Tag:Vince Carter
Posted on: December 18, 2010 12:42 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:41 pm
 

Suns join Wizards, Magic in Arenas trade talks

The Phoenix Suns are the latest team to join trade rumors involving the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards on a possible Gilbert Arenas deal.gilbert-arenas Posted by Ben Golliver

We've been carefully tracking the Gilbert Arenas trade rumors for months. On Friday, whispers that began back in October and got warm in December intensified, when it was reported that the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards were zeroing in on a deal for the former Agent Zero. As the night progressed, Magic big man Marcin Gortat, Magic wing Vince Carter and forward Rashard Lewis both found their names in various rumors, although the final framework of the deal that would reunite Arenas with a mentor, Magic GM Otis Smith, hasn't yet emerged, although reports continue that a deal is close. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that a third team could wind up crashing the Washington / Orlando party.
League sources say a third team is involved, with the Suns possibly contributing Hedo Turkoglu to the equation. The Magic, trying to make a bold move to close the gap with Boston and Miami, would wind up with Arenas and Turkoglu, who would return to the team he led to the NBA Finals before a frustrating year in Toronto. Magic center Marcin Gortat is "100 percent involved," though it's unclear whether the Magic would be sending out Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, or both. 
One of the guarantees coming into this season is that Phoenix, run by cost-conscious, impulsive owner Robert Sarver, would be active prior to the trade deadline if they didn't start hot. By handing out relatively big contracts to the likes of Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick, trading for the massively-overpaid Turkoglu, and re-signing Jared Dudley, the Suns simply had way, way too much money committed at the same position, making adequate roster and positional balance virtually impossible. The Suns have started 12-13, which is good enough for second place in the terrible Pacific Division, but puts them on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture looking in. Until more details emerge, it's unclear what Phoenix's role will be, whether it's as a facilitator to make salaries work or as a legitimate partner.  Meanwhile, Berger also reports that landing Arenas in Orlando may not be as easy as first thought.
But according to a person familiar with the situation, Smith faces two significant obstacles in bringing Arenas to Orlando. The first is Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who has told friends he is extremely reluctant to add Arenas to the roster. The second, and even more important impediment, is Orlando ownership, which has serious reservations about absorbing Arenas' contract. Arenas has one more year left than Lewis and two more than Carter -- essentially three more with Carter's partial guarantee in 2013-14. Turkoglu's contract could ease some of that pain, as the Turkish star agreed to accept a reduced guarantee in '13-'14 as part of his trade from Toronto to Phoenix. 
In Arenas, Turkoglu and Lewis, you're looking at three of the worst contracts in the entire league, so there's no question it will take some internal selling from management on all sides of this trade to convince their own owners that the grass is greener on the other side.  But that doesn't necessarily mean this will fall apart, as all three teams are very motivated sellers.  Washington needs to turn the keys over to John Wall and start a new chapter. That's a no-brainer, and has been clear since the Wizards drafted Wall with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. Orlando needs an aggressive scoring spark on the wing to avoid taking a half-step back this season. Saturday morning, the Orlando Sentinel quotes Smith as saying trade talks with the Wizards are at an "8" on a 1-10 level of seriousness. The Associated Press reports that Smith confirmed that talks are ongoing but also said that "nothing is imminent" with regard to an Arenas trade.  The Sentinel also notes that Magic brass "would much rather have" Denver Nuggets all star forward Carmelo Anthony or New Orleans Hornets all star point guard Chris Paul, but Anthony appears headed elsewhere and Paul hasn't seen his name in serious trade rumors since the season started. Phoenix, as explained above, could use better roster balance, as coach Alvin Gentry has struggled with setting his bench rotation all season, in part because of so many relatively similar pieces on the wing. Given Smith's comment about the seriousness of these talks, surely there will be more developments as the weekend continues.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 11:25 am
Edited on: December 10, 2010 11:52 am
 

The Game Changer: Orlando missing some magic

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: DWIGHT NEEDS HELP

The Blazers locked down on the Magic, winning a defensive scrum 97-83, with the Magic scoring just 34 second half points. It's probably the best win (and most needed) win for Portland and a loss for Orlando that showcased a few issues.

