Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 215

Sep 14

More On the Verbal Spat Between Pat Riley and Stan Van Gundy

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Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Via George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel:

Geez, I go off to Richmond to cover a NASCAR race for a few days and look what happens:

We’re all going to need protective fire suits to cover the NBA this season. The Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat are going old-school nasty, making like Richard Petty and David Pearson, rubbin’ tires and tradin’ paint before the season even starts.

To briefly recap, Magic general manager Otis Smith called out LeBron James, questioning his competitive desire after signing with the Heat. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy ripped Chris Bosh, calling him Dwayne Wade’s “lapdog.” Then Miami Heat President Pat Riley shot back, ripping Smith and Van Gundy.

Then Van Gundy lashed back at Riley. […]

For once, nobody can blame the media for trying to stir the pot. The pot’s already boiling over with contentious crossfire.

And that’s how it should be.

The best rivalries need a few obvious ingredients: Two great competitors (check), a contempt for each other’s lifestyle (check), and a lively volley of words between both sides (double-check).

Think Frazier-Ali, Celtics-Lakers, Yankees- Red Sox. Dare we add Magic-Heat to the mix?

The Three Amigos/Axis of Evil have already pranced and danced on stage at their coming out party in South Florida in July, complete with pyrotechnics and pose downs like they were part of a WWE show. They are the alpha dogs who are going to take a whizz on everybody’s lawn, including the one by that fancy-schmantzy new place in Orlando.

Another writer chimes in on this feud.

Sep 13

Monday’s Magic Word

  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “[J.J.] Redick didn’t waste much time announcing himself as a legitimate contributor last season. Making an emergency start in place of Vince Carter, who missed the game due to a sprained right ankle suffered two nights earlier, Redick played a team-high 45 minutes. And, uh, produced a line that even a healthy Carter may not have been able to match: 27 points, five rebounds, and six assists to Redick, who mixed three-point bombing (five-of-eight from beyond the arc) with aggressive drives during which he looked to draw contact, or at least attention, for a kickout. And yeah, the Raptors scored 116 points, but that’s not on Redick: their starting frontcourt poured in 80 of those points, so it wasn’t like Redick was a liability at the other end.”
  • A behind-the-scenes look at the photo shoot for the Orlando Magic dancers.
  • Matt Moore of ProBasketballTalk takes a look at the aftermath of Pat Riley and Stan Van Gundy‘s war of words: “So who’s on target here? Well, the answer is both. The criticism against the Heat has been more than a little ridiculous, considering they’ve broken no laws, and done nothing that a vast majority of people would do: choose to work with their friends in a tax-free state with a higher professional ceiling. “The Decision” aside, most of the comments have been purposely inflammatory. But SVG has a point that Riley hasn’t exactly been squeaky clean throughout his career and calling the presser certainly doesn’t look like he ignores the press. Expect a lot more of this this type of side-mouth work from both the Heat and their critics this season. The new reality in the NBA is going to take some time to adjust to.”
  • Rob Peterson of NBA FanHouse: “This is a fight, however, Van Gundy can’t win no matter how right he is or how right he believes he is. It’s a matter of public relations and public perception. As incredible and as honest as he is with the press, Van Gundy comes off as the classic shlumpy grinder. He’s a guy who bends the game to his will with an impeccable white board and unassailable basketball mind. In Riley, you have a guy who loves to live his part as impresario and hoops taste-maker. The man can coach because he can adapt. Have the best athletes on the planet? Showtime! Have a bunch of no talent hacks, with the exception of an All-Star center? Meet the early ’90s Knicks. Add to that he has five rings as a head coach, all achieved in bespoke suits without breaking a sweat. […] That may be the biggest rub of this whole thing. Van Gundy’s excited retort stems from fear as much as it does loathing of Riley and his assemblage of max-contract mercenaries. Outside of the 15,000 true Heat fans, no one liked the signings and often weren’t quiet about it. “
  • The “bad blood is already building up” between the Magic and the Miami Heat.
  • Want to see Shaquille O’Neal highlights circa 1994? Now you can.

Sep 13

Sun Sports & FOX Sports Florida Announce 2010-11 Magic TV Schedule

Via Sun Sports/FOX Sports Florida:

With the debut of the majestic new Amway Center this season, the Orlando Magic continue their quest for an NBA championship in 2010-11. Under the guidance of head coach Stan Van Gundy, the Magic seek a fourth consecutive Southeast Division title, a third straight trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, and most importantly, look to capture their first NBA title. Once again, NBA All-Star center Dwight Howard will headline one of the league’s most successful cast of players.

