Tag:Orlando Magic
Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:39 am

Report: Final Christmas game to be Magic-Thunder

By Matt Moore

Well, if Dwight Howard gets traded before the season opener, it's going to be quite the coal in Magic fans' stockings, and it'll be on display for all the world. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the fifth and final Christmas Day opening game of the season after Heat-Mavericks, Knicks-Celtics, Bulls-Lakers, and yesterday's report of Clippers-Warriors will be the Magic visiting the Thunder in Oklahoma City. 

It makes a lot of sense for the league. With another open spot, it's only natural that the Thunder, one of the league's most popular and up-and-still-coming teams make the debut. This means that the Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies are the only teams to make the second round who will not play on opening day. Oklahoma City is also the only true "small market" team to play on Christmas Day, though Miami is by the technical definition. 

If Howard is still in Orlando, it should be a competitive game, with Howard matched up against his old nemesis Kendrick Perkins, and the Thunder's perimeter attack faced up against a formidable backcourt when hot in Orlando. Kevin Durant had an "unspectacularly spectacular" season last year, and the shortened season with a team of tight-knit young guys may allow him to have a career year. He'll get his shot to open up right away. Christmas in Oklahoma. What could be better? 

Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:22 am
Edited on: December 2, 2011 8:42 pm

Free Agency Buzz 12.2.11: Howard trade sooner?


Posted by EOB Staff

On a shortened schedule with the conclusion of the NBA lockout, free agency is going to be fast and furious. To keep track of all the wheelings, dealings, rumors, and reports, check Eye on Basketball daily for the Free Agency Buzz. 

Friday, Dec. 2, 2011

7:57 p.m.
7:09 p.m.
  • ESPN.com reports that at least eight teams have expressed interest in free agent forward Josh Howard: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, New Jersey, New Orleans, San Antonio and Washington.
4:51 p.m.
  • Via the Arizona Republic: "Grant Hill, after a lengthy workout at US Airways Center, said there are "good chances" of him re-signing with the Suns."
3:36 p.m.
  • Via the OC Register, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak expects Shannon Brown to get a better FA deal away from Lakers. Neither Theo Ratliff nor Joe Smith will return.
  • Underdog for Marc Gasol? The Indiana Pacers, at least according to ESPN.com. "One team that really hasn't been mentioned as a potential suitor for the Spaniard -- rates Marc Gasol above Nene Hilario and is strongly weighing whether to slap an offer sheet down for him."
1:41 p.m. 
  • Check out the Friday 5 with Ken Berger to get the latest from CBSSports.com's NBA Insider.
  • The Washington Times reports that NBPA vice president Roger Mason says the union will ratify the new Collective Bargaining Agreement on Thursday, one day prior to the opening of training camp and free agency.
12:15 p.m.
  • The undisputed prizes of free agency are Marc Gasol and Nene. Everyone agrees. But No. 3 might surprise you. According to ESPN.com, Arron Afflalo is the third most coveted free agent. The two teams that want him most? The Bulls and Lakers. He's a restricted free agent though and Denver loves him so it'll take a hefty offer to move him out of Denver.
8:45 a.m.
  • Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace told reporters Thursday that failing to re-sign restricted free agent Marc Gasol is "not in (his) wildest dreams." The Grizzlies are expected to match any offer for Gasol. Expect a team like the Pacers to offer up to a max offer for Gasol in an effort to pry him away. Michael Heisley's promise to spend to win is going to be tested.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:04 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 10:36 am

The Magic Gambit: Orlando should trade for Paul

By Matt Moore

Here we are, once again. A small market team reportedly held hostage by their franchise player All-Star and his desire to be traded to the specific team he wants, or else he'll simply depart the home team in free agency, leaving them with nothing. Carmelo Anthony hijacked Denver's season last year, and now Chris Paul is reportedly in a position to do the same to New Orleans. Except when Anthony applied extortion to get his way to Broadway, the Knicks actually had assets to trade to Denver, including Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, and Raymond Felton (who eventually became Andre Miller and a pick).

The Knicks now? Not so much.

