Tag:Orlando Magic
Posted on: July 22, 2010 5:59 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2010 11:11 am
 

Offseason Reviews: Southeast Division

Posted by Matt Moore

With only a handful of free agents left on the market and with summer league over, we thought we'd take a look at how various teams did over the summer in negotiating their moves.

Atlanta Hawks

Added: Joe Johnson (re-signed for eleventy billion dollars) Jordan Crawford (draft)
Lost: Josh Childress (didn't really have him anyway, but technically, they lost the rights to him in trade)

Philosophy: "Self-delusion is all the rage this summer!"

What are you going to do if you're Atlanta in six years? When Joe Johnson's crossover is no longer deadly and you're paying him $20 million? The goal, apparently, is to try and contend for a title in the next three years, hoping Al Horford and Josh Smith keep developing, Jeff Teague turns into a starter-caliber point guard, and maybe figure out some big name free agent you can sign on the cheap, like Shaq, that will put you over the top. It's not that the Hawks are a bad team. Far from it. While everyone was mocking them in the mid-00's for stockpiling forwards, they've either developed them into quality starters or raised their trade value enough to move them for pieces or cap relief. But this summer, they have only made one signature move, and that was spending way too much for Joe Johnson.

The vast number of ways in which the Johnson signing was poorly conceived is staggering. The full max, all six years? That much money? The roster had potential to really contend, but instead, the Hawks simply avoided the great collapse of losing a high usage player with low efficiency. Johnson can take over a game like few in the league. But he also simply isn't worth the money, and it's hamstrung their franchise for the future.

Grade: D+

Charlotte Bobcats

Added: Shaun Livingston (free agency), Dominic Maguire (free agency), Matt Carroll (trade), Erick Dampier (trade), Eduardo Najera (trade)
Lost: Raymond Felton (free agency), Alexis Ajinca (trade), Tyson Chandler (trade)

Philosophy: "Slight derivatives"

Did the Bobcats get better? Did they get worse? Did they stay the same? No, those aren't rhetorical. I'm asking. Because looking at that list above, I really can't be sure. They lost an underrated point guard who worked hard but never could stick with Larry Brown. They added a recovering injury-plagued point guard who can't seem to stick with any coach. They lost a veteran seven foot center with wear and tear on him and a large contract. They brought in an aging behemoth with wear and tear issues and a big contract. And they got Dominic Maguire, so they've got that going for them.

Larry Brown and Rod Higgins have built a program of improvement through trade and have kept up with this offseason. Adding Livingston provides a high-upside, low-risk replacement for Felton and they managed to trim some long-term money off the books. But you can't look at the roster and say they've improved dramatically. Status quo for the Cats. Underrated moves that still don't move them up dramatically in the NBA world.

Grade: C-

Orlando Magic


Added: J.J. Redick (re-signed), Chris Duhon (free agency), Quentin Richardson (free agency), Daniel Orton (draft), Stanley Robinson (draft)
Lost: Matt Barnes (free agency)

Philosophy: "The fear of losing out."

Marcin Gortat wants a bigger role. Benched. Brandon Bass wants a bigger role. Benched. J.J. Redick wanted a bigger role and more money. Offer from the Bulls matched and benched. The Magic seem to really believe in this roster, and it shows in them re-signing Redick and only addint marginal adjustments at other positions. Their draft essentially yielded them a raw, underdeveloped player who has little to no chance of getting playing time (Orton) and another wing to be buried deep. They didn't lose anyone, which means the luxury tax and the Magic are best of friends, especially after matching the $20 million offer for Redick from the Bulls.

Without any adjustments, and with how much better the East has gotten, it's hard to argue that the Magic have improved by not subtracting. Chris Duhon might be considered an upgrade over Jason Williams, but we're talking inches, not miles, and Quentin Richardson brings better three point shooting than Matt Barnes . That may be the best addition the Magic made, adding another shooter that provides an alternative reason not to play Vince Carter when he goes in a hole. But all in all, for a franchise that has spent the money to contend, they simply haven't done enough to get there.