Two main points that were highlighted really well in this game:

1) The Blazers can defend with the best of them. I think one of the most beautiful things to watch is Portland playing at home with a late lead. It's like watching the Pittsburgh Steelers milk a lead. The Blazers run the ball, take each possession seriously, but aren't afraid to punt. Portland is so ridiculously disciplined and every player understands the importance of never giving ground and never letting their man beat them.

One possession sticks out to me. The Magic had the ball on the left wing, with Jameer Nelson trying to feed Rashard Lewis in the post with the smaller Wesley Matthews guarding. Matthews of course is giving around five inches on Lewis. But not only could Nelson not get a clear entry look at Lewis, Matthews also had Lewis pushed all the way out near the 3-point line. There's just this, "I'm not going to let you score on me" mentality there.

2) The Magic need another scorer badly.
Not to take anything away from the Blazers' defensive discipline and keep in mind most of the Magic roster is still battling a bit of the flu, but all of this was really aided by the fact the Magic can turn into a painfully one-dimensional team. The Blazers made a lot of that happen by taking away the drive and kick and forcing Orlando to work 20 seconds on the offensive end.

Portland was content letting Howard do his work in the post, rarely sending a double to help. Howard played really, really well but it's clear he's not the early decade Shaq. Early Decade Shaq would've had 50 in a game like this. His team could've just fed the post every time and relied on him to score. Howard doesn't have that ability. But then again, we're talking about Shaq, one of the three best centers ever.

Howard scored 26 points in the first half and finished with a season-high 39, but finished the game 2-8 from the field. Again, Portland let Howard do his work early and that led to a big Magic lead, but later in the game when things tightened up, Orlando just didn't have a clear option. The Magic went almost seven minutes in the fourth quarter without a field goal.

And the thing is, Orlando was determined to get the ball into Howard and his new and improved post game. But that meant they bypassed their bread and butter pick and roll. Again, Howard's not a consistent post scorer (yet). So there has to be an option for him to kick out to when things get shut down. Orlando can get away with this stuff against mediocre defenses, but against a group like the Blazers, everything gets exposed.

So again, it comes back to the help Howard needs. Vince Carter, Nelson, J.J. Redick -- someone -- had to step up and be able to score 10 fourth quarter points. 2008 Hedo Turkoglu was that guy for Orlando. Instead, the Magic suffered as their possessions were strung out, most of the time ending up with a long, contested jumper or a forced shot in the post. The next high scorer beside Howard was Lewis with 11. I think that says things well.

Is Gilbert Arenas the answer? Maybe. But at one point the TNT crew had Magic general manager Otis Smith standing, watching his unit toil away with yet another empty possession. And Smith had to be thinking about getting Howard some help. Clearly the team is an upper tier squad. They'll win 50 games in their sleep. But to win a title, they need help. It's going to be a risk, but it might be worth it for the potential reward.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Dwight Howard gets the gold star for the night with a season-high 39 points on 13-20 shooting, but more impressive was his 13-18 effort from the free throw line. Oh, and of course he added 15 rebounds and three blocks.

Runner-up: Rajon Rondo had another Rondo night with 19 points and 14 assists.

J.J. Barea gets a mention with 13 assists in just 27 minutes.

DRAWING UP A WIN FOR BOSTON

The Celtics and 76ers traded go-ahead buckets with under a minute left in really one of the most fun games of the season so far. And with the Sixers leading 101-100 with 6.6 seconds left, Boston called its last timeout and Doc Rivers went to drawing up a play.

I think everyone assumed it would be an isolation for Paul Pierce where he gets to the elbow for a game-winner. Instead, Pierce was decoyed in a faux pick and pop, while Rondo dished to Kevin Garnett for a game-winning layup.



After watching the play about 15 times, I still can't decide if that was just Rondo audibling out of the original play or if that was the way Rivers drew it up.

But the key is how Garnett shows a screen as Pierce comes for another on the other side. The Sixers likely anticipate the ball going to Pierce so Jrue Holliday switches to Garnett immediately. Rondo sees the mis-match and lobs the ball beautifully to Garnett for the winner. A lot of it was a nice design, some was poor decisions by Thaddeus Young and Holliday, but most of it was a great play by Rondo. 

THIS ONE GOES TO 11

The Mavericks took their winning streak to 11 games with a 102-89 take-care-of-business style home win over the Nets. Really, it was about as formulaic a game as you'd expect between an 18-4 team and a 6-17 team.

