To better make sense of the madness that is free agency, especially considering their historical ramifications within the framework of the NBA, I’m going to aggregate any facts and rumors that pertain to the Orlando Magic into a notebook-type post. The posts will be constructed daily at 12:00 PM EDT and updated throughout the day. Make sure to check back when updates are made available. I’ll post a time-stamp at the beginning of the posts to make it easier for you, the reader, to know about the latest news. I’ll make notifications on Twitter, too. As the free agent period begins to wind down and the Magic fill out their roster, the notebooks will be posted sporadically — every few days or so. I know my friend and former colleague, Ben Q. Rock, is doing a similar thing at Orlando Pinstriped Post (without the updates, I believe) so I’ll try to mix things up as much as possible to avoid redundancy.
Also, if you happen to come across any free agent or trade news related to the Magic, feel free to pass it along in the comments section and you’ll get a hat tip in the post for the scoop.
With that said, let’s get to it.
UPDATED as of 6:34 PM EDT.
Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images
The time has come.
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The [Orlando] Magic could try to offer [Matt] Barnes some of their mid-level exception and split it with another player. They also could use it on another free agent in their search for another wing, such as former Magic small forward Mike Miller, Josh Howard or Travis Outlaw. Point guard Jason Williams, who backed up Nelson last season, is a free agent. Word from his camp is that he would return for the biannual exception. The Magic might be open to that. Some of the other point-guard candidates for the Magic could include Chris Duhon, Raymond Felton, C.J. Watson (restricted) and Jordan Farmar (restricted). Keyon Dooling was waived by the New Jersey Nets. Kenge Stevenson, a representative for Dooling, told the Sentinel that Dooling would welcome a Magic return after playing here from 2005-2008.”
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel elaborates on a possible shift of power in the Eastern Conference with the Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat, and other teams.
- Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel suggests you shouldn’t believe everything you hear, read, or see concerning this summer’s free agent class.
- Marcin Gortat is styling.
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “With the exception of not winning the championship that he so desperately wanted to bring back to his native Central Florida, Vince Carter said that his return home to play for the Orlando Magic was everything that he had hoped for and more. Now, with the start of free agency just a few hours away and trade rumors typically flying around, Carter is hoping his stay in Orlando and with the Magic extends for another season. With the free-agent class never more star-studded, the Magic could make a bold move toward acquiring an elite power forward or small forward this summer. Doing so would have to come via a sign-and-trade deal and such a transaction could very well include Carter, who is about to enter the final fully guaranteed year of his contract. But Carter, who spoke from the Orlando Sports Center where he is hosting his Orlando Magic basketball camp for 250 local boys and girls, is hoping to play out his contract here with the Magic and remain near his roots in nearby Daytona Beach.”
- Dan Savage of OrlandoMagic.com: “There’s no question that if Daniel Orton stayed in school longer he could have eventually ended up in the NBA Draft lottery. But after leaving school following his freshman year, the former Kentucky Wildcat finds himself as the premier Magic draft pick in the 2010 Summer League. Orton possesses a good base and legs, which make him a very strong player and phenomenal post defender, both on and off the ball. He’s an above average rebounder and a tremendous shot blocking presence. Although most first round picks usually end up being the go-to offensive player on their team’s Summer League squad, expect Orton to have a different role. While he has a nice natural touch on his right-handed jump hook, he’s still developing his offensive post game. Look for Orlando to provide ways for him to flash his strengths on the defensive end.”
- Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk analyzes J.J. Redick‘s value in free agency: “The days of mocking J.J. Redick are over, the guy has worked hard to fit his game into the NBA. He can shoot the three, defends well enough and hustles. The Magic may be where he ends up, but when the big names come off the board someone will come looking to fill out their roster with him.”
- Ditto with Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie: “Mock the guy all you want, but Redick has worked his way into a sound all-around player that could really destroy opponents offensively if he had the luxury of playing anything more than spot minutes. He can still be beaten defensively, but it won’t be for lack of effort, as he held his own matching up against Ray Allen in this year’s postseason.”
- The Orlando Magic rank No. 2 in ESPN’s Ultimate Franchise Standings, up from No. 18 last year. The New Orleans Saints are the only team ahead of the Magic in the rankings.
