Tag:Orlando Magic
Posted on: November 29, 2011 1:22 pm

Report: Celtics considering moving Rondo?

By Matt Moore 

The Boston Celtics are looking for one more title run with this group of All-Stars.

And they may be willing to sacrifice one of the Big 4 to get there.

In the ESPN report detailing Chris Paul's desire to join the Knicks, no matter how difficult that may be, another piece of info slipped in. This time, it was about the Celtics, and specifically, Rajon Rondo. From ESPN:
While Boston is not shopping Rajon Rondo, it would be open to trading him in the right deal, sources say. The Celtics feel they need more scoring to take the load off Paul Pierce.
via Chris Paul and New York's hopes - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN.

It's not the first time it's been suggested that Rondo could be on the block. He's consistently been mentioned as being included in talks, despite being one of the perennial league leaders in assist rate. Experts still have their doubts about him because of his inconsistent shooting and volatile personality. But there are some repors which indicate that this just isn't going to happen.

The Celtics moving Rondo would be more likely to occur in a move to acquire Chris Paul from the Hornets. With their projected available space in 2012, assuming they don't break the bank on Green or re-sign any of the big three to a massive extension, they should be in line to nab at least one major free agent, especially if Paul Pierce retires or is given the amnesty. A trade featuring Rondo, the Clippers' protected pick they acquired in the Perkins trade, and pieces might make Boston a great fit for Paul.

But it should be clear, the Celtics' management still believes very firmly in Rondo and what he's helped them accomplish. It's unthinkable that a point guard of Rondo's caliber would be traded, but that's the environment we operate in when Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are (potentially) on the market.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 12:59 pm

Report: The Clippers are going hard after Howard

Posted by Royce Young

Ever wonder what it would look like for a team to score 100 points, all coming on dunks? That could be your 2012-13 Los Angeles Clippers if they get what they want.

According to ESPN.com, the Clips are in hot pursuit of Howard and will do anything to get him, except trade Blake Griffin:
"While the Clippers like Chris Paul, sources say they like Howard even more. The Clippers have made it clear to executives throughout the league that they will do whatever it takes -- outside of trading Blake Griffin -- to get Howard, who will become a free agent at the same time as Paul, either this season or next summer. So they will not move the players they'll try to use to get Howard to New Orleans for Paul."
A frontcourt of Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin? Salivate with me, NBA junkies.

"Big market team really, really wants Dwight Howard!" really shouldn't be big news. It's kind of obvious that there will be a lot of teams interested in trying to claim 2012's top free agent prize.

But, what is interesting, is the fact that the Clips would be willing to move anyone off the rosters sans Griffin to get Howard. What do they have that could entice the Magic? Because "anything but Blake" would include Eric Gordon. And Eric Gordon's a very, very good player. Averaged 20 points a game last season and that was with him injured. I'm a firm believer that Gordon could be a 25-point-a-game player.

So Gordon, plus DeAndre Jordan (a blossoming defensive big man), a first-round pick and someone for cap relief like Chris Kaman (who has a $12.7 million expiring deal) or Mo Williams. Not a terrible deal, right? Probably as good as what the Magic could get from anyone else.

My question is, is this smart for the Clips? Obviously Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin teaming inside would be insane, but the Clippers have something working right now with a duo of Gordon and Griffin. That's a solid young core, plus Jordan who is becoming a really nice compliment alongside Griffin. Add a dynamic point guard -- and who knows, maybe that's Eric Bledsoe -- and a good wing scorer and you've got a potential playoff team.

If you give it all up to get Howard, you've got maybe the best frontcourt in NBA history, but you're also missing players to pass them the ball or make a shot on a kickout.

It might not make the most sense in the world in terms of structuring a basketball team, but good lord, what a frontcourt. I'm pretty sure that tandem would make YouTube explode.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 9:31 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 10:46 am

Report: Lakers want Chris Paul AND Dwight Howard

By Matt Moore

The Los Angeles Lakers have a championship core. This same group of players were responsible for two out of the past three titles, and even without the services of Phil Jackson, there's every reason to believe that this team as-is can win another title with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum as its engine. But what comes after? The Lakers have begun looking to the future. They don't just want to stay competitive towards the end of Kobe Bryant's career, they want to transition seamlessly into their next phase of dominance.

And that means acquiring one of the big free agents in 2012, Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. Except they don't want one of those two. They reportedly want both.