The Mavs led 30-19 after one and really just kind of played like a bully keeping the smaller kid at arms length. The Nets would edge back in the game and then Dirk Nowitzki would hit a jumper. Or Jason Kidd would hit a 3. Or the Nets would go five minutes without a field goal.

What's so impressive about the Mavs right now is that it almost seems easy. Dirk led them with 21, but it was on 8-10 shooting. After that, it was Shawn Marion with 18 off the bench, Jason Terry and Caron Butler with 15 apiece and then everyone else was in single-digits. But all 10 plays that played scored.

PARTING THOUGHT

On the wrong end of Garnett's game-winner though was a dejected, heartbroken Sixers team that really fought hard in a losing effort. Philly coach Doug Collins after the loss: "It's like a kick in the gut." The Sixers are now 1-11 in games decided by less than 10 points.
Posted on: December 1, 2010 3:36 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 3:37 pm
 

Report: Magic interested in Gilbert Arenas

Posted by Royce Young

At some point, Gilbert Arenas has to move on from Washington. There's just no way the Wizards are willing to jeopardize John Wall's development by stunting his growth with Arenas playing alongside him.

But with Arenas' massive contract and the baggage that comes with him, he's going to be tough to move. Doesn't mean the Wizards aren't probably trying though. And despite the problems with him, Gilbert Arenas is still a really, really talented basketball player. So there's absolutely a market for him.

One team that's reportedly interested is the Orlando Magic, a club that's desperately in search of a reliable scoring option to play with Dwight Howard. The Magic have already apparently made everyone available on the team sans Howard and now, they could be getting proactive.

The Orlando Pinstriped Post, a very reliable blog, reports that the Wizards and Magic have discussed a deal that would send Arenas to Orlando. Also involved could potentially be Andray Blatche, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis and rookie Daniel Orton. From the report:
Both teams have a mutual understanding of what the trade might include, the source says, and it's unclear what factors are holding up the trade. What is clear around the league, however, is that Magic President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith has his eye on Arenas. If Orlando is to make a major trade this season, Arenas will likely be the target.
As noted in the report, CBS Sports' Ken Berger reported the Magic listened to offers for Arenas this summer, but said no to the Wizards due to concern over the salary remaining on his contract, which runs for three seasons after this one, at a total cost of $62.4 million. In early November, ESPN.com reported "the Magic have cooled on the notion of a Vince Carter-for-Arenas exchange," citing "NBA front-office sources." However, the source who spoke to Orlando Pinstriped Post contradicts Stein's report, saying Orlando has indeed initiated the discussions with Washington of late. So who knows.

An interesting deal, especially if Blatche were involved, considering the Wizards just locked him up to be part of their future. But swapping Carter for Arenas makes sense because it gives the Magic the scorer they want and with Carter's deal being up soon, the Wizards have a nice contract to come off the books in the near future, plus can hand the reins of the team completely over to Wall.

With the Magic playing so well early on, they might hesitate. But they had an identical record at this point last season and were missing a scorer that they had in Hedo Turkoglu when they made their Finals run. So Otis Smith might be encouraged to get something done this time around. And by the sounds of it, it could involve Arenas.
Posted on: November 26, 2010 12:40 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2010 6:08 pm
 

Your NBA Fantasy Black Friday Deals

Your NBA Black Friday Fantasy deals: come find the bargain fantasy guys you're looking for.
Posted by Kevin Goodwin

Well, folks, it's that time of year again. The day we shake off those paralyzing turkey chemicals and drag ourselves out of bed in the wee hours. The day we maraud from store to store like a pack of ravenous credit-wielding zombies. The day we do the ridiculous in the name of big deals and unparalleled savings. Black Friday hath cometh.

Fortunately, Fantasy owners don't even have to leave their couch to find great bargains … and it's the right time of year for those as well. I've got 10 super-saver steals that could put your team on the track to success in the New Year.  Don't let those other fantasy shoppers beat you to the bargains!

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Calderon's Fantasy value is sky high, and Fantasy owners are clearing out long-term roster space to snatch him up. Since Jarrett Jack was traded to New Orleans, Calderon will see the lion's share of minutes up in Toronto.  He has been producing at a high level recently, and is averaging 12.3 points and 6.5 assists over his last four games entering Black Friday. He should continue to perform for the Raptors, and for Fantasy owners from here on out.