The Hornets face an impossible position shold they elect to trade Paul. The teams that have the kind of assets to make the trade worth it if Paul elects to state he will only sign with the Knicks (which as Ken Berger notes, he has not done yet) have the kind of market cache to not need to make such a desperate move, or have no shot at a championship and therefore no reason to risk it all.

A team with young players and picks won't waste them to rent Chris Paul for a season, only to watch him walk out the door. After all, there's only one New Jersey Nets out there. (Kidding, Nets fans! D-Will says you're still under consideration!) And teams with superstar talent like Boston or Los Angeles don't have to gamble to win a title. They can just wait on the next superstar available (or just go after Dwight Howard).

So as it stands, the Hornets have no alternative. They'll just have to take whatever the Knicks are offering. There's talk of just letting Paul walk to avoid the embarrassment of taking on the Knicks' garbage heap, but that's nonsense. You don't accept a loss when you can have a gain. Chauncey Billups and Toney Douglas and a pick in 2045 is better than nothing at all.

But... there is another option. It's outside the box. You're going to think I'm nuts. And I'm not prone to posting about trade ideas. There's another site with a trade machine. You can fill your day with moving every player in the league. Everyone partakes from time to time. But this concept? It's the best possible move for both teams.

Orlando needs to trade for Chris Paul.

Hear me out before you close this browser as fast as humanly possible.

The Magic have every reason to trade for Chris Paul without the promise of an extension. With no consideration of the extension, there's nothing to hold up a deal. The Magic are facing the same cliff the Hornets are, staring down the barrell of Dwight Howard's big-market shotgun. They are burdened with pieces which hold no value once Howard is traded. If Howard leaves, they will wind up with a huge amount of salary and no superstar, a terrible team with a supporting structure holding up nothing. They have two options. Win a championship this year or give up and trade Howard for nothing now. Even a move for Andrew Bogut as Berger has said will be discussed won't keep them in title contention. That's what Howard means to a team. That's what an MVP candidate means.

So the only thing left, as the movie quote goes, is to win the whole friggin' thing. (OK, that's not the line, but it's a family site.)

The Magic would trade some combination of Brandon Bass, J.J. Redick, Ryan Anderson, Daniel Orton, and Jameer Nelson to the Hornets for Paul, along with a first-round pick in 2012. That's right. The Magic could lose both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul for 2013 and have no first-round pick. Disastrous-sounding, I know. Here's why they do the deal.

Here's the best case scenario. Howard and Paul,playing with another star, the best at their position, along with the supporting pieces in Orlando which would still be better than what the Knicks are likely to trot out onto the court (I'd like to remind you that Jared Jeffries started at center in the playoffs for the Knicks), would likely have the best seasons of their careers if healthy. Versus the trio in Miami or the duet in New York, Howard and Paul are a combination of players who actually mesh together. The best pick and roll center in the league with the best pick and roll point guard. A hyper-efficient perimeter shooter with a center who draws doubles every time on the block. A ball-hawking point guard who can create steals and the best defensive presence in the league. It may not be better than Miami or L.A., but it would be a force to be reckoned with. One season to make a run at the title.

This is the reality of the new NBA. If you want to win a title as a small-market, you have to find lightning in a bottle. Maybe there's no way to even that gap thanks to the inherent draws of bigger markets with more flashbulbs, television appearances, parties and endorsement offers. But if you don't have a once-in-his-lifetime talent and get absurdly lucky along the way, this is your best shot. Mortgage everything on one season.

If it works, and the Magic take home the title, the Paul and Howard will have gone through the transformitive process of winning a title together. Fans in Orlando will worship them. Howard will have done what Shaq never has. And they'll be staring at the possibility of not playing together next year. Even if that's not enough to get them to stay, it'll make them think twice. It's Orlando's best shot. There can be no more "really, Dwight, we'll get it right next time" with Howard. His patience has run out. If they don't win the title, there's no chance he returns. There's little chance even if they do, but it's their best shot, and if they win the title, they get that forever. You can't take that title away from the fans, away from the franchise, away from the team.

