Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 215

Jul 26

Magic Basketball Mailbag, 7/26/10

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Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Here’s another installment of the Magic Basketball Mailbag.

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What are the chances J.J. provides such consistent production that he no longer becomes “overpaid”?

Medium to high.

People may think that J.J. Redick had the infamous “contract” year when he put up career-high numbers across the board this season. But to be honest, Redick’s new-found success didn’t come out of nowhere. In Redick’s first three years in the NBA, he showed bits and pieces of the excellent role player that he finally became in his fourth season. Once head coach Stan Van Gundy finally developed trust in Redick, most notably in the 2009 NBA Playoffs, that’s when things took off for him. Redick’s confidence soared, knowing that he earned consistent minutes off the bench and wasn’t going to get yanked at the first sign of trouble.

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Jul 25

Sunday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Like everyone else, coach Stan Van Gundy has heard and read the scuttlebutt that connects the dots between the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Hornets all-star point guard Chris Paul. “Much ado about nothing,” Van Gundy said, turning to Shakespeare or maybe Seinfeld. All you need to know is this: Van Gundy doesn’t expect that General Manager Otis Smith will interrupt Van Gundy’s on-going tour of major-league ballparks any time soon to prepare him for a long-shot blockbuster trade. As far as the Magic are concerned — Smith labels the Paul saga as “rumors” — they just happen to be caught up in the speculation. Paul hasn’t publicly demanded to be traded, but according to various sources in various news outlets, he wants out ASAP, and the Magic are his preferred destination.”
  • Shannon J. Owens of the Orlando Sentinel with a must-read article about Penny Hardaway: “For three successful seasons, Hardaway won the approval of fans and even helped guide the Magic to its first NBA Finals, an accomplishment that would take over a decade to repeat. A trio of circumstances soon soured Hardaway’s career in Orlando: O’Neal’s departure, Brian Hill’s firing as head coach and devastating knee injuries. In Hardaway’s eyes, his reputation in Orlando never fully recovered from the dark cloud of Hill’s firing. He was accused of leading the team’s mutiny against Hill.”
  • Should the Orlando Magic retire the jerseys of Shaquille O’Neal and Hardaway? UPDATE: I touched on this never-ending topic last year at OPP.
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post sets the record straight on Vince Carter‘s contract: “For clarification’s sake, we should note that Carter’s contract doesn’t expire next summer, nor is it a team option. It’s what one might term as a “semi-expiring” deal. Yes, it can end next summer, but it’ll come at a price. Carter has a partially guaranteed deal for the 2011/12 season. If he is not waived before June 30, 2011, Carter’s salary of $18.3 million becomes fully guaranteed; if he is waived by the above date, he pockets $4 million and becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The $4 million figure will stay on his team’s cap for that year.”
  • Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse doesn’t think the Magic will be able to land Chris Paul if they are asked to take on Emeka Okafor’s contract, as well.
  • Orlando is ready to reload.

Jul 25

A Matt Barnes Haiku

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Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Via Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post:

The Orlando Magic officially lost Matt Barnes to free-agency [on Thursday night], as the journeyman signed with the L.A. Lakers just after 11 PM on the East Coast. Magic fans have had a few days to prepare for losing Barnes, whom they grew to love during his lone season in pinstripes, but he’s gone for good now.

So if you’re looking for a way to cope, I humbly suggest writing a haiku tribute to Barnes.

Without further ado, here’s my submission. I admit it’s not the greatest haiku in the world but as they say, it’s the effort that counts.

Enjoy.

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ball fake on Kobe;
wanted son’s dirty diaper
in Odom’s mouth

Jul 23

Chris Paul Prefers to Play for the Orlando Magic

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Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Via Chris Broussard of ESPN.com:

The Orlando Magic have replaced the New York Knicks as the top team on Chris Paul’s list of preferred destinations, according to league sources.

Paul believes the Magic, with Dwight Howard, would be a better fit for him. Also, Paul realizes the Magic have more to offer New Orleans in a trade and therefore views it as a more realistic landing spot.

Here’s my brief commentary on the Chris Paul rumors.

Jul 23

Friday’s Magic Word

  • 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.

Jul 23

Matt Barnes and Kobe Bryant are Familiar With Each Other

Jul 22

Source: Los Angeles Lakers to Sign Matt Barnes to Two Year, $3.6 Million Contract

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Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

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.

Jul 22

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • 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.

Jul 22

The Rumors Won’t Go Away About Chris Paul

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Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Via Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

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.

Jul 22

Magic Basketball Mailbag, 7/22/10

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Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Here’s another installment of the Magic Basketball Mailbag.

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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.

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