Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 227

Jun 30

Dwight Howard is Eyeing Either Chris Paul or Carlos Boozer

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Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

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.

Jun 30

Addressing the Gilbert Arenas Conundrum

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Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Gilbert Arenas.

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.

WARP projection 2011 2012 2013 Total
Gilbert Arenas 7.3 5.2 4.1 16.6

Click here to see how Arenas’ projections compare to the 2010 free agent class.


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?

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Jun 29

Vince Carter Appears at Orlando Magic Basketball Camp

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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.

Jun 29

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • 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.”

Jun 29

Orlando Magic Set Summer League Roster

University of Kentucky

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.

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Jun 29

Figuring Out Matt Barnes’ Future with the Orlando Magic

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Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Via Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel:

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.

Jun 28

Monday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Compared to LeBron’s trumpeted grand plan, Shaquille O’Neal slipped away from the Orlando Magic in 1996 as if he merely had been transferred by the home office to another job in Los Angeles. Trust me, kids, Shaq’s move to the Lakers was a huge deal in Orlando — just not as noisy from beginning to end as today’s latest LeBron update and maniacal following. We’ve heard the ticking of King James’ free-agent clock for the past two seasons. But there was no crazed recruiting of Shaq by other teams and cities as there is with LeBron. No celebrities from L.A. were publicly wooing him. No lavish tours discussed. No competition outside L.A. It was Orlando’s “dried-up pond” (as Shaq so derisively called it later) vs. Hollywood. When all was said and done — and very little was said or done — the Magic had no chance against the Lakers, Shaq’s boyhood dream team. He simply signed a seven-year, $121-million contract with L.A., formally announcing the NBA’s biggest-ever free-agent move at a news conference during a little event I attended called the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Shaq’s period of free agency occurred 14 years ago, before ESPN covered everything like it was a moon launch, before 24/7 sports talk and sports blogs overwhelmed the Internet, before athletes were all a-Twitter.”
  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel continues the retrospective look at Shaquille O’Neal, stating that the Orlando Magic are to blame for the big fella leaving in 1996: “It was a perfect storm of chaos. Most important on the list: The Magic lowballed Shaq with an offer that they faxed to him. Three years, a little less than $50 million. Meanwhile, NBA icon Jerry West showed up at Shaq’s hotel room in Atlanta with a max contract. Seven years, approaching $121 million. [...] There were other significant factors as well: Dennis Tracey, Shaq’s former teammate at LSU and personal assistant, had fallen out of the picture, leaving agent Leonard Armato as the one of the most influential voices in Shaq’s ear. Leonard was an LA guy, and pushed for Shaq to sign with Los Angeles. Sitting courtside at Lakers games in the vicinity of Nicholson certainly can improve your profile. And let’s not forget that Shaq had written in his book that he dreamed of playing for the Lakers.”
  • Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider: “[J.J.] Redick‘s career 3-point percentage at Duke? 40.58. Redick’s 3-point percentage last season for the Magic? 40.51. Redick hasn’t left any doubt that his shooting translates to a taller, more athletic environment. Just two seasons ago, Redick couldn’t get off the Magic’s bench, but he has put in a ton of work to improve his peripheral game. He developed an off-the-dribble attack this season that’s especially effective in pick-and-roll situations. It’s a little-known fact that Redick shot more 2-pointers than 3-pointers this past season and posted the second-most-efficient season in the NBA, scoring 123 points every 100 possessions. He’s a restricted agent this summer, and don’t be surprised if a playoff team tries to snag him with the midlevel exception.”
  • Adonal Foyle talks about working on the new collective bargaining agreement with the NBA.
  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “Redick is Allen-light, a deadly shooter with a high basketball IQ and the experience of playing on a great defensive team. This past season was Redick’s best. He earned crunch-time minutes in a lot of big games and may be ready for a starting role. But because he’s restricted, it will be tough for a team to pry him away from Orlando at a reasonable price.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk comments on Dwight Howard‘s move to join agent Dan Fegan: “Fegan did play a role in previous CBA talks, when he was the most powerful agent going, but he is not going to have that kind of pull this time around. His current client lineup is nice, but not THAT nice. The marketing angle makes less sense. Goodwin’s people got Howard a ton of endorsement, including McDonald’s and those ubiquitous T-Mobile ads. They worked to help him create a real social media platform to broaden his marketability. Bottom line, Goodwin did a very good job.  Fegan may as well, he’s another powerhouse lined up with a powerhouse international firm. But it still feels like a piece of the puzzle is missing from this story.”
  • Another Gilbert Arenas-to-the-Magic rumor, from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “The Magic are said to be actively considering trade scenarios that could provide Dwight Howard with a post-up power forward to play with, a play-maker to replace what Hedo Turkoglu brought to the 2009 Eastern Conference championship team, or a dynamic point guard. It would be easy enough to move Rashard Lewis to small forward and satisfy Howard’s first wish – something he feels strongly enough about to begin “heavily recruiting” free agents that fit the description, according to a source. As for the second item, if I were GM Otis Smith, I’d be exploring a Vince Carter-for-Joe Johnson sign-and-trade; what an upgrade that would be for a team that sorely missed Turkoglu in the conference finals against Boston this year. The third option is the most interesting: A person with knowledge of the Magic’s plans said a trade for Gilbert Arenas, the one-time superstar whose reputation took a massive hit with his gun suspension last season, remains a “definite possibility.” Smith has a good relationship with Arenas, but a stumbling block could be the fact that Howard has questions about whether Arenas would fit in. If Howard gets the answers he’s looking for, there could be legs to the Arenas-to-Orlando scenario.”
  • In case you missed it, here’s a short list of power forwards that would make sense for Orlando given their skill-sets. I readily admit that I’m iffy about Carlos Boozer, but I threw him into the conversation for the sake of completeness.

