Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 39

Feb 21

Big Baby’s unceremonious departure

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Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The tie that binds has been severed in Orlando, as the Magic agreed to a buyout with the much-maligned power forward Glen Davis after the trade deadline had passed. Big Baby was under contract for $6.4 million this season and was set to earn $6.6 million next season.

Although the details of the buyout were not disclosed, it’s clear that no price was too steep to free this young team from the cloud that Davis had cast over the organization.

All in all, Davis is a fine basketball player. He’s not very efficient on offense, largely due to his propensity for the long twos that drove Magic fans insane in recent years, but he’s a solid defensive player.

When he’s happy, he certainly has value, and a contender such as the Los Angeles Clippers will look to add Davis for frontcourt depth and whatever nebulous “championship experience” he might bring from his time with former coach Doc Rivers in Boston.

The issue for Davis and Orlando? He’s been anything but content with the losing and, at times, aimless progress of a rebuild. His stint with the Celtics, along with his first year in Orlando, conditioned Big Baby to a certain level of success. When the bottom fell out, he was in no condition to play the good soldier.

That by no means excuses everything that’s gone wrong for Davis as a member of the Magic, however. Quite the contrary. A player with his exposure to the necessity of veteran leadership and locker room chemistry should have been capable of instilling the right mindset and work ethic in the younger players. Instead, Davis has been a tempest inside a volcano inside a pressure cooker, ready to explode on keyboards and sulk on the hardwood.

Yet coach Jacque Vaughn had to make the best of a bad situation, and that often involved playing Davis. If Big Baby seemed a malcontent while garnering regular minutes, the thought of his destructive wake had he been benched clearly chilled the imagination of the Magic organization. The threat of a full scale mutiny, coupled with young bigs still learning the nuances of playing professionally, meant far more minutes for Davis than would seem wise for a team in Orlando’s position.

Such risk is now a thing of the past, and Davis’ departure opens the door wide and clear for the likes of Tobias Harris, Kyle O’Quinn, and Andrew Nicholson. With an additional 30 minutes per game to go around, those three have the most to gain in terms of playing time, growth and exposure.

Vaughn’s trust in veterans means more minutes for Jason Maxiell, in all likelihood, too, so it won’t be all youth movements and summer daises in Orlando.

But the present is about the future for the Magic, and the more they learn about how their three young bigs fit into their plans going forward, the better off they’ll be. Can Harris handle an increased workload at power forward, or is he better off playing the three? How effective can O’Quinn be if he, in turn, can focus on being a backup center full-time? And can Nicholson just get some damn minutes, please?

With Davis’s buyout, there’s no longer any excuse to prolong finding out. Orlando is officially in a new era. For now, it’ll look a lot like the past year or two — development of young talent, some rough times, and eyes toward the horizon. But don’t let the superficial similarities fool you — in the land of the Magic, 2014 is the first year After Davis.

Feb 20

Magic reach buyout agreement with Glen Davis

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Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports:

The Orlando Magic have reached an agreement on a contract buyout with forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis, sources told Yahoo Sports. […]

Magic officials want to start giving more playing time to their young corps of forwards, including Andrew Nicholson, and were concerned with how Davis would handle a diminished role.

Davis, 28, is being paid $6.4 million this season and $6.6 million next season. The 6-foot-9, 289-pounder averaged 12.1 points and 6.3 rebounds this season for Orlando.

Davis would have to clear waivers following a buyout to become an unrestricted free agent.

Feb 20

Thursday’s Mini-Magic Word

  • Penny Hardaway, who will be honored on Friday during the Magic’s home game versus the New York Knicks, looks back fondly on his career in Orlando.
  • St. Bonaventure will retire Andrew Nicholson’s number (No. 44) on Saturday.
  • When Jason Maxiell stepped on the floor during the Magic’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, there was something different about him.
  • Orlando did not make a trade at the 3 p.m. ET deadline today.