As the team’s longtime TV partner, Sun Sports and FOX Sports Florida will be there all season as the two networks combine to offer Orlando Magic fans 71 regular season game telecasts, all in HD, with 38 scheduled on Sun Sports and 33 on FOX Sports Florida.

In addition, four preseason matchups will air live this season. The first preseason telecast will be October 5 at the Houston Rockets from Hidalgo, TX, at 8:30pm ET on Sun Sports.

Then, on October 10, the Magic play their first preseason game in the new Amway Center. Sun Sports will not only televise that historic game, but will also offer fans a spectacular look at the Magic’s new home with a special, one-hour live pregame show beginning at 5:00pm ET. The network will be set up in multiple locations both inside and outside the building giving fans watching at home a bird’s eye view of all the festivities that night.

Click here for the 2010-11 schedule.

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Sep 13

A Look Back at a Classic Game Between Two Elite Teams

Sep 13

The Amway Center’s Potential

Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel

Via Mark Schlueb of the Orlando Sentinel:

When the Orlando Arena opened in 1989, few people had heard of the newfangled Internet, and mobile phones were the size of bricks.

When its replacement opens Oct. 1, the technology inside the new Amway Center will have changed as much as it has in people’s homes during the past 21 years.

“It truly will be the most technologically advanced arena facility in North America,” Orlando Magic President Alex Martins is fond of saying.

Since the $480 million arena’s conception, Magic and city officials have made technology an integral part of the project, from the 1,100 flat-panel video screens throughout the building to an advanced telecommunications network not much different from the one that controls America’s air traffic.

The state-of-the-art technology means more flash for fans, who will be bombarded with images and sound before they even walk in the door. And just as important for the team’s owner, it also means more advertising cash for the Magic. […]

Advertisers who can afford it will also be able to have their product or name displayed on every screen in the building at the same moment, an opportunity the Magic is selling as “the moment of exclusivity.”

It’s not clear how much the Magic and the city spent on the building’s high-tech features, but the team has the most to gain. Under an agreement with the city, the Magic keep the revenue from the sale of advertising, naming rights and luxury suites in exchange for an annual payment to the city of $1.75 million, an amount that increases 3 percent a year.

As training camp is set to begin in less than a month for the Orlando Magic, it’s very important to note that ownership is paying nearly $94 million in salaries and that’s before the luxury tax is taken into account. This is going to be the most expensive roster in franchise history and Magic fans need to be enjoy this era while they can, because it’s not going to last forever.

The Magic are spending a lot of money to take advantage of Dwight Howard‘s prime and an opportunity to win a championship. That being said, it’ll be interesting to see how much of an influx of revenue Orlando will see and how that’ll impact the team’s ability to continue to pay the luxury tax in future years when the Amway Center opens in less than a month.

That’s a point of emphasis that isn’t being talked about enough and it should be, given that the Magic are a small-market team in the NBA.

Money is nearly no obstacle for the Magic right now, given that owner Rich DeVos has opened up his checkbook the past several years, but it remains to be seen whether or not the investment pays off. Orlando is going to have a tough road ahead in the Eastern Conference, having to deal with the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat.

More advertising cash means more revenue for Orlando, but how much?

We’ll find out eventually.

Sep 12

Fact or Fiction: Vince Carter is Valuable Enough to Merit an Upgrade at the Wing Position in a Trade

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Fact or Fiction presents both sides of key issues the Orlando Magic will face in the upcoming season.

Vince Carter’s expiring contract is the Magic’s best opportunity to upgrade the wing position with a high-quality player (go-to guy) for the future.

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Fact
The off-season is nearly over for the Orlando Magic and the rest of the NBA, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t any drama along the way. After the Magic lost to the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, the rumor mill began to heat up concerning Vince Carter‘s future with the team after his lackluster performance in the series.

In late June, word broke out that Chris Paul was open to being traded as long as he got a chance to win and soon after, there was a report that Orlando offered Carter in a trade alongside Jameer Nelson for the all-world point guard. And when Carmelo Anthony indicated his desire to leave the Denver Nuggets nearly a month ago, the Magic were initially listed as a team of interest. Even though Carter’s name wasn’t explicitly brought up in any trade scenarios, it was assumed that he could be dealt since he would be replaced by Anthony at one of the wing positions.