Grade: C-

Miami Heat


Added: LeBron James (free agency sign-and-trade), Chris Bosh (free agency sign-and-trade), Dwyane Wade (re-signed), Mike Miller (free agency), Udonis Haslem (re-signed), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (re-signed), James Jones (re-signed), Joel Anthony (re-signed), Jamaal Magloire (re-signed), Juwan Howard (free-agency), Dexter Pittman (draft), Jarvis Varnado (draft), Da'Sean Butler (draft),

Lost:
Jermaine O'Neal (free agency), Quentin Richardson (free agency), Michael Beasley (trade), Daequan Cook (trade)

Philosophy:
"So, that went pretty well."

That's how you build a title contender. Any questions? The Heat managed to add all three of the top free agents this summer, fill out the roster with veteran talent that knows how to win and supports their Big 3, and did it all in a little less than fourteen days. Think about that. The Heat remade their team into a title contender in less time than it takes for your milk to go bad. It was a sweeping coup, one that has to lead people to believe it probably took much longer to orchestrate (cough*tampering*cough). What could the Heat have done better? Well, not allowing for the act to paint them as the most obnoxious triumverate in modern sports would have been nice. Other than that, it's hard to argue Pat Riley's anything but a genius. Getting Quentin Richardson would have been nice, but adding Mike Miller more than makes up for it. Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Joel Anthony gives the team some size to go along with the incredible talent they have. From when once mortals stood, now there be gods. Geez, Riley, save some for the rest of the class.

Grade: A

Washington Wizards


Added: John Wall (draft), Kirk Hinrich (trade), Trevor Booker (draft), Yi Jianlian (trade), Hamady N'Diaye (draft), Hilton Armstrong (free agency), Kevin Seraphin (draft)
Lost: Randy Foye (free agency), Mike Miller (free agency), Shaun Livingston (free agency)

Philosophy:
"Let's see how this goes."

One thing is absolutely certain. John Wall is the future. Everything is built around Wall as the future. He is the singular sure thing. Other than that, sussing out a pattern that goes beyond "keep it flexible, stupid" is tough. The team acquired Kirk Hinrich in one of the more baffling moves we've seen. Hinrich brings a veteran defensive guard that can play on or off ball, back up Wall, and anchor the defense. But he's also an underwhelming shooter (oh, where, oh, where have you gone, 2005 shooting average?) and doesn't seem like an ideal fit next to Wall. Neither does the incumbent shooting guard, Gilbert Arenas , who you may remember from such films as "The Single Worst Offseason Meltdown in the History of the League" and "Little Blogger, Get Your Gun, Then Bring It To The Arena."

Arenas' ability to play next to Wall will decide his future in Washington. No longer is the team willing to build around him. If he can slide into an off-ball shooter that complements Wall? Terrific. Redemption abounds. Provided he stays out of trouble, of course. If he can't, he's trade bait. He may be already. The addition of Yi Jianlian seems like a "let's see what this does" kind of tinkering. The team still needs a long-term solution at small-forward, and with Andray Blatche recovering from injury, there are questions all over in the frontcourt. When you realize that JaVale McGee seems like the player best adapted to mix with John Wall, you know you've got a ways to go in the rebuilding process.

To evaluate? They failed to make any signings or trades that wow you, but they also managed to not screw up the #1 overall pick and cleaned some salary off the books for the future. Not a bad day at the office. And that's better than last year.

Grade: B-
Posted on: July 22, 2010 12:40 pm
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Posted on: July 21, 2010 6:37 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 7:25 pm
 

Who's in the market for CP3?

Posted by Matt Moore

With Ken Berger's report that Chris Paul is adamantly requesting a trade , we need to start exploring the possibilities. The odds are substantially low that Paul gets moved despite his feelings, simply based on the extreme difficulty in packaging the necessary assets to convince Hornets management to pull the trigger. But with a player of Paul's stature on the market (whether his team likes it or not), we need to examine the possibilities. So who's a realistic candidate to make a move for CP3?

