Magic Basketball | - Part 39

Jun 29

Jameer Nelson opts out

Via Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel:

Hearing that Jameer Nelson has informed Magic he is opting out [of the final year in his contract and become an unrestricted free agent].

Jun 29

Magic select Kyle O’Quinn in second round of 2012 NBA Draft

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic selected forward-center Kyle O’Quinn in the second round (49th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft.

O’Quinn (6’10”, 240, 3/26/90) appeared in 129 career games at Norfolk State University, averaging 12.5 ppg., 8.5 rpg. and 2.2 bpg. in 27.3 mpg. and shot .553 (610-1,104) from the field during his collegiate career. He was the 2012 Lou Henson recipient as the nation’s top mid-major player. O’Quinn was the 2011-12 MEAC Player of the Year and a two-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Year (2010-11, 2011-12). He was also named MVP of the 2012 Portsmouth Invitational, averaging 11.7 ppg., 11.7 rpg. and 3.7 bpg. in three games.

Jun 28

Earl Clark opts out

Via Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD:

Earl Clark has opted out of the final year of his contract with the Orlando Magic, sources confirm. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent.

Jun 25

Scott Perry named Magic assistant general manager

Via Chris Broussard of ESPN.com:

New Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan made his first hire Monday, bringing Scott Perry to Orlando from the Detroit Pistons, according to league sources.

Perry, who will be the Magic’s assistant general manager, had worked with the Pistons for the past four years under Joe Dumars as the club’s vice president of basketball operations.

May 29

Magic waive Von Wafer

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have announced that the team has waived guard Von Wafer.

Wafer (6’5”, 209, 7/21/85) appeared in 33 games (one start) with Orlando this season, averaging 5.9 ppg. and 1.4 rpg. in 14.2 mpg. He also played in one playoff game, tallying six points and one rebound.

Originally selected in the second round (39th overall) of the 2005 NBA Draft by the L.A. Lakers, Wafer has played in 200 career regular season games with the Lakers, L.A. Clippers, Denver, Portland, Houston, Boston and Orlando, averaging 5.3 ppg. and 1.2 rpg. in 12.4 mpg. Wafer has also appeared in 17 career playoff outings, averaging 6.6 ppg. in 11.3 mpg.

May 24

Dwight Howard named to All-NBA First Team

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard was named to the 2011-12 All-NBA First Team for the fifth consecutive season, the NBA announced today. Joining Howard on the First Team are LeBron James of the Miami Heat, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Howard led the league in rebounding with a career-high 14.5 rpg and field goal percentage (.573), and finished second in double-doubles (43) and third in blocks (2.15 bpg). Howard also averaged 20.6 points and was one of only three players to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

May 24

Magic fans share their favorite Stan Van Gundy memory

Over a span of five years, Stan Van Gundy made a lot of memories during his time in Orlando. On the court, Magic fans got to witness some of the best teams and single-game performances in franchise history, game-winning shots, you name it. Off the court, Van Gundy became known for giving the best press conferences ever. Van Gundy was one-of-a-kind. I asked the Magic fanbase — “what was your favorite memory of the man simply known as SVG?”

Here’s what they had to say.

_______

May 23

Dwight Howard named to NBA’s All-Defensive First Team

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the fourth consecutive season, the NBA announced today. This marks Howard’s fifth overall NBA All-Defensive selection (2007-08 Second Team).

Joining Howard (41 points) on the NBA All-Defensive First Team are forwards LeBron James of the Miami Heat (53 points) and Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder (47 points), and guards Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers (35 points) and Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies (33 points). Ibaka and Allen earn First Team honors for the first time; Allen was an NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection last season.

Howard was the league’s leading rebounder (14.5 rpg) as well as its top defensive rebounder (10.8 drpg). Ibaka paced the league in blocks (3.65 bpg) while Paul led in steals (2.53 spg). The Grizzlies allowed 96.0 points per 100 possessions with Allen on the court compared to 101.7 points per 100 possessions with him off. James paced the Heat in steals (1.9 spg) and defensive rebounds (6.4 drpg), and tied for the team lead in rebounds (7.9 rpg).