Real Deal Equivalent: Squinkies Bubble Pack - $11.99 at Babies"R"Us
They're definitely not the most glamorous item on the list, but are widely considered to be one of the hottest grabs of the season. It's kind of like the Furby toy from a few years ago, except they're supposedly very collectable to kids, and will likely be worth holding on to for the long haul.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Flynn still doesn't have a timetable for his return, but it's getting closer. Minnesota brought in veteran guard Luke Ridnour to push Flynn for the starting job this year, but a hip injury to Flynn deflated any competition. Now, Flynn will have to prove his worth to coach Kurt Rambis. We all know Rambis was limiting Kevin Love's minutes to start the season, so it's unclear how he'll treat Flynn when he does return. But Fantasy owners who are hurting in the guard position should keep an eye on Flynn. He has more of an upside than Ridnour, and can offer you around 13-15 points and 4-5 assists per game. He also shot 35.8 percent from downtown last season, which is a nice gift for Fantasy owners around the holidays.

Real Deal Equivalent: 1/3 Carat Diamond White Gold Bypass Bridal Ring Set - $219 at Wal-Mart
Gets the job done... and looks enough like the high-end alternatives when the time comes to take it out of the box. Plus, it'll be easy to cry poverty when you're dealing with those pesky alimony hearings.

    3. Troy Murphy, forward, New Jersey Nets (Owned 85 percent/Started 10 percent)

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Murphy has been inactive for five games now, and is sitting behind Kris Humphries and rookie Derrick Favors on the depth chart. Coach Avery Johnson hasn't been able to figure out what to do with Murphy. He missed the preseason and the start of the regular season with a back injury, but is now on the shelf because of his conditioning. The Nets traded for Murphy with the hope that he could be a starter, and now he's not playing or bringing in any Fantasy points. Not what anyone wants from a Round 5 or 6 draft choice (his average in CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues). Still, in leagues where he's available, Murphy would be worth grabbing while you can. If he gets traded by the Nets, he could go back to his 15-10 stat line, and smart Fantasy owners could get him on the cheap if they can afford to keep him reserved until he sees more court time. Keep in mind, Murphy also has a history of late-season success -- Since the 2006-07 NBA season he's averaged 11.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game before the All-Star break and 14.8 PPG and 9.1 boards post All-Star.

Real Deal Equivalent: Samsung SMX-F40 SD camcorder - $119 at K-Mart
Sure, it might not be something you're going to use all the time, but when the battery is fully charged, this baby could come in pretty handy. Just think how useful it could be when one of your buddies falls asleep in the middle of a party. Youtube!  

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Okur hasn't played yet this season, and is available in almost half of Fantasy leagues. With the Jazz playing so well to start the year, owners with room on their roster may have good reason to add the veteran big man. As a career 37.8 3-point shooter, Okur is hardly a typical center, which makes him a nice player to own in category-based leagues. Utah's addition of Al Jefferson may scare some owners off, but nabbing Okur now before a timetable is set could pay nice dividends.

Real Deal Equivalent: Yankee Candle Pine & Cinnamon Jar Candles - $17.99 at Kohl's
Maybe you didn't have time to cut down a premiere 7-footer in the draft. Maybe you're just desperate to hide the despicable funk emanating from those 1997 Jordans that can't seem to find their way to the trashcan. Either way, this is a great way to Spruce up your lineup for the winter run... terrible pun, definitely intended.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Przybilla is set to make his season debut on Black Friday, which gives Fantasy owners a perfect opportunity to check him out. He'll likely be rusty coming off knee surgery, but is a center worth keeping tabs on or adding in deeper formats. He doesn't score many points, but is a good source of rebounds and shoots with high efficiency from the field -- 55.5 percent for his career. Also, take in to account that Portland needs bodies on the frontcourt, which means Przybilla will get plenty of playing time. Remember he should be targeted in deeper Fantasy formats, not standard leagues.

Real Deal Equivalent:  Craftsman 179cc 24'' Two-stage Snowblower - $583 at Sears
Powerful, but a little one-dimensional. Still, winter can be long and arduous, as can the NBA season. Finding a bargain like this could be the easiest way to clear your path to the playoffs.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Butler isn't having a very good start to the season, which means now is the time to buy. Some Fantasy owners may want to drop him, but realize he's worth too much to just throw away. That being the case, they may be willing to part with Butler for next to nothing. He hasn't fully adjusted to being in Dallas since coming over from Washington, and the one thing that would help Butler's Fantasy appeal most is being traded. So, owners that like to gamble could make the move for Butler now. Last year, Butler averaged 15.2 points and 5.4 boards with the Mavericks, so the potential is there for Fantasy owners to see a nice return on their investment.