Why all the chatter about Carter?

Because Carter has, more or less, an expiring contract. It’s important to note that Carter’s contract in 2012 is guaranteed for $4 million if he’s waived before June 30, 2011. Even though it’s not a purely expiring contract, there’s no question that any team acquiring Carter in a deal would save a chunk of money.

It’s clear that Carter has value and could be a trade chip for Orlando at the deadline, if general manager Otis Smith wants to explore the possibility.

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Sep 12

Stan Van Gundy Responds to Pat Riley

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Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Via John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com:

While the rivalry between the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat might lay dormant at times during the offseason, the venom between the two heated, hated sides clearly never bubbles too far below the surface.

And old rivals Otis Smith, Stan Van Gundy and Heat president Pat Riley have made sure that the vitriol between the two teams continues to flow all summer long.

Irked at some of the comments from Smith, Orlando’s President of Basketball Operations, and Van Gundy, the Magic’s head coach, following Miami’s free-agent signings of LeBron James and Chris Bosh in July, Riley went on the offensive on Friday. He was highly critical of Smith, Van Gundy and TNT analyst Charles Barkley for becoming the “moral conscious or moral authority’’ of players in the NBA.

Van Gundy, who worked in Miami with Riley for 12 seasons from 1995-2006, fired back on Saturday at the many inconsistencies in Riley’s behavior and criticisms through the years.

“I thought it was pretty typical. I was kind of amused by it, especially reading down through the interview,’’ Van Gundy said. “He goes into Charles Barkley, me and Otis and then says he doesn’t worry about what people say. Wait, you called the press conference, you went off and everybody and you don’t care what people say? Clearly, he cares a great deal about what people say. I was laughing when I saw that.’’

Did I not say it was personal between the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat?

These are two franchises that don’t like each other.

Sep 10

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “I don’t think you can argue against this game being tops among [Rashard] Lewis‘ performances with the [Orlando] Magic. There ought not be any debate here. The Magic lost this game in overtime–memorably, Courtney Lee’s wide-open lob layup attempt at the end of regulation was well off the mark–but we aren’t necessarily counting wins and losses in these evaluations. Understand that this game is an unmitigated disaster, along the lines of the Game 1 blowout, without Lewis’ white-hot shooting. He tallied 34 points to lead all scorers, which still stands as his highest mark in a Magic uniform. And yet the raw numbers don’t do enough justice to how crucial he was to Orlando in this hard-fought defeat. Thankfully, we have Popcorn Machine, in addition to our own brains, to fill in the traditional box score’s gaps. Lewis scored 18 of the Magic’s 20 second-period points, on 7-of-10 shooting, while his teammates sputtered to a 1-of-13 mark. The Magic trailed the Lakers by a mere five points at intermission, and rallied in the third quarter to make the game more competitive. As in, having a two-point lead with 47 seconds remaining.”
  • Miami Heat president Pat Riley: “Riley specifically cited Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith and former NBA star turned analyst Charles Barkley as examples of people who took what the Heat president thought were unwarranted shots at the way the Heat went about business this summer. He also mentioned Magic coach Stan Van Gundy — Riley’s former protege in Miami — as well. On the day after Miami signed James to a six-year contract that lured him away from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Smith said, ‘I thought he was, I guess, more of a competitor.’ Riley responded to that Friday, saying Smith made ‘an absolutely stupid remark. He never made any kind of comment like that when he signed Rashard Lewis and he brought him down from Seattle with a $128 million contract.’ ”
  • Told you it was personal between the Orlando Magic and the Heat.
  • Matt Moore of CBSSports.com has more on Riley’s comments: “Riley had to expect this, though. Especially from Van Gundy. Asking ‘what happened’ to Van Gundy? Pat Riley did. And Barkley taking strong sides is nothing new. But this is just the beginning. Every loss to a major team will be played as a revelation that this team isn’t ready to really sacrifice and play together. Every win will be dismissed unless it’s in the Finals, and then it will simply be discussed as ‘They should win! They have the talent!’ ”
  • Aron Phillips of Dime Magazine: “As Season 3 of Gatorade REPLAY kicks off, two major names in Chicago basketball – the Bloom Township Trojans and the Brother Rice Crusaders – will reunite to replay their 2000 super sectional game that ended with a questionable last-second tip-in at the buzzer. But this time, 10 years later, each squad will have the help Dwyane Wade (Bloom Township) or Dwight Howard (Brother Rice) on the bench as honorary coaches for the two teams.”
  • Dwight Howard is a lot like Alonzo Mourning, according to Casey Mack of Dime Magazine: “Dwight Howard is an intimidating defensive force who — despite his oft-criticized offensive game — can still drop 20 points on you at the other end. His strong build and skills as a rebounder and shot-blocker draws a clear comparison to Alonzo Mourning. ‘Zo won two NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards. Howard has matched that total already, and it’s safe to say a few more are on the way before his career is over.”
  • We reminisce when Vince Carter scored 50 points against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Sep 10

