Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 218

Jul 27

The Never-Ending Tale with Chris Paul

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Via Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

According to multiple people within the NBA who are familiar with the Hornets’ predicament, Paul’s new cadre of power brokers at Creative Artists Agency, led by Rose, are continuing to push Paul’s exit strategy from New Orleans — something members of the organization are well aware of and expected.

The Hornets, meanwhile, have been looking at Orlando, Charlotte and New Jersey as potentially attractive trade partners once the firestorm settles down, according to one of the people with direct knowledge of the Hornets’ strategy. Two other sources familiar with the situation confirmed prior discussions involving the Bobcats and Nets and said those talks are expected to advance in the coming days.

The Hornets are concentrating on Eastern Conference teams as trade partners in the event they decide it isn’t feasible to enter the 2010-11 season with their franchise player wanting out. And despite Monday’s optimistic spin, that is where things are headed, sources say. [...]

There are indications that the Hornets believe the [Orlando] Magic, Bobcats and Nets would have equally, if not more attractive assets to offer. The positive spin emanating from Monday’s meeting allows the Hornets to “keep working on it,” and puts them in “a better negotiating position to do so,” said one of the sources.

The Chris Paul storyline never ends.

And it won’t end until Paul is with a new team, it appears.

The news to take away from this report is that the New Orleans Hornets have been concentrating on the Eastern Conference for potential trade partners, including the Orlando Magic. This is significant because this is the franchise, not the player, that is looking into the situation. It’s been widely reported that Paul would prefer to play not only for the Magic but the New York Knicks, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Portland Trail Blazers. Yet Orlando is the only team that is on the “list” for both parties.

It makes sense when you think about it.

It’s common practice for franchises in the NBA to trade their superstars to the other conference for maximum damage control. Magic fans should know that better than anyone, given that Penny Hardaway and Tracy McGrady were shipped off to teams in the Western Conference back in the day.

Surely the Magic are in the best position to win in Paul’s eyes, compared to the Charlotte Bobcats and the New Jersey Nets, but that doesn’t matter. What matters most, especially to the Hornets if they pull the trigger and trade Paul, is that they get maximum value for their superstar. Remember, New Orleans has leverage with the situation and they’re the ones that will decide where Paul goes. Orlando has assets, but that’s not the issue.

What many people are trying to figure out is if the Magic have the gumption to take on Emeka Okafor’s four year, $53 million contract? Some say no but let’s be frank, no one really knows what general manager Otis Smith is thinking. When it comes to information, Smith is the master of misdirection. Smith almost always plays things close to the vest. If the answer is yes (Smith would have to get creative if it’s no), then the next logical question is whether or not Orlando can put together a winning bid? No one knows.

The only thing that is certain is that the Hornets are the ones that will decide Paul’s fate.

If Paul is traded, there’s no guarantee he’ll land with the Magic. However, there is apparent interest on both sides and that’s something worth noting.

Jul 26

Monday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The [Orlando] Magic still will be looking for a point guard — just not Paul. Smith said the team will sign a third guard soon to back up starter Jameer Nelson and Chris Duhon. “We’re still throwing some names around,” he said. The Magic currently have 12 players under contract. [Otis] Smith said forward Stanley Robinson, the Magic’s second-round pick who has a non-guaranteed contact, will join center Daniel Orton, the team’s first-round selection, on the training-camp roster as well as two or three other free agents who’ll practice with the team. Training camp opens Sept. 28 at the new Amway Center.”
  • Chris Paul is staying put, for now at least.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie takes us back in time: “I remember Tracy’s second year in Orlando, and his back issues in training camp. Most, including myself, chalked it up to him being out of shape. He hardly looked like a weight room demon, and he had begged out of countless practices early in his rookie year with the same sort of sore feet that every one of his training camp teammates were suffering through. But the Magic were concerned. Doc Rivers, especially, broke through my dubious tone. He mentioned something about how, yes, every person on the Magic’s roster had been going through out of shape-type pains. But when it’s a 22-year old complaining about a bad back, you tend to pay attention. Doc was right. And Tracy was right to complain. And that issue isn’t going away, especially nine years later.”
  • David Aldridge of NBA.com: “Can’t give Orlando a great offseason grade for only matching an offer sheet on [J.J.] Redick. But the Magic are in much better shape than most of the teams on this list. Nobody else has Dwight Howard and almost nobody else has quality big man depth like Orlando, which can bring Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass off the bench. But the Magic have some decisions to make. Should they pull the trigger and deal Vince Carter for the likes of Gilbert Arenas, or package Nelson and some of that big man depth and try to get Howard a Pau Gasol-like second? Or should Orlando stand pat and give a team that was playing the best basketball in the league — until meeting Boston — another chance to get back to the Finals?”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post chimes in on the significance behind Paul’s meeting with the New Orleans Hornets: “I suppose only Chris Paul and his inner circle know for sure what he’s really up to. The Hornets’ intentions are much clearer: to keep Paul at nearly any cost; they still won’t go over the luxury tax to bring top-grade talent aboard. But Chris Mannix consulted several GMs who made “strong” pushes for Paul, and said “[the] Hornets [are] not at all interested [in trading him].” As for the Magic? The meeting’s outcome doesn’t figure to affect their interest in him one way or another. If they pry him from New Orleans, fantastic. If not, they still have one of the league’s best teams, from top to bottom, along with an elite coach and an ownership group willing to spend. There are worse predicaments.”
  • LeBron James wants Paul in the Western Conference. I wonder why?
  • According to some, the Orlando Magic don’t want to take on Emeka Okafor’s contract.
  • Bethlehem Shoals and Tom Ziller of NBA FanHouse conjure up a trade possibility for the Magic including — you guessed it — Okafor: “As of now, this one’s been debunked; it’s only on the list because, so the winds whispered, it was on the list. Presumably, Orlando’s displeasure with Jameer Nelson, and the presence of Dwight Howard — who is big, exciting, and deserving of a super-pal — makes the Magic a logical destination, if not a real possibility. Here’s how it would go down: Paul, Okafor, and the expiring Darius Songalia (why not) go to Orlando, Hornets get back Vince Carter, Ryan Anderson, Mickael Pietrus, Daniel Orton, and yeah, picks. I guess the Magic would be excited about this, right?”
  • The day has come for Tracy McGrady and Shaquille O’Neal to take a paycut.
  • Did you know that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh were some of the best producers against above-average NBA defenses in 2010? Mark that down as one more reason to fear the Miami Heat. If it’s any consolation, J.J. Redick fared well against better-than-average defenses. Marcin Gortat, too. On the flipside, a few Magic players feasted on subpar defenses.