Orlando Magic: This one's been out there for a while. The Magic have the right combination of talent, contracts, and assets to maneuver into position for Paul. They can send back a versatile shooting point guard to help with the transition of Darren Collison. They can send Vince Carter and his expiring contract, along with a significant player at shooting guard to pair with Marcus Thornton. They still have draft picks in the can, have expendable players with talent like Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass. It puts an elite player next to Dwight Howard and matches the upgrade the Heat have made, and potentially gives them an advantage over the Celtics in terms of talent. The question would be if Paul could function inside the unique spacing the Magic employ, which primarily functions on a series of swing passes. There's no question he'd be dominant in the pick and roll with Howard.

New York Knicks:
I know. I'm nuts. Hear me out. The deal could in no-way be cemented until December 15th, but the Knicks have Raymond Felton, Kelenna Azubuike, and a handful of prospects. They lack the ability to send draft picks thanks to the desperate firesale move they pulled with the Rockets, but the right combination of players might work. Wilson Chandler next to Marcus Thornton would give the Hornets flexibility on the wing, especially if the Knicks are willing to take on Peja Stojakovic's poison pill. That may be the Knicks' biggest asset: financial flexibility to take on the rest of the Hornets' ill-advised veteran figures. The pull for Paul? If the New York toast rumors were true, this would get him with the best player he's ever played alongside in Amar'e Stoudemire (with apologies to David West), in a major market, and would likely convince Carmelo Anthony to hold off on that contract extension. It's a pretty perfect scenario, which of course means it won't happen.

Portland Trail Blazers: If the Blazers want to get back into talk of being a title contender immediately, this could be their path to salvation. They have picks to move, a ton of flexible players at multiple positions, and Paul in Portland would be ridiculous. Paul, Brandon Roy, and LaMarcus Aldridge, with those centers down low? All of a sudden the Blazers would be within range of the title. The numbers, however, might be too much, especially with the massive amount of money they just tossed at Wesley Matthews. The Blazers would have to surrender most of the depth they've worked to acquire, along with at least one of their two top centers in order to facilitate a deal. But it would also mean a tremendous coup for the new regime.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Here's a stretch. Trying to convince Paul to go to the Ruins of NBA Pompei would be a tricky feat. But if you look at the roster, it might not be impossible. The Cavs do feature a team with depth, with Antawn Jamison and J.J. Hickson still on roster. They have some flexibility in the coming years. They need a hero, and they've shown they're willing to commit to spending. With Byron Scott on roster, who Paul has gone on record in support of multiple times, the Cavs could conceivably replace LeBron James with a new savior. They'd have to give up most of their most attractive assets and nearly everything they got from Miami. But somehow, if New Orleans was at all interested, I don't think they'd mind.

Los Angeles Lakers: Tremble, and be afraid, ye mortals of Earth. This is plausible, possible, and according to KB, one of the teams on Paul's list. The Lakers can send Andrew Bynum, a young stud center, and a handful of short-term contracts for Paul. Paul gets to play alongside the best team in the NBA in the most attractive market in the NBA. He takes the reins from Kobe and helps lead that team into what, three more titles? More? It's a terrifying possibility that would give the Lakers the one-up over the Miami-three. He and Gasol could work the two-man game, and in the triangle, well, okay, that's a downside. Chris Paul in the triangle is like binding a horse's legs. They're not meant to be constrained that way. Shooting corner threes is a waste of Paul's potential, and most of the ball handling isn't done by a point in the triangle. But somehow, playing next to Kobe and Gasol, Paul may not mind.

New Orleans Hornets: No, they won't be trading Paul to themselves. But you have to think this is still the most likely scenario (yes, we said that about LeBron James, too). Paul has been a major force in the community. That's going to tug at him. The Hornets just hired two representatives from the Spurs organization, who clearly have been part of winning environments. He can make the most money there, and has teammates he's gone to battle with. Mostly, though, it's hard to see new GM Dell Demps or head coach Monty Williams being willing to put themselves in a deep dark hole to start their run with the franchise. And trading Paul means a complete rebuild. Not the situation you want to embark on before you've even put your pictures up in your office.