Feb 20

Grades: Cleveland Cavaliers 101, Orlando Magic 93

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AP Photo/Tony Dejak


Cleveland Cavaliers 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
93 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
7-14 FG | 7-8 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 23 PTS | -7

Games like these are a big reason why Afflalo is attracting attention at the trade deadline. As he showed against the Cavaliers, he’s a scorer that can get his points efficiently. He can get to the free throw line. He can make corner 3s. And he’s an efficient midrange jump shooter. Which playoff contender wouldn’t want that on their team?

Nikola Vucevic
8-15 FG | 4-6 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 20 PTS | +1

Like a majority of his Magic teammates, Vucevic played a lethargic first half. But he woke up after halftime, scoring 15 of his 20 points in the second half. He had everything working for him — layups, midrange jumpers, he even tossed in a lefty hook for good measure. Vucevic did his job in punishing a Cavaliers’ frontline that was missing Anderson Varejao.

Tobias Harris
6-14 FG | 5-8 3P | 7 REB | 3 AST | 19 PTS | +1

Harris had a monster third quarter. He scored 12 of his 19 points in the period and it’s the way he scored that was eye-opening. Harris has struggled making spot-up 3s all season long, yet he made two of them in the third. If Harris wants to be a full-time small forward, it’ll hinge largely on his ability to make spot-up 3s, particularly from the corners.

Kyle O’Quinn
5-8 FG | 2-3 3P | 1 STL | 8 REB | 10 PTS | +7

Glen Davis left the game midway through the first quarter with a sore right achilles and didn’t return, which forced head coach Jacque Vaughn to play Kyle O’Quinn at the power forward position in Davis’ place. O’Quinn acquitted himself nicely, finishing the game two rebounds shy of a double-double while showing great chemistry playing alongside Harris and Vucevic in the frontcourt.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers won their sixth consecutive game thanks in large part due to the Magic’s poor play in the first half. Cleveland jumped on a lazy Orlando team, building a 19-point lead at halftime that ballooned to as many as 21 early in the third quarter. The Magic tried to come back in the second half, but they dug themselves too large of a hole.

Feb 19

Preview: Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers


  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Date: February 19, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Quicken Loans Arena


  • Magic: 16-39
  • Cavaliers: 21-33

Probable starters


  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic


  • Kyrie Irving
  • Jarrett Jack
  • Luol Deng
  • Tristan Thompson
  • Tyler Zeller

Advanced stats


  • Pace: 93.8 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.1 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.7 (17th of 30)


  • Pace: 93.1 (20th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.5 (24th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.4 (19th of 30)

Read about the Cavaliers

Cavs: The Blog

Feb 19

Grades: Milwaukee Bucks 104, Orlando Magic 100

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AP Photo/Tom Lynn


Milwaukee Bucks 104 Final
Recap | Box Score
100 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
9-15 FG | 3-6 3P | 1 REB | 1 AST | 21 PTS | +2

Afflalo tried to play the role of hero, but it didn’t work out so well for him. After a Nate Wolters 3-pointer gave the Bucks a 99-97 lead, Afflalo had the ball stolen from Giannis Antetokounmpo on the ensuing possession. Then with the Magic trailing 100-97, Afflalo missed a 3-point shot from the right wing that would have tied the game.

Nikola Vucevic
7-10 FG | 5-6 FT | 1 BLK | 9 REB | 19 PTS | +4

When his midrange jump shot is falling, Vucevic is a really good player. And his jumper was falling against Milwaukee. For a moment, it seemed like Vucevic was going to help Orlando steal a win on the road after trailing for most of the evening. His baseline jumper with 50.1 seconds left gave the Magic a 97-96 lead before Wolter’s theatrics.

E’Twaun Moore
6-12 FG | 3-6 3P | 2 BLK | 1 REB | 17 PTS | -10

The Young Guns struggled against the Bucks. That is, everyone except Moore. With Victor Oladipo sputtering offensively, Moore stepped up to provide the Magic with much-needed bench scoring, finishing the game with a season-high 17 points. Moore was most impressive at the end of the third quarter, when he finished the period with a flurry by scoring Orlando’s last seven points.

