have multiple scoring options. Ironically, for all of the talent the Magic already have, Paul would probably flourish even more individually at Disney. The team is itching for a perimeter playmaker. Howard is obviously not comfortable leading the team offensively and would hurt his wrists from how hard he would be dunking Paul’s lobs.”
- According to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com, Orlando is second on Paul’s list.
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
When Paul was quoted a few weeks ago as saying he’d be open to a trade if the Hornets aren’t committed to building a championship team, it was only a small hint as to the size of the chasm that exists between the franchise and its cornerstone player. Paul, in fact, has put into motion an aggressive exit strategy that will accelerate in the coming weeks, and his clear intention is to be traded before the start of the 2010-11 season, a person with direct knowledge of his plans told CBSSports.com Wednesday. [...]
Paul’s list of preferred destinations consists of the Knicks, Magic and Lakers, and members of his inner circle already have sent word to the Hornets of his desire to be traded to one of those teams, sources say. If Paul has his way, he’s played his last game in a Hornets jersey.
Here we go again.
The Chris Paul rumors won’t go away. That’s not a bad thing, mind you. At any point in time, when the best point guard in the NBA is available and he’s openly willing to play for the Orlando Magic, it’s natural to salivate at the possibilities. However, this story has been beaten to death. At this point, the only “major” advancement in Paul’s saga is that the Magic are listed as a team he’d prefer to play for. And so are the Los Angeles Lakers, which is downright scary to think about. UPDATE: Chris Broussard of ESPN.com says the Lakers are not in the running, but the Dallas Mavericks and the Portland Trail Blazers are.
But now what?
Trade possibilities can be conjured up, sure. However, the New Orleans Hornets have the power to either keep or trade Paul. And if the Hornets do decide to do what was once the unthinkable and move Paul, then the handful of teams that are vying for his services will have to figure out a trade package that will be acceptable for New Orleans, even though — in the grand scheme of things– it probably still won’t be good enough. It’s almost impossible to get fair value for a superstar.
Ultimately, the ball is in the Hornets’ court.
Until something happens, everyone will continue to wait.
Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images
Here’s another installment of the Magic Basketball Mailbag.
Between Gortat, Carter and Bass, who is most likely to get traded this summer and/or by the February deadline?
With the latest Chris Paul rumors hitting the mill, maybe all of them get dealt this summer. It remains to be seen what happens with Paul, but that’s a possibility that hasn’t been ruled out even if it’s unlikely that anything occurs between the Orlando Magic and the New Orleans Hornets.
A more reasonable guess is that Brandon Bass is the player that gets traded, before Vince Carter and Marcin Gortat, prior to the trade deadline. Bass has made it clear that he either wants to play or go elsewhere. And common sense dictates that the Magic need Carter and Gortat much more than they need Bass. Carter and Gortat have defined roles with Orlando, while Bass — for the time being — is third on the depth chart at power forward behind Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson.
- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: Finding am empirical way to evaluate NBA team chemistry may seem an impossible task, but Numeranda may be onto something with its latest post (via Basketball Reference, whose own post on the subject brought this one to my attention) using Adjusted Plus-Minus statistics to evaluate the “chemistry” of a given five-man unit. [...] For starters, that the Magic’s starting group last year of Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Matt Barnes, Rashard Lewis, and Dwight Howard slightly over-achieved, with a 1.06 chemistry rating. More interesting, to me, is the great extent to which replacing Barnes with Mickael Pietrus causes that lineup to under-achieve, with a staggering -9.79 rating.”
- Trey Kerby of Ball Don’t Lie appreciates Rony Seikaly’s musical talents: “As you probably already know, Rony Seikaly has followed up his successful basketball career with a successful career as a DJ. It’s only natural that a 6-foot-11 center who cut his teeth in Miami would return to the party scene behind the wheels of steel. Frankly, nothing could make more sense than that. However, what you might not have known about Rony Seikaly is that he’s not just a DJ. No, he’s way more than that. Now, he’s a recording artist as well. His first single, “Come With Me”, which will be officially released by New Jersey-based Subliminal Records Aug. 3. Head over to Soundcloud to have a listen.”
- Here’s the link to Seikaly’s new single.
- Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated: “[The Orlando Magic] look as if they’ll go into next season with the same team around center Dwight Howard. They’ll hope that another year brings them closer together and enhances their platforms of team defense and ball movement that results in dunks for Howard or three-pointers for everyone else. But each of Miami’s big three figures to win his individual matchup against this team. Will Brandon Bass play a bigger role at power forward? If so, then Rashard Lewis will revert to the small-forward spot as Orlando becomes a more conventional team than the 2009 finalist that upset James’ Cavs while playing through Hedo Turkoglu as an eccentric point guard. Vince Carter showed during the playoffs that he isn’t an elite scorer who can carry Orlando through the final two minutes. The Magic will need to apply their depth to attack relentlessly, and they’ll also need an MVP season at both ends of the floor from Howard. It’s hard to imagine them beating Miami unless Howard emerges as an unstoppable force around the basket.”
- Thomsen is incorrect. It’s doubtful that Bass will play a bigger role with the Magic. And it makes no sense for Orlando to slide Rashard Lewis to the small forward position, unless they were to acquire a premiere power forward to make the alignment work. Right now, that player isn’t available.
- Dwight Howard is one of 10 anti-LeBron’s? Austin Burton of Dime Magazine explains: “Orlando doesn’t have a great track record of keeping their superstars happy (Shaq, T-Mac), but they’ve rolled out the red carpet for Dwight and won’t let him get away if they can help it. As long as he’s making good money and has a solid team around him, there’s no reason to believe he’ll leave. Florida will always be a popular destination for free agents, so there’s no reason Dwight shouldn’t be the anchor of a contending team for the rest of his career.”