And if it doesn't work, if they don't win the title? That's over $34 million in cap space expiring for Orlando. Along with the amnesty of Gilbert Arenas, that's $54 million. That's nearly the NBA salary cap they would be gaining in cap space. The typical response to that is "what does it matter, no one will sign there." From that point on, the objective is not to bring in free agents, it's to rebuild through the draft. That 2012 pick missing is a problem? Not really, because Paul and Howard could give 50 percent effort (something they would never do) and still win 40 games, even in the East. The Magic won't have a lottery pick regardless. Which means the pick holds no value to them, but quite a bit to New Orleans. The Magic would be in premium position to tank in 2013, then rebuild through the draft. It's not appealing. You know what's less appealing? Trying to rebuild with Andrew Bynum's decision making, knees, contract, and nothing else. The key when your title run is over is to start over as completely as possible, as quickly as possible. This plan lets them out.

But what about New Orleans? Jameer Nelson, with $15.6 million remaining over two years? Brandon Bass with $8 million? J.J. Redick with over $12 million? What's the upside for them, along with a pick that won't be good? For starters, it's better than what they'll get from New York. It lets them avoid being bullied by the Knicks for nothing. And it's not about what those players give the Hornets, it's what they bring individually on the market. A team in need of a power forward who can score? Bass is a great pickup for a cheap draft pick and an expiring. Teams in desperate need of a shooter? J.J. Redick. Starting point guard gone down with an injury? Call up the Hornets. Jameer Nelson is on the block. It's a flip project. You don't get the pieces to start over, you get the pieces you can use to get the pieces to start over. It's the best way to do exactly the same thing the Magic would be doing. Tanking to start over and hopefully get that All-Star Hall of Famer who doesn't adore the bright lights.

This lets them both out of the pain, it gets the gun off of them. It gives them the dignity. Orlando gets to contend for one more year, the Hornets get to start moving forward now. The Magic go all-in, the Hornets fold and save their chips for a time when the flop doesn't come down so wretched.

Big markets are squeezing the talent out of small markets. But those small markets get to decide how it goes down.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:27 am
Edited on: December 1, 2011 7:12 pm

Free Agency Buzz 12.1.11: Schedule out Tuesday?


Posted by EOB Staff

On a shortened schedule with the conclusion of the NBA lockout, free agency is going to be fast and furious. To keep track of all the wheelings, dealings, rumors, and reports, check Eye on Basketball daily for the Free Agency Buzz. 

Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011

7:11 p.m. ET

  • The Associated Press reports that the NBA is hosting a schedule release television program on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern. So, obviously, the full 2011-2012 regular season schedule should finally be available by Tuesda night at the latest.

6:38 p.m. ET

  • MercuryNews.com reports that the New Orleans Hornets have contacted the Golden State Warriors to express interest in point guard Stephen Curry: "Multiple NBA sources: If the Hornets consider trading Chris Paul, one player they really like is Stephen Curry & have told GSWs that. But again, Warriors would need assurance from Paul that he'd consider re-signing here before going anywhere down that trade path. Doubtful."

2:54 p.m. ET

  • NBA.com reports that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban does not plan to use his Amnesty Clause on center Brendan Haywood. Haywood has more than $45 million remaining on his contract but can always be waived prior to another season in the future.

12:54 p.m. ET

  • Deron Williams will not sign an extension with the Nets and will just plan to play this season out. Big news because that basically means it'll be open season on Williams in 2012 and the Nets will have to convince him he should stay. Not all that surprising news, but still, it's important.

12:40 p.m. ET

  • The Chicago Tribune reports Thursday morning that Caron Butler is working out in Chicago and that a source close to him indicated he hopes to sign there. The Bulls need a scoring shooting guard, which Butler can play in combination with the small forward spot, but Butler has both age, injury, and efficiency issues. His prime is past and he tends to overestimate his offensive ability at this point. Then again, the alternative is Keith Bogans. Additionally, Butler is still an excellent defender with length and know-how, and would fit well with the Thibodeau's scheme. 
  • Timberwolves GM David Kahn said at his presser Thursday morning via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that signing Kevin Love to an extension is a big priority for the club and that he expects Love to be with the club a long time. This is a nice change of pace from the year prior to last year and even start of last season when Love could not find time on the floor, reportedly because of Kahn's hesitance about him. You know, him being the All-Star who had a 30-30 game last year and lead the league in rebounding. 