Real Deal Equivalent:  55" Westinghouse 120Hz, 1080p LCD TV - $799.99 at Best Buy
Still a great grab if you need to upgrade. Sure, it may not shine as brightly as LED or have the pop of 3D, but, a few years ago, this was a top-of-the-line model.

    7. Brandon Roy, guard, Portland Trail Blazers (Owned 99 percent/Started 22 percent)

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Roy should be owned in every Fantasy league out there, but while he battles knee injuries, owners are definitely grinding their teeth for drafting him so high. Some owners may be looking to jump ship, since this is the lowest Roy's Fantasy value has ever been, and that means it's the perfect time to get an upper echelon guard for dirt cheap. If you can pry Roy away from another owner, there's a good chance he would make your team better immediately. Portland may limit his court time to preserve him for the year, but Roy has the ability to produce solid numbers in 20-25 minutes of action.

Real Deal Equivalent:  High-Performance Samsung Laptops - $150 off at Best Buy
Yeah, you may have to open up your wallet if you want to bring home a big toy like this, but it's definitely a great option if you want to get some high-caliber equipment without paying full retail.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Collison was undoubtedly overvalued entering this year. He was taken with an average draft pick of 40, based solely on his 18.8 points, 9.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds as a starter last year in New Orleans. This means that current owners are probably very disappointed with his 14.3 points and 4.3 boards per game through the first five weeks of the season. I smell a sale. Collison still has the potential to be a 17 and 7 guy, and owners should check their league and see if they can strike up a deal.

Real Deal Equivalent:  All adult jeans - $15 at Old Navy
Not exactly the designer dungarees you might find in a Madison Avenue boutique, but a reasonably stylish alternative for the price. Let's face it; you could easily pay twice as much any other time of year. Yeah, I used the word "dungarees". No, I'm not a septuagenarian

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Carter is currently dealing with some bumps and bruises which are keeping him out of the Magic lineup. He's also averaging career-lows in points, rebounds and assists: 13.9, 3.2 and 2.5, respectively. Clearly, Carter is no longer the high-flyer he once was, but he does have the capability to go off on any given night. Again, we've got a player who could be reeled in for cheap based on the disappointment tied to inflated preseason expectations. If you don't mind being patient with the veteran, trading for Carter could be a steal.

Real Deal Equivalent:  Radio Flyer Big Wheel - $35 at Wal-Mart
Yeah, we all remember how awesome these were when we were kids. Of course, back then, a few rocks in the tires would only help you sound cooler when you peeled out down the driveway. It's a sentimental choice, I know, but you can't look past the classics when you're in the market for a dependable option.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Andersen just made his season debut for the Nuggets, which is why he's available in 90 percent of CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues. He's coming off an offseason knee surgery, so he's a bit of a risky option, but there are definitely Fantasy owners out there who are in desperate need of a big man. Injury bug, anyone? Those owners might be happy to see Andersen fill a void in their lineups. He's not worth owning in standard leagues, but is definitely worth a flier in deeper Rotisserie formats. He's a bargain and a half right now.

Real Deal Equivalent:  46" APEX LCD TV, 1080p 60 Hz - $449 at Target
Absolutely jaw-dropping color. And, while it's not the most recognized brand on the market, it's got some versatility -- Size enough to hold it down in the living room, and could be a huge addition to a bedroom-sized fantasy lineup.

Posted on: November 11, 2010 12:51 am
 

Jazz: Giant killers or smoke and mirrors?

Do wins over the Heat and Magic on a back-to-back road trip make the Jazz giant killers or simply masters of parlor tricks they can't rely on? Survey says: Jazz fans don't care. Posted by Matt Moore

Jazz Giant Killer's Or Lucky Strikes?

You'd think that knocking off two of the best teams in the East, championship contenders both, on back to back nights, on the road, would clear up the angle of who the Jazz are. You'd think that surviving a LeBron James triple-double, a 39 point outburst from Dwyane Wade, and a 20 point night from Vince Carter would give the Jazz an air of invincibility.