Jun 28

PepsiCo Joins the Orlando Magic and Amway Center as ‘Champions of the Community’ Partner

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic and PepsiCo announced today a new, multi-year relationship, making the company a ‘Champions of the Community’ partner for the new Amway Center. ‘Champions of the Community’ partners represent an elite tier of brands committed to Central Florida and the Parramore community. The fully-integrated relationship includes community programming, unparalleled team and facility access, brand recognition visibility and category exclusivity.

This Orlando Magic relationship marks another significant step for PepsiCo under the new ‘Power of One’ umbrella for the company, which brings together the Pepsi, Gatorade and Frito-Lay brands for a joint partnership. As part of its ‘Champions of the Community’ platform, PepsiCo – a partner with the Magic since 1989 – receives exclusivity in the hydration, carbonated soft drinks, bottled water, carbonated caffeine-based energy drinks and packaged salty snack foods categories in the new Amway Center.

“We are honored to have PepsiCo join the Orlando Magic as a ‘Champions of the Community’ partner for the Amway Center,” Orlando Magic Chief Operating Officer Alex Martins said. “PepsiCo has been a valued partner with the Magic since our inception in 1989, and we believe this relationship will allow PepsiCo to have a fully-integrated approach to connect their ‘Power of One’ brand with our fan base like never before.”

Jun 28

A Look at the Orlando Magic’s Roster and Assets as of Today

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Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The 2010 NBA Draft has come and gone, which means it’s time to focus entirely on free agency. The Orlando Magic won’t be among the primary teams vying for the services of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and others, barring a sign-and-trade that falls from the heavens. But it’s worth reviewing all the notable assets the Magic have at their disposal, as well as taking a look at what the roster looks like right now.

Roster:

Position Starter Backup Backup
Point Guard Jameer Nelson
Shooting Guard Vince Carter J.J. Redick*
Small Forward Mickael Pietrus Stanley Robinson**
Power Forward Rashard Lewis Ryan Anderson Brandon Bass
Center Dwight Howard Marcin Gortat Daniel Orton

*restricted free agent
**second round draft picks are not guaranteed contracts

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Jun 28

Dwight Howard Teams Up with Agent Dan Fegan

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Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Via Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

Two months after parting ways with his agent, Dwight Howard has chosen a new one – Dan Fegan, who also landed No. 1 pick John Wall this summer.

Howard, 24, is at a crossroads in his career as the [Orlando] Magic try to surround him with the right kind of talent to begin winning championships. He also won’t be a free agent until after a new – and likely owner-friendly – collective bargaining agreement is adopted. Fegan’s second significant score of the summer solidified him as “one of the most powerful agents out there,” one team executive said upon hearing of the Howard addition Sunday. Fegan also is a well-versed participant in the ongoing CBA negotiations that could dramatically affect Howard’s on-court earning potential. Unlike this summer’s crop of free agents, who can land one more massive pay day under the current CBA, Howard and other young stars face uncertainty as owners aim to take a substantial bite out of the salaries paid to the highest-earning players. [...]

But what Howard was really looking for was an out-of-the-box, full-service and long-term approach to on- and off-court marketing, according to a one of Howard’s close advisors.

To learn more about Dan Fegan, Henry Abbott of TrueHoop shadowed him on draft day and wrote an excellent profile that chronicled Fegan’s day in the life as an NBA agent.

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