12:08 p.m. ET
  • Suns GM Lon Babby to the Arizona Republic on free agent Grant Hill: "Grant is an absolute first order of business and top priority. I can't contemplate him not being here. He represents everything we want the franchise to stand for -- on and off the court. He's our ballast."
  • Grizz owner Michael Heisley reiterates what we already know: "Obviously, we want to sit down and try to make a deal with Marc," Heisley told The Commercial-Appeal. "I'm committed to keeping him. I'm committed to winning a championship."
  • The Washington Post reports the Wizards won't amnesty Rashard Lewis: "Two people with knowledge of the Wizards' thinking have said that it is unlikely that the team uses the amnesty provision on Lewis or anyone else before this season. But the Wizards could wait and see what players other teams waive, which could add more free agents to the mix."
  • Ken Berger of CBSSports.com told us that Caron Butler had his list to six teams. Yahoo! Sports reports that list is narrowed even more to just two. "Butler is most attracted to the Bulls because of the chance to play with Derrick Rose and compete for a title, but he would have to take significantly less money to play in Chicago. The Bulls have a stronger need for a shooting guard, and could ultimately spend their money there. Ultimately, that leaves Clippers with an edge over the New Jersey Nets among the suitors with the most significant cap space and a need for a starting small forward."
9:54 a.m. ET
  • Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Lakers' owner Jim Buss has finally relented on keeping Andrew Bynum and now will entertain offers for Bynum if it's "the right deal." That means Dwight Howard is on the Lakers' board, if he wasn't already. The younger Buss has been reluctant to move the young center despite his ongoing knee issues, considering him the franchise player of the future. Berger says that a potential three-way deal could be discussed with Milwaukee sending Andrew Bogut to Orlando, Bynum to Milwaukee and Howard to make even more commercials in L.A. For more on the Lakers' decision regarding which center to build around (assuming they can pull off a trade for Howard with enough assets), read "The Bynum Dilemma." 
  • Yahoo Sports reports that the Bulls could have interest in Wizards' restricted free agent Nick Young. Young is a perfect fit for the Bulls who are badly in need of an upgrade offensively at the shooting guard spot in front of Keith Bogans. But the Wizards are likely to match any offer for Young. A better and cheaper fit might be a trade for sophomore Jordan Crawford, though it's a downgrade in ability.
  • Yahoo also reports that Josh Smith is still interested in a trade from Atlanta. Minnesota was mentioned as a possibility around the trade deadline, which of course makes no sense with Kevin Love and now Derrick Williams, but with the Wolves, what else is new?
Posted on: November 30, 2011 2:34 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 4:22 pm

Magic GM Otis Smith open to trading Dwight Howard

Posted by Ben Golliverotis-smith-dwight-howard

A new NBA season has apparently brought a new approach to managing the future of franchise center Dwight Howard for Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith.

After months of proclaiming that the Magic would not trade Howard under any circumstances, Smith reversed course on Wednesday in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel
“I think you have to look at everything,” Smith told the Orlando Sentinel when he was asked if he'd consider trading Howard.

“I don’t think you can take anything out of consideration. I think, one, you have to talk to your player first. We have to figure out where his head is, not where everyone thinks his head is, and just more figure out where he wants to be. And then you have to make the best decision of what’s in the best interests of the franchise. That’s how I’ve always went about it: to make the best decision that’s in the best interests of the Orlando Magic."
By this point, NBA observers can read through the phrasing without even squinting to get between the lines. 

As we've learned time and again over the last few years in free agency, "take a look at everything" is the magic code phrase to fellow GMs. Translated it means: "Call me with something to look at." The phrase "talk to your players first" translates to "we will give it all we've got but we admit it might not be enough."  And, of course, the phrase "best interests of the team" translates to "we aren't leaving this process empty-handed."