- Chris Broussard of ESPN Insider with his “advice” on how to improve the Magic: “Vince Carter showed during the playoffs that he’s not going to be able to carry you in the postseason, so shop him hard, as well as Jameer Nelson. Rashard Lewis will be hard to move because of his severely overpriced contract, but you can give it the old college try. Let’s offer Carter to New Orleans for Paul, hoping that Carter being in the last year of his deal ($17.3 million next year, team option for 2011-12) will persuade the Hornets to act. Then let’s try to move Nelson to Memphis, which is looking to upgrade at point guard, for O.J. Mayo.”
- Looking back at a time when Shaquille O’Neal was in LeBron James’ shoes.
- Matt Moore of CBSSports.com: “Would Paul help the Magic? Undoubtedly. That’s just as terrifying a combo as you’re going to find in the league, and the way Paul used Tyson Chandler in the pick and roll for alley-oops means that he and Howard could set the record for most alley-oops in a season. It would be an unstoppable combo. Paul’s also a better shooter than Nelson, and Nelson’s really good. Before injuries started to hit him last season, Paul was on pace for a 45-50-95 season, which is, to be honest, freaking absurd. Working with the kind of perimeter options the Magic have to create space for him would make Paul somehow more lethal than he was before. But if the Magic can’t find a package the Hornets find enticing financially or basketball-wise before Shinn’s sale is complete, they’ll probably be left without Paul, and the repercussions on a locker room that now could start tearing apart instead of drifting. Pushing for progress is a good thing. But it comes with its price if you fail.”
- More commentary on Howard’s desire to play with Chris Paul.
- Make sure to visit Magic Basketball tomorrow at 5:00 PM EDT, as I’ll be having an hour-long CoverItLive chat with Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post to kick off the free agent festivities.
Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
While those elite free agents prepare for an unmitigated frenzy set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, a certain gentle giant who’s a couple years away from any such courtship is quietly beginning to formulate a plan that he’d like management to execute. And it turns out that Dwight Howard, the most physically gifted big man in basketball, wants to team up with the most physical gifted little guy in basketball: Chris Paul.
On the eve of the most anticipated free-agent signing period since 1996, when Howard was 10 years old, the Magic center has formulated a short list of players he’d like GM Otis Smith to pursue this summer. No. 1 on the list, according to a person with close ties to Orlando management, is Hornets point guard Chris Paul. [...]
The Hornets have a point-guard-in-waiting, Darren Collison, who would mitigate the loss of Paul on the court, if not at the ticket office. Any team in the mix for Paul would have to agree to take back Emeka Okafor, scheduled to make $11.8 million next season and $53.2 million over the next for season. The last three seasons will come under a new collective bargaining agreement, in which owners are seeking to dramatically slash salaries. So the full magnitude of taking on such a contract is unknown at this point – but certainly not pleasant.
But one Western Conference executive called the scenario “plausible,” if nothing else because the Magic have shown themselves to have “deep, deep pockets,” the executive said.
To soften the blow from losing Paul, New Orleans would likely insist – and the Magic would agree – on the inclusion of Jameer Nelson in any such trade. Nelson was exposed as a liability in the Magic’s conference finals loss to the Celtics, but could bridge the gap to Collison with a cap-friendly contract that pays him $8.1 million in each of the next three seasons. The Magic have internally explored including Vince Carter in various trades they’re considering, sources say, but Carter’s $17.5 million salary next season might require a third team to get involved or force the Magic to explore another deal for him.
Another player on Howard’s short list, sources say, is Utah free agent Carlos Boozer, who would allow Howard to flourish as a defensive and rebounding force without having to handle the bulk of the scoring on the block, too. The capped-out Magic, of course, would have to acquire Boozer via a sign-and-trade arrangement. The Jazz might be enticed by Brandon Bass and free agent J.J. Redick, for starters.
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
At the peak of his powers, Arenas was — regarded by many — as a quirky and eccentric player that had many memorable moments on and off court. Unfortunately for Arenas, he made some bad decisions this season when he brought unloaded firearms into the Washington Wizards locker room en lieu of a gambling dispute with teammate Javaris Crittenton, which forced commissioner David Stern to suspend Arenas indefinitely while the NBA investigated the issue. Eventually, Arenas was suspended for the rest of the year by Stern and sentenced to two years probation, in addition to serving 30 days in a halfway house (he was released on May 7).