From Mark Heisler, who covered the Lakers as a beat writer before taking up with SheridanHoops.com:
When the NBA couldn’t get a full ban on sign-and-trades, it left his Lakers in position to pull off a coup they’re dreaming of, which would make signing LeBron James pale by comparison.

If Dwight Howard and Chris Paul wind up on the market — a safe assumption as far as I’m concerned — the Lakers could offer Andrew Bynum for Dwight and Pau Gasol for CP3, or vice versa.

Nothing says that they will be enough to land either player, but it should put the Lakers in the running for both.

Oh, and Dwight likes the Lakers. Asked which All-Star he would most like to play with last season, he answered “Kobe Bryant.”
via Lakers will look to acquire Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.

Just to review. We just had a five-month lockout because teams were upset about large market teams acquiring multiple stars, scavenging small markets and leaving them with nothing. And the Los Angeles Lakers and their 17 professional basketball championships are aiming for both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Glad we lost those 16 games over this.

There are a large numbrer of reasons why this is unlikely to happen. For starters, Chris Paul reportedly has New York as his first choice. Secondly, the biggest advantage the Lakers have is the assets to trade for Paul which the Knicks don't have. But the new CBA does have one new stipulation to prevent such dealings, the extend-and-trade adjustments. While sign-and-trade restrictions don't take effect until 2013, early reports indicate that extend-and-trade restrictions are immediate. The changes say that the same setup that Carmelo Anthony used to get his way to New York and get the extra year on his deal via Bird Rights is different.

The changes to the CBA suggest that teams that extend-and-trade a player can only extend him for three, versus the maximum four-year extension or five year re-sign he gets for staying with the home team. The only way around that is a six-month waiting period. The Hornets could re-sign Paul to the full Bird rights extension and then trade him, but they would have to wait six months. But a more likely scenario would see the following scenario: the Lakers can trade for Paul in the final year of his contract and then extend him, but that must be done after six months. Which means, they have to acquire him six months prior to his free agency beginning on July 1. Which means they have to acquire him by... January 1. With a season starting on the 25th. Not exactly a lot of time to pull that off.

All of these elements are in place for Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams (should the Nets just give up for some reason) as well.

The most likely scenario involves Paul entering free agency, and then signing a four year contract with Los Angeles or New York. But if the Lakers were to acquire Paul prior to free agency, it would give them an extra year to offer Paul, and it's hard to imagine him passing that up. Max contracts with bird-rights are five years, as opposed to the four-year counting option-year of an extension.

But if the Lakers want to acquire either player (or both, if we like fantasies), then they're going to need to trade some of that core. Specifically, Jim Buss would have to give up on his pet project, Andrew Bynum. Lamar Odom and pieces might be able to acquire Chris Paul, but there's no sense in bringing in Howard and pairing him with Bynum. Either playing power forward would be clunky and awkward. Where this leaves Pau Gasol is yet to be seen.

Hornets fans have to love all this. LOVE IT.
Posted on: November 18, 2011 6:32 pm

3-on-2 Fast Break: Dwight Howard vs. Chris Paul

By EOB Staff

The 3-on-2 Fast Break is three bloggers debating two players. We evaluate them on three different questions to provide context. So that would actually be 3-on-2-on-3, but that doesnt' happen in basketball, so we're stuck with this. This week's topic is Chris Paul vs. Dwight Howard.

Queston 1: Which player would you take right now to start a franchise with?

Royce Young:  Dwight Howard. And I'm not just picking him because of the "big men win championships" cliche that's not at all true. He's a year younger but also hasn't had to deal with any major injuries. He's consistent and with his body, he's not really all that likely to ever suffer a significant injury. It's hard to determine who the better basketball player is because they're so much different, but some of it certainly depends on if you value a center or point guard more. Howard's a force on both ends and while CP3 is the best point man in the game, Howard impacts everything. And I don't think he's a finished product yet.

Ben Golliver: The single most underrated statistic put up by Dwight Howard is that he has missed just seven regular season games in his seven-year NBA career. That's ridiculous durability, especially for a player his size, and it's a key determining factor when you're deciding who to select as a franchise building block. Your franchise guy has to be marketable, he has to be reliable, he has to have a good head on his shoulders, he needs to both offense and defense and he needs to log heavy minutes. Howard aces those criteria and, much like Paul, he makes role players better simply by his presence. Put all of that together and consider Howard's age -- 25 -- and Paul's history of knee issues, and it's no contest.