As recently as last April, Smith told the Orlando Sentinel that the team was taking a firm no-trade stance on Howard.

"The answer will be the same as it always is: No."

Obviously, it's impossible to "look at everything" if you hang up the phone immediately.

This development is not all that surprising. Howard spent the lockout traveling the world and making it clear he was keeping his options open. The Magic, like any team, would be foolish to allow a MVP-caliber superstar like Howard walk out the door without receiving a package of young talent, draft picks and salary cap relief in return.

On Tuesday, word surfaced that the New Jersey Nets were prepared to offer a trade package for Howard. The Los Angeles Clippers are also reportedly interested and the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly investigating the matter too.

Earlier Wednesday, Royce Young of CBSSports.com explored the question of how the Magic might keep Howard.
Posted on: November 30, 2011 1:38 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 2:07 pm

Pop Quiz: How can the Magic keep Howard?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... Wait, we're almost to winter. What happened? Who cares, there's a season! The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a couple weeks. To get you ready for the season, we've put together some pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We start our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Can Orlando keep Dwight Howard?

It's been less than a week since the lockout unofficially ended and there have already been 400 reports about Dwight Howard. He's going to Los Angeles. He's going to New Jersey. He's going to Boston.

Have we considered this one: He may not be going anywhere.

OK, so that's pretty unlikely. But Howard, unlike Carmelo Anthony, hasn't actually made it painfully obvious that he doesn't want to stay with the franchise that drafted him. Howard has said things like "I want to be in Orlando," "I love Orlando," "I want to win in Orlando," and so on and so forth.

And on top of that, with all this trade speculation going absolutely crazy already, remember this one: Magic general manager Otis Smith said right before the lockout started that he would NOT trade Howard mid-season. Smith is convinced Howard will stay and re-sign in 2012, so he's going to take that chance.

Smith put it this way about trading Howard: "The answer will be the same as it always is: No."

But he's already changing his tune. He told the Orlando Sentinel this Wednesday:  “I think you have to look at everything ... I don’t think you can take anything out of consideration."

It's a hefty risk to take not to consider trading him, but then again, the Magic are probably right to take it. Howard so far, hasn't indicated he wants to leave. And just because a player says he wants to look at his options, it's not the black spot for a franchise. Maybe he really wants to look at his options. (By the way, Howard himself hasn't used that line yet.)

Proclaiming "no" to all trade offers sounds pretty straightforward. Of course, things change. Opinions change. People change. And if Smith becomes more and more convinced that Howard will be leaving for another team com July 1, 2012, he might reconsider that position. Which it looks like he already is. As Denver's GM Masai Ujiri proved, sometimes it's worth giving up your man and getting the most you can back.

And Smith has an advantage because Howard hasn't necessarily zeroed in on one place he wants to go (yet). Meaning the Magic can get offers from more than just one place.

But that's not the concern for Smith and the Magic. Not yet. They're still focused on keeping their franchise man. And I think they can. I don't take Howard as a liar, as someone that's just saying nice things for the sake of it. I think he wants to stay with the Magic as long as they afford him that possibility. Meaning, he's got to have a team around him that he can win with.

Not for a lack of trying, Smith has tried to give Howard a roster to win with. They've failed miserably for the most part, but he's tried. It really lines up almost exactly the same as Danny Ferry's efforts in Cleveland to give LeBron a roster he could win with. Gilbert Arenas was a failure. Hedo Turkoglu as well. Jason Richardson was and still is a nice piece, but he didn't have a favorable role.

What the Magic need is a point guard that can relieve pressure and open up the game for Howard and a go-to scorer that can shoulder the load late in games. Arenas and Turkoglu were supposed to combine to be those people last year and it didn't happen.

But if Smith can give Howard a team he likes and one that can truly compete, I honestly think there's a chance he re-signs. He's got a brand new arena to play in that's one of the nicest in the league, Orlando is a nice market and the team has been solid. It's just about impressing him enough to convince him to commit to a future with them. It's like a boyfriend trying really hard to impress his girlfriend that he knows is too good for him. That's what Smith has to do. He's got to woo Howard this season. Roses, chocolates, a roster that can make it to The Finals -- you know, that stuff.