With Arenas looking to reboot his career, there have been rumors circulating the internet that general manager Otis Smith might look to acquire him in a trade involving Vince Carter. But according to Michael Lee of The Washington Post in a report on Thursday, “the talks didn’t get very far” and it appears that the Wizards were the ones to initiate the conversation with the Orlando Magic. Since Smith has history with Arenas, dating back to their days with the Golden State Warriors, it’s easy to conjure up the possibilities of a reunion taking place with the Magic. And given that Carter, for all intents and purposes, is on the trade block, a swap involving him and Arenas seems plausible in theory. Even though a trade with Carter and Arenas would be easy to pull off because of their matching salaries, there’s no question that the move wouldn’t make much sense from Orlando’s perspective because Arenas has four years left on his max contract.
For all of Carter’s faults as a player (can’t question him as a person), one of the main reasons why Smith acquired him last year was because his contract expires this year. Smith has the flexibility, despite Carter’s diminishing value, to tweak and adjust the Magic’s roster as he sees fit. If Smith traded for Arenas, that flexibility would be destroyed. However, let’s ignore the issues of Arenas’ contract for a second.
From a basketball perspective, is Arenas a better fit than Carter?
Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic
Via the Orlando Magic:
Vince Carter appeared at his first Orlando Magic basketball camp on Tuesday, June 29 at the Orlando Sports Center. The week-long camp allows the approximately 250 youth basketball players in attendance the opportunity to learn alongside the eight-time NBA All-Star, Olympic gold medalist and NBA Slam Dunk champion. Highlights of Vince Carter’s 2010 Orlando Magic Basketball Camp include 32 hours of expert camp instruction provided by trainers from the National Basketball Academy, a camp T-shirt, Magic headband, a full-size Magic basketball to take home and an Orlando Magic jersey bag, a ticket to a Magic home game in the brand new Amway Center, a team photo with Carter and special appearances by other Orlando Magic celebrities.
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Vince Carter simply cannot escape the trade rumors that surround him these days. [...] Carter’s name already has been mentioned in rumors this summer. One Internet report said the [Orlando] Magic discussed a deal that would have sent Carter and point guard Jameer Nelson to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for point guard Chris Paul and forward James Posey. (Smith told the Orlando Sentinel last week that he hasn’t had any discussions with the Hornets about Paul.) The Washington Post reported that the Washington Wizards and Orlando talked about a potential Gilbert Arenas-for-Carter swap, but such a deal seems unlikely given Arenas’ recent injury history, off-court problems and his lengthy contract. Carter reiterated Tuesday that he loves playing in Central Florida.”
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “I do know that [Dwight] Howard greatly values his friendship with Boozer. Bosh, Boozer and Howard hung out together every day during the 2008 Summer Olympics in China, they visited Africa together last summer as a part of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders Program. And they spent time together in Houston earlier this month working with Hakeem Olajuwon. When Boozer came to Orlando the last two summers to watch the Magic play in the playoffs he stayed at Howard’s home. And he’s usually a fixture in the Magic locker room when they face the Jazz. Boozer would give the Magic a rugged power forward to rebound and defend power forward on the elite teams such as Pau Gasol, Kevin Garnett and maybe even Bosh. He plays mostly out of the high post, so his game wouldn’t clash with Howard’s. And he’s at a point in his career where winning a title is important. The bad news is that getting Boozer would likely be costly for the Magic. A sign-and-trade acquisition would likely cost the Magic Marcin Gortat and/or J.J. Redick and Mickael Pietrus.”
- Marcin Gortat: “Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith told me that when they have chance to get big star, they won’t hesitate and will add me to this trade. But teams don’t get players to just put them on the bench. [On] another team, there won’t be second Dwight Howard and I will have twice bigger chance to play. It could be step forward for me.”