- Brandon Bass and Marcin Gortat need a change of scenery.
- Can team chemistry be quantified?
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Five teams remain in the running to sign free-agent swingman Matt Barnes, according to sources with knowledge of Barnes’ thinking.
Toronto is still one of those teams, sources told ESPN.com, despite the collapse of a sign-and-trade deal with Orlando that Barnes thought would be completed by now.
One source close to process said early Wednesday that Barnes continues to weigh interest from the Raptors along with the Cleveland Cavaliers and three title contenders he has been negotiating with since last week: the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.
One of the most coveted free agents left on the open market, Barnes announced Monday night via his Twitter feed that he was headed to Toronto.
But that deal quickly unraveled when it became apparent that the limited sign-and-trade options available to Orlando — Barnes’ last team — would not allow for the contract that Barnes was anticipating.
Orlando Magic Moms to Participate in Basketball Game in Orlando to Benefit the United Negro College Fund
The Mothers of Professional Basketball Players (MPBP) organization will hold its 2010 Annual Conference from August 6-8, 2010 in Orlando. As the unifying body for mothers of current and retired professional basketball players, this year’s conference signifies the first gathering since revamping the organization. With a new dedication to service and the greater good of the community, this year’s event will include a Mom’s Rookie Camp, Welcome Reception and Social. However, the main event for the weekend will be the first-ever “Hoopin’ for Health” Charity Basketball Game with the Professional Football Players Mothers Association (PFPMA) playing the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players.
With the addition of the MPBP vs. PFPMA “Hoopin’ for Health” Charity Basketball Game, both organizations have united in the mission to inspire all women of all ages to become more active and mindful of weight related illness such as heart disease. “Mothers often think our job is done once our children are grown. However, it’s after the kids are grown when life really begins. As women, we have to keep it moving, keep our hearts strong and stay active no matter our age,” stated Flo Allen-Hopson, Mothers of Professional Basketball Players Association Member & Mother of Boston Celtics Player Ray Allen. [...]
Led by Coaches Lucille O’Neal (mother of Shaquille O’Neal) and Marie Jackson (mother of retired player & current ABC commentator Mark Jackson), the MPBP team will feature Cheryl Howard (Dwight Howard), Juanita Brown (Rashard Lewis), Robin Paul (Chris Paul), Flo Allen Hopson (Ray Allen), Vanessa Hughes (Larry Hughes) and Lisa Randolph (Anthony Hughes) and more. Players on the PFPMA team will include Char McNabb (Donovan McNabb), Cheryl Foster (Deshaun Foster), Chris Johnson (Larry Johnson), Sirreta Williams (Laveranues Coles), Nancy Jones (Dhani Jones) and more. The game will also feature commentator Jerome Bettis.
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “For the moment at least, Matt Barnes remains a free agent. As we’ve noted before, the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors cannot execute a sign-and-trade deal that would pay Barnes a first-year salary anywhere close to $4.5 million. On their own, the Raptors don’t have the cap room and no longer have their midlevel exception. The Magic don’t have the cap room either, and their non-Bird exception for Barnes would pay Barnes just $1.92 million for a first-year salary. [...] The Raptors and Magic can continue to talk about a sign-and-trade deal, but they just can’t get around the fact that Orlando can only offer Barnes $1.92 million. Officials from the Raptors and Magic are not commenting.”
- Matt Barnes has some kind words for Magic fans: “Orlando fans are amazing, just absolutely amazing. They’ll always have a special place in my heart. They really accepted me and my family with open arms right from the jump, especially being someone that came in not to replace Hedo, someone who was so loved and respected by the fans, but be one of the guys that would take his spot. I really felt no bitterness and no hate or anything from the fans; I was expecting maybe a little bit.”
- Eric Freeman of The Baseline states that the Orlando Magic are too stacked: “The Magic don’t have enough minutes for all these players, particularly in the frontcourt. It seems as if they have to trade [Marcin] Gortat and [Brandon] Bass for pennies on the dollar just to avoid locker room trouble. Likewise, if they don’t give [J.J.] Redick what he wants soon, he’ll start to wonder why Orlando matched the Bulls’ offer in the first place. I understand why the Magic want to hold onto as many good players as possible. But when they do so without figuring out a rotation that can fit in every piece they have, they’re asking for trouble. They have a loaded roster, but it might actually be too full of talent given the expectations of everyone involved.”
- Penny Hardaway’s comeback bid is over.
- Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated is not a fan of the Chris Duhon signing: “With starting point guard Jameer Nelson often dinged or substantially hurt, the backup floor general for Orlando — which remains an elite Eastern Conference contender — is a vital. Duhon is a decent defender and takes care of the ball, but he hasn’t shot better than 42.1 percent in his six seasons, with a career mark of 39.3 percent. That’s not going to foster the spacing coach Stan Van Gundy prefers in his half-court sets. And with a four-year contract, it’s a long-term gamble and only a minor short-term upgrade over Jason Williams.”
- Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk wonders if Brandon Bass is a good fit or not with the Magic.
- J.J. Redick is ready to start.
- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “In the coming days, Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith will consider the third-string point guard options available in free-agency, and he indicated last week that he would indeed “sit still for a week or so, let some things shake out” before making any moves. Chris Quinn is merely one possibility who merits attention, but he might be the best one. Quinn spent last season with the New Jersey Nets after the Miami Heat dumped his salary on them; he played just 223 minutes over 25 games after the trade, meaning his stock may never have been lower. But as recently as the 2008/09 season, Quinn posted solid shooting and playmaking numbers, indicating he might be a hand-in-glove fit for Orlando.”
- Dwight Howard is “hard in the paint.”