But with the way Paul sounds according to KB, we may see the unlikely become reality once again this year.

So what is it that the Hronets need to get back? Royce Young tells us more on that one .



Posted on: July 20, 2010 8:13 am
Edited on: July 20, 2010 9:59 am
 

Shootaround: 7.20.10

Posted by Royce Young
  • For whatever reason, Matt Barnes has become one of the most talked about free agents on the market this offseason. And yesterday, he appeared headed to Toronto in a sign-and-trade . However, because of some miscalculating, Marc Stein reports the deal is possibly dead : "Since Toronto recently spent the bulk of its $5.8 million mid-level exception to sign Linas Kleiza , it doesn't have the available funds to sign Barnes outright to a deal that starts in the neighborhood of $4 million. The Magic, though, are prevented by salary-cap rules from starting a sign-and-trade deal for Barnes at higher than $2 million, because Orlando doesn't have Barnes' full Bird rights after employing him for only one season. A sign-and-trade deal would also have to span at least three years, although only the first year is required to be guaranteed."
  • Henry Abbott with nine things to know about Cho : "Given the soap opera in Portland's front office over the last few months, Cho's law school focus on "dispute resolution" could prove to be the most valuable element in his time in Portland."
  • There's been some concern that Amare Stoudemire won't be able to produce quite the same numbers without primo setup man Steve Nash orchestrating the offense. But Knicks assistant Phil Weber told the New York Post that Amare will be fine : "Everybody's going to look very good playing with [Nash]. But Amar'e in his own right, he's got the versatility, quickness and shooting ability, he's going to wreck havoc on the defense.''
  • Shoals writing on Free Darko about DeMarcus Cousins and how he relates to other players with character issues : "Cousins might seem to call into question whatever it is that Arenas and Beasley represented. On the contrary, in his contradictions, he make more urgent than ever the need to develop a more psychologically sophisticated approach to assessing prospects. Arenas asserted the right to be kooky, unpredictable, and obsessive; Beasley , incoherent, compelling and loud. That was a fair description of each at their best, and if their stories ended today, each would serve as a cautionary tale against this kind of player. Cousins , though, makes the case for the development of something new, something that might actually better equip a team for an Arenas or Beasley —that is, anyone other than an outright bust."
Posted on: July 15, 2010 11:02 pm
 

Magic match Bulls to retain Redick

Posted by Matt Moore

True to their word, the Magic won't be letting J.J. Redick head to greener pastures (and a starting gig). NBA FanHouse's Tim Povtak reports that the Orlando Magic will match the 3-year, $19 million offer from the Chicago Bulls for Redick to retain his services.

The move is likely not the best news for Redick, who likely would have been in a position to compete for the starting shooting guard spot with the Bulls, and instead will continue to come off whenever Stan Van Gundy realizes Vince Carter has reached his nightly point-of-no-return. Redick has proven he can play back-up point or drain from the outside, and his defense, particularly on Ray Allen in the playoffs, has been exemplary.

But the Magic have committed to winning a championship, and that means spending. Van Gundy squashed Redick at the beginning of his career on his bench, but instead of bristling, complaining, and demanding a trade, Redick kept working, and became a defense-oriented player, while keeping the shooting stroke he made famous in college.

With the move, the Magic will be even further in the luxury tax, and you have to wonder if Marcin Gortat, or another frontcourt player is on the move for the Magic to take the sting off retaining Redick.



Posted on: July 6, 2010 10:47 am
 

Your Morning Shootaround 7.6.10

What's going on in the NBA world...

Dwyane Wade cancelled his press conference for this morning in Miami. No reason was given. Let's not try and get ahead of ourselves, but whichever way you lean in the whole thing, it's curious.