Jul 26

Orlando Magic and Insurance Office of America Announce Amway Center Partnership

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic and Insurance Office of America (IOA) announced today a new, multi-year relationship, in which IOA will receive entitlement to the Founders Level of the new Amway Center. Opening in the fall of 2010, the facility, which will be operated by the City of Orlando and owned by the Central Florida Community, will compete to host major national events, concerts and family shows and serve as the new home of the Orlando Magic.

In addition to receiving entitlement to the Founders Level, which will be referred to as the “Insurance Office of America Founders Level” or “IOA Founders Level,” IOA will also have naming rights to the three hospitality/meeting room spaces, naming rights to three Hardwood Suites and branding on all collateral and directional signage. The Founders Level at the Amway Center includes 32 Founders Suites with seats that begin 19 rows from the floor. Complete with concierge service and suite attendants to cater to the specific needs of each individual party, Founders Level patrons will experience legendary customer service while never missing a minute of the action.

The IOA Hardwood Suites will offer a completely new meeting experience for Central Florida business leaders. With their executive level décor and service and a view of all of the action in the bowl, the area can accommodate up to 30 people and is available for all Magic home games and potentially for non-Magic events. The IOA Hospitality Rooms offer an opportunity for guests and corporations to host events, receptions or meetings in a more sizeable environment, with accommodations for up to 60 in the space.

Jul 26

2010-11 Orlando Magic Partial Tickets Plans on Sale Now

Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic announced partial ticket plans for the 2010-11 season are now on sale to the general public.

There are numerous options to choose from and all partial plans feature top NBA opponents, including the Miami Heat, L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics. Some details about the particular partial plans include:

Two 22-Game Plans:

  • White 22-Game Plan: Guarantee your seats to see the L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics
  • Blue 22-Game Plan: Guarantee your seats to see opening night, the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat

Three 15-Game Plans:

  • Jameer Nelson 15-Game Plan: Guarantee your seats to see the L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics
  • Dwight Howard 15-Game Plan: Guarantee your seats to see the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat
  • Rashard Lewis 15-Game Plan: Guarantee your seats to see opening night, 13 weekend games and the Miami Heat

Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 26

Penny Hardaway Seeks Closure With the Orlando Magic

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Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Shannon J. Owens of the Orlando Sentinel:

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.

“He was the captain at the time. But there was 16 guys in the room that voted, it wasn’t just Penny Hardaway,” said Nick Anderson, a friend and former teammate of Hardaway’s. “But everything came down on him because he was the captain. That was totally unfair.

Anderson said Hardaway was always someone who cared deeply about others’ opinions of him. So he struggled to accept the public’s negative reaction.

“Everytime I went back to Orlando they booed me pretty much off the Brian Hill situation,” Hardaway said. “I tried to reach out to Brian Hill and he would never return my calls and I thought that was pretty odd because all I wanted to do was explain to him. I never got a chance to talk to him personally about it. And I had to deal with it.”

But in some ways, Hardaway never came back. [...]

“I’ve moved on from it, but there isn’t any closure because I haven’t spoken to Mr. [Rich] DeVos or Bob Vander Weide and they knew what kind of guy I was,” Hardaway said. “I just would really love to speak to those guys. I’ve told [current GM] Otis Smith this before that it’s not going to be right with the fans until the organization makes it right with the fans.”

Attempts to reach Smith for a response were unsuccessful as he was on a scheduled vacation. [Pat] Williams said no one in the Magic organization holds a grudge.

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.

_______

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

_______

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.
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