Last season's playoff exit might've been a major nail in the coffin, but there's a chance for redemption this season.

Unless you trade him.
Posted on: November 30, 2011 12:11 pm

J.J. Redick gets ready for the basketball season

Posted by Royce Young

All summer long, we've seen players try and stay in shape for an upcoming NBA season. With the lockout's uncertainty, players played in pickup games, flag football games, charity games or overseas games. Or they just tweeted about how they were working out.

But all those videos are all glamor. All dunks and alley-oops. What about the fundamentals? What about the little things? That's what J.J. Redick is freshening up to.

Stan Van Gundy probably needed a cigarette after watching that. Chest passes AND bounce passes? Woo-wee.

Redick is ready for the season. And if everyone else's summer workout vidoes are any indication, while J.J.'s dropping layups and fundamental thumbs-out chest passes, the rest of the league will be a step behind with just their dunking and 3-pointers.

Posted on: November 30, 2011 1:11 am
Edited on: November 30, 2011 1:41 am

Rumor: Nets to offer package for Dwight Howard?

Posted by Ben Golliver


The feeding frenzy for Superman is now officially in full effect.

ESPN.com reports that the New Jersey Nets, having traded the house for All-Star point guard Deron Williams before last season's trade deadline, are preparing to make another bold move in an effort to acquire Orlando Magic center All-Star Dwight Howard.
The New Jersey Nets are prepared to offer a trade package featuring Brook Lopez and two future first-round picks to acquire Dwight Howard before the Orlando Magic center becomes a free agent in July 2012, according to sources close to the situation.

Sources told ESPN.com this week that, to sweeten the proposal, New Jersey would likewise offer to take back the contract of Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu, who has three seasons left on his contract worth just under $35 million. 
The Nets have loads of cap space and will have even more if they proceed with waiving forward Travis Outlaw via the amnesty clause, as is widely expected. Their interest in Howard is obvious. He is by far the best center in the NBA, he is incredibly durable, he is a force on both ends, he is entering the prime of his career and he is a marketer's dream. His financial impact on a team like the Nets would be enormous. He averaged 22.9 points, 14.1 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 1.4 assists, 1.4 steals and shot 59.3 percent from the field last year. He should have been the league's MVP. He would make an excellent inside force for any point guard, let alone Williams, one of the game's best floor generals.

For the Magic, this is an interesting and not-totally-uncompelling opening offer for Howard, the type of package that hits all three major categories: a quality and proven young piece, major financial relief and draft pick building blocks. A similar trade package saw the Denver Nuggets send Carmelo Anthony and expensive point guard Chauncey Billups to the New York Knicks for draft picks, younger players and cash.

The Magic are way over the salary cap and lack the ability to add truly meaningful pieces to a roster that lost in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs and lacks a supporting star for Howard. This trade would bring in Lopez to fill the mammoth hole that will be left by Howard's departure, an impossible task, but Lopez, 23, averaged 20.8 points and 6.0 rebounds last season, so it could be worse. One complication: Lopez's deal expires after the 2011-2012 season and he will likely command a fair sum when it comes time for him to make a deal.

Any Howard trade will need to clear out Turkoglu too, as he is Orlando's second most ridiculous contract. The Magic would be set up pretty quickly for a post-Howard rebuilding by getting out of the $34 million guaranteed to Turkoglu through 2013-2014 and waiving guard Gilbert Arenas via the amnesty clause. None of the other contracts currently on their books are particularly outrageous and the Magic has no other major salary committments past 2012-2013 other than Turkoglu. The ground-up method is generally considered the best way to bounce back from a departure of a major superstar. This type of deal would get them there.

Still, the price the Magic will be able to command for Howard, assuming they relent in their effort to sign him to a contract extension and agree to pursue trade possibilities, should be significantly greater. That said, this isn't not the worst opening bid.

One thing is absolutely certain: many teams will look to top this reported offer in the coming months. And one major thing is uncertain: How would Howard feel about playing for a team that has gone a combined 104-224 in the last four seasons?
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com