- John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “The Magic took off when [Matt] Barnes became a starter in late December. In fact, he was part of the best starting lineup in the league, statistically, this season. Barnes has improved as a shooter, but his best asset is his versatility, and he’s the best rebounder of this group. His reputation as a defender may have taken a hit with Paul Pierce’s big numbers in the conference finals, but Barnes was battling a back injury at the time.”
- Could Keyon Dooling make a return to the Orlando Magic next season?
- There’s one player in the NBA that’s skeptical a triumvirate including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh would be effective playing together with the Miami Heat.
- Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie lets ‘er rip: “[Hedo Turkoglu was] one of the worst deals of the decade, tossed at a 30-year-old (red flag) who was willing to leave a championship contender for a few extra million (there’s another red flag), who ducked out of a verbal agreement with the Portland Trail Blazers (so many of them, flappin’ in the wind), and who should have accrued a history of red flags in terms of production throughout his career. He was never nearly as good as Colangelo thought him to be, least of all not in a season that would see him turn 31 halfway through.”
Via the Orlando Magic:
Orlando Magic draft picks Daniel Orton and Stanley Robinson will headline the Magic’s roster at the 2010 AirTran Airways Pro Summer League, the team announced today. The 20-game event, which will run from July 5-9 at the RDV Sportsplex, will feature the Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics and the Charlotte Bobcats.
Due to space limitations, the event is not open to the public and will be open only to the media and professional team/league personnel. Games will begin at 1 p.m. from July 5-8, and at 8 a.m. on July 9. Fans can follow the action, get box scores, game recaps and cumulative statistics by visiting www.orlandomagic.com.
The Orlando Magic’s roster and a complete game schedule for the 2010 AirTran Airways Pro Summer League is listed below. Please note, the schedule of games on Monday, July 5 and Tuesday, July 6 have changed since the schedule was first released.
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Orlando Magic starting small forward Matt Barnes‘ first preference as a free agent would be to try to win a title without needing to pack for another move. But if he doesn’t re-sign with the Magic, Barnes said Monday that he believes there are options for him — with other contenders. [...]
Barnes said he also has heard that the Magic perhaps are looking to swing a deal for a prime free agent. Shooting guard Vince Carter, reserve center Marcin Gortat and back-up small forward Mickael Pietrus have been among the names mentioned in trade scuttlebutt. [...]
Barnes told the Sentinel he also would be open to coming off the bench if the Magic make a trade for a power forward, a move that might shift Rashard Lewis back to his natural position at small forward.
Matt Barnes has said many times throughout the season that he’d like to return to the Orlando Magic and continue the chase for a championship with Dwight Howard and company. In that regard, Barnes has made his intentions clear. By the way, it’s curious to note that Barnes stated he would be willing to come off the bench if the Magic acquired a premiere power forward, presumably in a sign-and-trade, and moved Rashard Lewis to small forward. With Barnes, however, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he would be willing to be a reserve for Orlando, given that he’s proven time and again that he’s a consummate team player and wants to win at all costs.
The issue with Barnes’ situation is that he wants a raise, which he deserves, even though he fizzled out in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics and J.J. Redick emerged as a consistent threat for the Magic … to the point that head coach Stan Van Gundy was forced to find room for him on the floor. Yes, there were times when Barnes was the odd-man out in the lineup as Vince Carter slid over to the small forward position to accommodate Redick at shooting guard but it’s important to note Barnes’ body of work for the year and not focus too much on a bad series. In any case, where will the cash come from for Barnes?
Let’s presume, just for a second, that Orlando matches Redick’s offer sheet from another team like they did last year with Marcin Gortat. Because the Magic are over the salary cap, they would be able to offer Barnes either all or a portion of the mid-level exception. Even if Redick is offered the mid-level exception elsewhere, Orlando isn’t making the offer per se. In other words, the Magic are still able to use their own mid-level exception. It’s, admittedly, a confusing process. Remember, Orlando split up the mid-level exception to sign Brandon Bass ($4 million) and Barnes ($1.6 million) last season while retaining Gortat, even though he was offered the mid-level exception from the Dallas Mavericks. That is allowed by the current NBA collective bargaining agreement. Given that Barnes has stated repeatedly that he wants a raise and it’s assumed he wants a few million dollars, it appears that the Magic have the resources to bring him back if they choose to do so.
It comes down to money.