Mikhail Prokhorov told advisers he thinks Chris Bosh will join Dwyane Wade in Miami. He's still hopeful to land LeBron James. Most interesting to me from the notes was Prokhorov's statement about Bosh and Wade's agent Henry Thomas not being aware of the global business implications. If this was leaked intentionally, that provides a whole new context to these statements.

The Magic signed Chris Duhon to a four year deal , which should help with almost none of their needs.

LeBron James is giving indications he plans on announcing his decision on his next team via his own website . Which will, inevitably, crash when he does announce it. I like this plan, already.

Allen Iverson wants to return to the NBA. This should end well. And by "well," I mean "in a turnover."

The Cavs and Suns have started talks about a Leandro Barbosa for Delonte West and Jamario Moon swap.

We'll have more on these stories and more throughout the day.
Posted on: June 30, 2010 9:19 am
Edited on: June 30, 2010 9:39 am
 

Point guard rift in Orlando?

With Ken Berger's Free Agent Buzz report that Dwight Howard is pushing for the addition of Chris Paul to the Magic, we can anticipate some fallout.

Paul has been discussed as potentially "on the block" as far back as midseason, but it was just before the draft when talk of him as a possible trade target really heated up . Darren Collison's performance in relief of Paul during injury, still in-the-meantime owner George Shinn's desire to slash costs to facilitate the sale, and good ol' fashion superstar unhappiness have all been discussed as reasons why the dynamic point guard might want up elsewhere.

Hornets bloggers are, predictably, in deep denial over this possibility . (Hornets fans also refused to believe that the team would make trades based on cutting salary only, until they slipped the Thunder Cole Aldrich just to get rid of Mo Peterson.) The truth of the matter is that when you have a team that falls off the pedestal as quickly as the Hornets did, with a superstar on the payroll who wants to win and an ownership with an active history of making finance-based moves, there's going to be talk. And the Magic are notorious for not being shy about adding payroll. They could send the Hornets a deep package of flexible contracts and talent they need, while still having a stud sophomore point guard to develop. It only makes sense to explore possibilities.

But the question that may need to be asked is, what about the Magic? How is this kind of talk going to impact their squad? Chemistry on the Magic was down significantly last season from the year before. Part of that was Vince Carter, or as I like to call him "the cure for what isn't ailing you yet." Part of it was just a strange run of events, including Marcin Gortat being unhappy the Magic matched his offer from Dallas and Brandon Bass being unhappy he got inked to get no run. But in general, this team still likes one another. And Jameer Nelson, the center of any trade talks between the two teams, has been with Howard the whole way through.

Nelson wasn't particularly good in 2007-2008, but hit his stride in the playoffs (a shiny +18 PER through 10 games in the postseason), and launched into being a star the next season, before getting hit with a shoulder injury. He came back with a bang, and his combination of perimeter shooting, speed, athleticism, and playmaking ability has been a big part of the Magic's success. How will he react to being moved as the "weak link" for the Magic starting unit?

From there you've got to wonder about Howard. Howard pushing for this trade says two things. One, he's got the same fever the rest of his superstar peers have: the drive to play on a team stacked with multiple All-Stars. And two, he may not recognize that what the Magic need more than anything is for him to continue working with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston to develop a post-game. Of any kind.

Would Paul help the Magic? Undoubtedly. That's just as terrifying a combo as you're going to find in the league, and the way Paul used Tyson Chandler in the pick and roll for alley-oops means that he and Howard could set the record for most alley-oops in a season. It would be an unstoppable combo. Paul's also a better shooter than Nelson, and Nelson's really good. Before injuries started to hit him last season, Paul was on pace for a 45-50-95 season, which is, to be honest, freaking absurd. Working with the kind of perimeter options the Magic have to create space for him would make Paul somehow more lethal than he was before.

But if the Magic can't find a package the Hornets find enticing financially or basketball-wise before Shinn's sale is complete, they'll probably be left without Paul, and the repercussions on a locker room that now could start tearing apart instead of drifting. Pushing for progress is a good thing. But it comes with its price if you fail.

-Matt Moore

 
 
 
 
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