Matt Moore: Dwight Howard's healthy. That's a huge element. Paul's meniscus situation is enough to warrant the reigning Defensive Player of the Year taking this one. Howard is the one you have to build around, given his all-around ability and health. But to add a little bit of a shakeup, I'd argue that you need more built around Howard due to his limitations in the post. A mediocre offense around Howard? That team would get knocked out in the first... oh, I see you've heard that joke before, with the punchline being "... the Hawks!" 

Question 2:  Which player do you take right now if you want to win a championship as soon as possible? 

Royce Young:  Howard. It's simple: Howard needs a whole lot less on a roster than Paul does. CP3 makes everyone around him exponentially better, but still, he needs four other players on the floor with him that can score, defend and rebound. I mean, look at that Orlando team that Howard dragged into the NBA Finals. Hedo, Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, J.J. Redick -- not exactly a group of All-Stars. Give Dwight Howard something better than Vince Carter or Hedo Turkoglu on the wing and you're really just a player or two away from a title. CP3 can carry a team, but he's easier to stop than Howard. 

Ben Golliver: Although Orlando's 2010-2011 Magic campaign -- especially how it ended -- was discouraging and the rise of the Miami Heat was doubly deflating, Howard's Magic are never far from competing for a title. Five straight playoff trips, one visit in the Finals and another to the Eastern Conference Finals is a hell of a run for your team to go on when its star is between 20 and 25 years old. By comparison, Paul has won just one playoff series in his career and the Hornets have missed the playoffs three times in his career. Howard and Paul excel on both ends of the court but the gap between Howard and the rest of the NBA's centers is bigger than the BRI gulf. Paul is an elite, proven point guard but there are others at or near his level. Howard is in a class by himself and his game is predicated on doing winning things: shooting a high percentage, rebounding at both ends and playing active defense.

Matt Moore: Chris Paul. I'm extremely nervous about this, given that elite point guards, despite the glut of them in the league, have not won a title since Isiah (unless you count Tony Parker, who wasn't the best player on that team). But Chris Paul can do things and be unsolvable in a way Dwight Howard cannot. The model for Howard is pretty simple. Chris Paul is more complex. If you put Chris Paul in a Game 7 with everything on the line, you can count Paul's going to put in a heroic effort. Dwight Howard had the incredible Game 7 vs. Boston in 2009, we're not talking a huge gap here. But I believe Paul's combination of scoring, passing, and key play ability sets him up as the better option to win a title. Howard is solvable, even if that solution is the Hawks': "Let Howard go bananas, foul him a lot, and live with it as long as you shut down the rest of the team." With Chris Paul the answer is "hope the rest of his team is made up of mediocre players and he's missing his near-All-Star power forward." You have to go with the more complete player. 

Question  3: Which one do you take to win you a game in the 4th quarter? 

Royce Young: Chris Paul. Honestly, I'm not sure I'd want ANY player in the league more than Chris Paul to win my team a game in the fourth quarter. First, he's always got the ball in his hands. He's making every decision. He doesn't have to rely on anyone to get him involved. He scores points without even shooting. CP3 carried his Hornets against the Lakers in the playoffs by owning the fourth. Dwight Howard disappears from crunch time, but it's not always his fault. He has to have someone get him the ball, while CP3 can take over all on his own. 

Ben Golliver: Dwight Howard is a 59.8 percent career free throw shooter. Chris Paul is an 85.3 percent free throw shooter. I don't want to make that my sole determining factor but it's definitely a major deciding factor given that both players are perennial All-Star candidates who have been in their fair share of big moments. Combine Paul's dead-eye freethrowing and his excellent decision-making, play-making, and his ability to score off the dribble and from deep, and you've got a prototypical late-game point guard assassin. There's no flaw there. Howard's still got the Achilles Heel and it will dog him until he gets his numbers up or -- like Shaquille O'Neal -- wins a title to silence the detractors.  