Orlando Magic’s Ryan Anderson and PepsiCo Team Up to Fight Childhood Hunger in Orlando

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Gary Bassing/Orlando Magic

Via the Orlando Magic:

On Wednesday, September 8, Pepsi Beverages Company (PBC) joined forces with Ryan Anderson of the Orlando Magic to fill 750 backpacks with healthy snacks and school supplies. The backpacks were donated to the students of Flora Ridge Elementary School as part of the Backpack Giveaway Agenda. Along with the backpacks, PepsiCo generously provided the school with a $1,000 check to aid in the purchase of student uniforms.

The day began with the stuffing of 750 backpacks with healthy goodies and school supplies by Derek Lewis, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBC, and two Orlando Magic Dancers. Later in the afternoon, Orlando Magic Forward Ryan Anderson and Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw arrived with the loaded backpacks at the Flora Ridge Elementary School Media Center where they greeted the school’s principal and the eagerly awaiting students. Ryan Anderson led the way, distributing the backpacks to the excited and grateful students. The day was capped off by a photo and autograph session.

The backpacks were provided to benefit the Flora Ridge Elementary students in need. 87 percent of the children are on a free or reduced lunch plan and 50 percent speak English as their second language. Studies have shown that one in four children does not have an adequate amount of food and more than 15 percent of local parents said their kids skipped meals because there was not enough money for food.

Thanks to the efforts of both Pepsi Beverages Company and the Orlando Magic, these children were fueled with food and supplies to ensure a good start for the new school year.

Sep 10

Opening Weekend Takes Shape at New State-of-the-Art Amway Center

Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

Via the Orlando Magic:

On Friday, October 1, the new Amway Center will open its doors to the Central Florida community for the first time. Opening Weekend at Amway Center will feature a series of free, community events that showcase all of the fan amenities and state-of-the-art technology available only in Downtown Oralndo’s new events center.

Opening day activities will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, October 1 on Church Street in front of the Amway Center. At precisely 10:01 a.m. on 10/01, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando Magic President Alex Martins, Orlando City Commissioners and other Central Florida leaders will open the doors to the new Amway Center for the first time to the public. Following the ceremonial ribbon cutting and building dedication, the community will be invited into the lower bowl for Mayor Dyer’s Annual State of Downtown Address. This year, the State of Downtown is a free event where the entire Central Florida community can participate in this historic day.

On Saturday, October 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mayor Dyer invites Central Florida residents back to the Amway Center for a free, community open house. This event will feature self-guided tours, entertainment and local performances, free popcorn and soda and commemorative items to celebrate this historic accomplishment. Representatives from the Orlando Magic and Orlando Predators will also be on-hand. Residents can experience a “taste of the Amway Center” with a sampling of the newest food offerings available for purchase.

The self-guided tour of the Amway Center will take patrons through the most technologically-advanced events center in the country, showcasing two levels of spacious concourses that include an impressive array of concessions; a stop along the way so the kids can climb STUFF’S Magic Castle, then up to the contemporary, open-air setting of Gentleman Jack’s Terrace, then up 100 feet to the Sky Bar spotlighting some of Downtown Orlando’s best views; past the player locker rooms and ultimately in the lower bowl where you can see the largest arena videoboard in the country.

For more information on Opening Weekend activities including how residents can obtain their free ticket to the community open house and free parking options, visit amwaycenter.com. A new, improved and interactive web site – www.amwaycenter.com – is now available to keep Central Florida residents and patrons updated with the latest information about Amway Center events and offerings. The new amwaycenter.com is a one-stop destination for complete information including box office, ticket sale, parking and event calendar details.

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