May 21

Magic fire Stan Van Gundy; part ways with Otis Smith

Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

Orlando Magic Chief Executive Officer Alex Martins announced today that Stan Van Gundy has been relieved of his duties as head coach. In addition President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Otis Smith and the organization have mutually agreed to part ways.

“On behalf of the DeVos Family, we sincerely appreciate and thank Otis and Stan for all that they have done on and off the floor for the Orlando Magic,” said Martins. “These are the days you dread in this business, but we feel it’s time for new leadership and new voices.”

“They both brought die-hard dedication and an unmatched work ethic on a daily basis,” added Martins. “Their success is well documented, as the Orlando Magic has had the fourth best record in the NBA over the last five years, and entering the playoffs this year the third most playoff wins over that period of time. The disappointment of getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs these past two seasons played a primary role in our decision, as we feel our momentum towards winning a championship has paused. We wish Otis and Stan all the best and we look forward to taking the next step towards winning that championship.”

May 09

Recap: Indiana Pacers 105, Orlando Magic 87

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

BOX SCORE

Turbulent.

If I were given only one word to describe the Orlando Magic’s season, turbulent would be it. And in that turbulence, the Magic persevered.

First it was “The Indecision.” Next it was the Stan Van Gundy vs. Dwight Howard saga. Then it was Dwight’s season-ending back surgery. And lastly it was Orlando’s first round loss to the Indiana Pacers in the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Did I mention there was a lockout during the offseason?

Through it all, the Magic showed a mental toughness and fighting spirit not seen since their Finals run in 2009. The difference, of course, between the two teams is is that the 2012 team was nowhere nearly as talented as their 2009 counterpart. That reality revealed itself in Orlando’s first round playoff series.

Despite Van Gundy coaching a hell of a series and players like Glen Davis giving everything they had, it wasn’t enough. The Pacers were the better team and they made that point loud and clear in Game 5.

And in a season that’s made no sense for the Magic in every sense of the word, it makes all the sense in the world that the script of the second half of Game 5 was nothing like the scripts of Games 1-4.

Make sense?

For a half, it seemed like Game 5 was going to follow the pattern of the previous four games. Indiana jumped out to a big first quarter lead, leading by as many as 15 points in the period. Then the bench got Orlando back into the game midway through the second quarter, with the starters eventually taking the reins and continuing the push up until halftime.

That’s when Game 5 diverted from the script.

Led by the All-Star version of Jameer Nelson, the Magic finally outscored the Pacers in the third quarter (24-19) for the first time in the series.

With a 71-69 lead heading in the fourth quarter, it seemed like Orlando was in prime position to extend their season for at least one more game. But it was to no avail, as Indiana blew the game wide open, dominating on both ends of the floor and outscoring the Magic 36-16 in the period.

All the energy that Orlando spent in the third quarter trying to take the lead away from the Pacers came back to bite them in the fourth quarter. Van Gundy tried to bide the starting lineup some time at the onset of the final period, but Indiana’s second unit — led by Darren Collison — built up a lead quickly. Van Gundy was forced to rush the starters back onto the court, but it was too late. Guys like Davis (who couldn’t even reenter the game) and Nelson were gassed. In turn, Indiana took full advantage with their depth.

Like they had all series long, the Magic fought but it wasn’t enough.

Yes, Orlando lost the series and their season is over. However, in the eyes of Magic fans, the players and coaching staff should be seen as winners for handling such a tumultuous season (especially Davis, who had to deal with the death of his grandmother and biological father) with a high display of character. Well, everyone except for Dwight.

Now?

A franchise-defining offseason awaits for Orlando.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

The game changed, and the series ended, with Collison’s outburst in the fourth quarter of Game 5. He scored 15 of his 19 points in the period, dealing a fatal blow to the Magic’s season.

Defining Moment

After Nelson made a layup in a 1/5 pick-and-roll with Davis to cut Orlando’s deficit to three points with the score at 83-80 and 7:48 left in the fourth quarter, the Pacers finished the game on a 22-7 run.

That Was … No Asterisk

Dwight’s presence would have changed the landscape of the series entirely (Vogel knows that more than anyone), but injuries happen. Indiana deserves credit for beating the team that was placed in front of them.

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