Matt Moore: When I say Dwight Howard, you're going to flip out. And I get that. Bear in mind that if you ask me "who do you take to win you a game in the last five minutes of a tied ballgame in the playoffs" I'm going to go Chris Paul all day, every day, for the reasons my colleagues noted. But There are another seven minutes in the game. And in a close game in the fourth quarter, you know what you want to avoid? A tied game in the final five minutes. You want to build a lead, take the lead, extend the lead, remove all hope. You don't want it coming down to roleplayers hitting miracle threes. You don't want it coming down to wing players for either side trading off-dribble ISO pull-up jumpers. You want it done. And the way to do that is to build a lead. A great way to do that is to gather fouls. Howard's free throw shooting is a nightmare, one I've ragged on and have argued is a viable reason not to vote him as MVP last season (thought I thought he was worthy of sharing the honor with Derrick Rose). But drawing fouls throughout the final frame puts pressure on the other team and forces in worse defensive personnel.  Howard shuts down the opponent and puts them on the bench. I want Howard for the whole final frame, even if I don't trust him with the shot or at the line inside five minutes. It's a subtle difference, but an important one.
Posted on: November 3, 2011 4:43 pm

The Biggest Game of the Night We're Missing: 11.3

Posted by Ben Golliver


No doubt, Wednesday's season opener at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks would have been big. But the Miami Heat's home opener at American Airlines Arena on Thursday night against the Orlando Magic would have promised even more hype, even more storylines.

The bitterness and resentment between Florida's two Eastern Conference powers is well-documented. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy took a full clip worth of shots at the formation of the Big 3 last season. Magic center Dwight Howard spent half the lockout making fun of LeBron James' half-head of hair. The Heat never offered that much of a reply to the sniping, if only because they were too busy enjoying their new standing as "Big Brother" in the relationship. 

But last season's results casts a major shadow over this budding rivalry. Miami won 58 games and made it to the Finals; Orlando took a step back, winning 52 games and exiting in the first round of the playoffs. The Heat's star appears to be rising forever; Orlando's threatens to dim, resting entirely on whether Howard decides to re-up with the only professional team he has known or whether he decides to hijack his way out of town like Carmelo Anthony during the season or leave during summer 2012 free agency like LeBron James and Chris Bosh did in 2010.

Will Howard follow the lead of his hated rivals, in order to better position himself to dethrone them, or won't he? Will his patience with his revolving door supporting cast last, or won't it?

That off-court drama would be the backdrop for this game, which happens to feature the two most dominant players in the game today -- James and Howard -- plus a third All-NBAer in Dwyane Wade and Bosh, everyone's favorite lightning rod punching bag, who was last season crumpling to his knees crying after losing to the Dallas Mavericks. All four of those stars are at or near their respective primes.

The team's split 2-2 last season, playing three fairly competitive games after Miami held Orlando to 70 points in a late-October laugher. A repeat Heat rout on national television here wouldn't have come as a surprise.
Posted on: November 3, 2011 12:44 pm

Orlando arena workers turn to non-profit for help

Posted by Royce Young

We've all heard or at least thought about the collateral damage done during the lockout. Downtown economies, restaraunts, bars and the thousands of arena employees that make game nights possible.

It's been easy to invoke those employees as a reason to settle the lockout, whether it's legit concern or not. Players have taken to Twitter to apologize to them about them missing paychecks, but you don't really see them doing much about it (Danny Granger excluded).

The blight of the arena worker has been something people talk about, a topic of this lockout. But how is it really affecting them? Like more than just saying, 'What about the arena workers!?!" how is the lockout hurting those that rely on that second (or primary) job for income to get by. Consider this story from the Orlando Sentinel:

In addition to some concerts and a few other events, about 1,000 people worked inside the arena on Orlando Magic game days and game nights. Those folks were employed as security guards, ushers, ticket-takers, vendors, cashiers, parking-lot attendants and waitresses and waiters. Some jobs paid minimum wage, but that income often supplemented the money people earned at their day jobs.

But the ongoing NBA lockout is taking its toll.

“These are the people that greet us with a smile,” said Pastor Scott George, who runs the Community Food & Outreach Center, a nonprofit that is offering help to game-night workers.

“They hand us our ticket. They hand us our hot dog and Coke. They clean up after we leave. And, now, they are the forgotten people that no one is talking about.”

George estimated that between 40 and 75 game-night workers have used the Community Food & Outreach Center’s services over the last few weeks. He said he’s unsure of the exact number because some game-night workers are afraid that if they say something, they might not be able to go back to their jobs when the lockout ends.

If there had been no work stoppage, the Magic would have played four preseason exhibitions at home in October and would have hosted their regular-season opener last night.

That’s five nights of work — and, now, five nights of lost wages.

You see that? This is real. This isn't just talk or PR tactic, make-you-feel-bad stuff. This is really happening. Arena workers in Orlando are going to an outreach center to get food for their families because they lost their jobs. ARE YOU KIDDING ME NBA?