Tobias Harris
6-11 FG | 2-3 3P | 9 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | -4

It was a quiet night for Harris. He got his numbers, but it never felt like he had an impact on the game’s outcome. He was just there. Maybe with Antetokounmpo around, someone that made big plays in crunch time and was a difference-maker in Milwaukee’s win, Bucks fans can move on from the Harris trade (if they haven’t already) now that almost a year has passed.

Milwaukee Bucks

In continuing with this season’s trend, the Magic lost on the road. This time to Milwaukee, owners of the worst record in the NBA. As has been the case throughout the regular season, Orlando didn’t play with the requisite energy and effort needed to win away from home. As a result, the Magic’s road record is now 3-24. Not good.

Feb 18

Preview: Orlando Magic at Milwaukee Bucks


  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Milwaukee Bucks
  • Date: February 18, 2014
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: BMO Harris Bradley Center


  • Magic: 16-38
  • Bucks: 9-43

Probable starters


  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic


  • Brandon Knight
  • Nate Wolters
  • Khris Middleton
  • Ersan Ilyasova
  • Zaza Pachulia

Advanced stats


  • Pace: 93.8 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.9 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.6 (17th of 30)


  • Pace: 91.8 (25th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 99.2 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.4 (30th of 30)

Read about the Bucks


Feb 17

Monday’s Mini-Magic Word

  • Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider says the Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies should make a deal before the deadline. The trade? Arron Afflalo and Jason Maxiell for Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince, and a 2017 first round pick (top eight protected).
  • Rob Mahoney of The Point Forward suggests a swap of his own between the Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves — Jameer Nelson for Shabazz Muhammad and J.J. Barea.
  • Matt Moore of “It’s going to take the league a few weeks to figure out the Magic have become “that dangerous young bottom feeder team you don’t want to run into in a Tuesday trap game.”
  • Orlando plans on continuing to use Victor Oladipo as a combo guard.
  • The Magic are hoping to perform better on the road.

Feb 13

Grades: Memphis Grizzlies 86, Orlando Magic 81

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AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack


Memphis Grizzlies 86 Final
Recap | Box Score
81 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
4-9 FG | 1-3 3P | 4 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | -3

In the game’s closing seconds, Afflalo committed a critical error that hurt the Magic’s chances of winning. With Orlando trailing 80-79, Nelson missed a go-ahead 3-pointer with 39.9 seconds left. Courtney Lee rebounded the ball, raced down the court in transition, and was fouled from behind by Afflalo. Unfortunately for Afflalo, it was a clear path foul. Lee made both free throws and Memphis held on to win.

Nikola Vucevic
6-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 10 REB | 3 AST | 13 PTS | -5

Vucevic had his moments. He had a monstrous block on Nick Calathes late in the first quarter. And Vucevic made a big jumper with the shot clock expiring as the Magic and Grizzlies traded punches in crunch time. But other than that, it was a pedestrian outing for Vucevic. He picked up a double-double, but he also benefitted from Marc Gasol missing most of the second half with a knee injury.

Tobias Harris
4-10 FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +8

The problem isn’t that Harris had a decent performance. The problem is that Tayshaun Prince outplayed him. The same Prince that entered tonight’s game with a 7.7 PER and 42.3 True Shooting percentage — both career-worsts. That can’t happen. Harris isn’t entirely to blame for Prince having one of his best games of the season, but he’s certainly somewhat culpable.

Glen Davis
6-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 STL | 3 REB | 12 PTS | -3

In a battle between two power forwards with negative verticals, Z-Bo won his matchup versus Big Baby. He made two key baskets late in the fourth quarter, a midrange jump shot and a running lefty hook (while also getting away with a traveling violation), that allowed the Griz to escape Orlando with a victory. Davis was outmatched on those plays.

Memphis Grizzlies

This game was not aesthetically pleasing by any means and that’s entirely because of Memphis’ plodding style of play. The Grizzlies rank 11th in defensive efficiency and 30th in pace, so it should come as no surprise that they were able to win a low-scoring affair. The Griz controlled the tempo from the opening tip and got themselves a hard-earned victory.

Feb 12

Video: Victor Oladipo with a fast break dunk

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