Like I said, we all have heard the pleas to think of the poor little ticket taker man, but nobody really thinks about him. Nobody really considers what that person might be going through. Well, in Orlando, that poor little ticket taker man is having to go to an outreach center to get enough food to cover his losses. Because billionaire NBA owners and millionaire NBA players can't settle on how to split up some $4 billion in revenue, that arena employee has to live with the stress of not knowing where he/she is going to get food for their family.

Awesome job everyone involved. You should be real proud of this.
Posted on: October 29, 2011 6:30 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 6:34 pm

Dwight Howard joins 'Tebowing' craze

Posted by Ben Golliverdwight-howard-tebowing

The latest pose-and-take-a-picture craze to hit the internet is known as "Tebowing."

Named after former University of Florida and current Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, it follows in the well-travelled footsteps of planking, a practice by which the planker lays down flat on his or her stomach somewhere funny and takes a picture.

Contrary to some reports, Tebowing does not refer to holding onto the football too long and unnecessarily taking a sack. Instead, the Tebower simply poses for a picture by getting down on one knee while clutching a fist to the head, so as to bow down in prayer at a random moment. Tebow, a deeply religious Christian, is known to strike the pose pretty much whenever he gets the chance during football games.

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, who engaged in a fairly epic planking war with teammate Gilbert Arenas this summer, has wasted no time in getting in on the newest craze, snapping a picture of himself kneeling and praying in a restaurant and uploading it to Twitter. Howard, like Tebow, is a devout Christian.
Ironically, Howard has Magic fans down on their knees praying that he won't force his way out of Orlando via trade during the 2011-2012 season or bolt to a bigger market during the summer 2012 free agency period.

RELATED: Dwight Howard planks with 100 fans in China
Posted on: October 17, 2011 12:27 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2011 12:36 pm

Magic fans, you're going to want to sit down

By Matt Moore

Dwight Howard spoke with Scott Raab of Esquire for an interview. It's kind of surprising, given that Raab is such a vocal and often times vulgar critic of LeBron James and how he handled his free agency. But Howard's comments are going to light up the NBA world like a Christmas tree, even as the season continues to be imperiled with the loss of games. Howard spoke about free agency, and his time in Orlando. Magic fans, you may need to pour youerselves something stiff first. From Esquire:  
SR: Do you think that the drive to represent, on an iconic level, will be a factor in your free agency? Do you see yourself in a much larger market?

DH: There's more you can do in a bigger place. I'm stuck in a tough position because I feel like right now, where I'm at, I've done so much. And I just don't know what else I can do. I can't live for everybody else. I don't know what decision I'm gonna make as of right now. It's been crazy. Everybody wants me to come here, come play here, come to our team, do this. It's a great feeling, though, to be wanted.

SR: You're gone. I can feel it.

DH: The toughest part for me is the city — the people. They've got burgers named after me in Orlando, they've got a Web site saying, "Please stay." I love the people in the city. I've literally sat on the bench with a towel on my head crying, because I feel the passion in the stands. I just think about what's going to be best for what I want to accomplish in my life. And I don't want that door to close on me, wherever that door is. I don't want it to close.

SR: Just don't do it as an hour-long ESPN special. Please.

DH: That's not me.
via Dwight Howard Quotes on Fatherhood, Children and More - Esquire.

That's funny. It's as if a million souls cried out in terror and were suddenly sent to the lottery for the next ten years. 

This is what most of us were expecting and Magic fans were in denial of. It's Howard acknowledging his time in Orlando with sadness, and talking about how "he doesn't know what else he can do."

Panic! at the Walt Disney World Resort. 

The season hasn't started. The lockout's far from over. Free agency is months away. Two seasons (Winter, Spring) in fact. But already the narrative for next summer is in full gear. And Howard just dropped a can of nitro fuel in the tank and watched this thing light up. The big question for the next year is going to be: Will Dwight Stay? 

And from here, it sure doesn't look like it. 
The question that's starting to be formed in Orlando isn't about whether Howard stays, but who's to blame? There's a trend rising to pin it on Otis Smith, the same guy that built the Finals-contender, but who also traded for Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas inside of a day and who gave bad contracts to marginal players while adding those albitrosses. Howard leaving Orlando could not only mean the franchise losing its second franchise center in 15 years, but the complete tear down of the Magic organization. And they just got that nice new building, too.

The All-Star Game is scheduled to be in Orlando this year. If we have a season, that's going to be one fun week to watch Howard deal with the questions. Poor guy. He won't know what else he can do.

(HT: SBNation
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com