But it wouldn't be the Jazz if the didn't leave just the slightest hint of doubt in the minds of neutral observers, enough to plant seeds of skeptical criticism and enabling Jazz fans to rally behind their team as the underrated superstars once again. Meet the New Jazz. Kind of like the Old Jazz. Only kind of better, so far.

The disturbing signs about the Jazz are based on probablities. Losing to the Magic in a close one would have actually seemingly cemented the win over Miami as legitimate, because it wouldn't be seen as a fluke. Instead, the Jazz now have back-to-back road victories on a back-to-back against two of the top 3 teams in the East (common sense, not record-wise). And that just seems improbable. It seems improbable that they survived James' triple-double and Wade's outpouring, that they managed to get Dwight Howard in foul trouble and still overcome Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson having it going. Mostly it seems improbable that they could do all of this after going down by 15+ in each of the two games.

So the question is there.

Is this for real?

The Jazz started off remarkably slow this season, with losses to Denver and Phoenix. But a big Halloween night win over the Thunder seemed to spur them into a wakeup call, and since then they've only lost once in November, and that was to a Golden State team that no longer is an unforgiveable loss. But no one could have seen this coming. Well, except Jerry Sloan. Sloan was his usual self after the game, unmoved by his team's performance. Happy with the win, sure, but he's been around the block too many times to get too worked up, though he made time to praise his point guard. As he should; Deron Williams was simply phenomenal.

Stan Van Gundy called the loss "disturbing" and he should refer to it that way. Not just for the Magic who saw Dwight Howard turn into Clark Kent getting pummeled by the suddenly superhuman Paul Millsap, but for the rest of the league and those that try and make sense of it. Are the Jazz this good? Was this just a fluke, again? Does Utah have something special going on here even in November, or was this just an anomaly on their way to where most predict them, a mid-level playoff seed and a second round exit at the hands of the Lakers again?

Playing from a deficit makes for great blog fodder and warms the hearts of fans, but it's also not a sustainable strategy. Eventually you'll dig a hole you can't climb out of, and when that happens, you'll find yourself regretting you need the shovel at all. But at the same time, the energy, enthusiasm, and burgeoning chemistry can't be denied on a team that managed to make the Magic look meek and the Heat seem sub-zero in the fourth quarters of both games. And so we'll continue to wonder if the Jazz are giant killers or just mosquitoes that managed to catch the goliaths napping long enough to draw blood.

After all, there were plenty of people saying the victory over the Heat Tuesday night was a fluke based on the perimeter prowess of Paul Millsap. Those same people will question how reliable it is to depend on the Magic to surrender 21 turnovers. In both games against the Sunshine Behemoths the Jazz were out-rebounded and faced significant deficits in field goal percentage. And in both games they seemed to go on a near-psychotic rush to pull the game back within reach. Those same people will question if this is a reliable strategy. But at the end of the day it was reliable enough to net them wins over two teams that aren't going to have too many losses come April.

And consider this: the Jazz are still integrating new players, too, and with the rest of their division looking weak early on, the Jazz are giving themselves an opportunity to do something big by winning games they're not supposed to.

But then, that's why we play them, isn't it?
Posted on: November 7, 2010 1:21 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:34 pm
 

Vince Carter slips on wet spot, strains hip

Magic forward Vince Carter was injured when he slipped on a wet spot during Orlando's game against the Charlotte Bobcats Saturday night. Posted by Ben Golliver Look, it's not exactly news when perpetually injured Orlando Magic forward Vince Carter goes down in a heap. "Half Prone, Half Amazing" is really the best way to describe the second part of Carter's career, as he always seems to be dealing with this or that minor injury, and you're as likely to see a grimace on his face as you are a smile. This was the familiar scene in Charlotte on Saturday night.   vince-carter But this time it was different. This time it wasn't Carter's fault. As the Orlando Sentinel reports, Carter took a nasty slip on a wet spot on the court, collapsing to the ground in horrific fashion, even by Carter's standards. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy sounds like he's so angry his mustache is about to fly off of his face.
Van Gundy said Vince Carter injured himself after slipping on a wet spot. Carter hobbled off after falling with one minute and 45 seconds left and did not return. He said he has a sore hip and knee.
"We got a guy hurt simply because they wouldn't dry a damn wet spot," said Van Gundy, who added that a Bobcat player slipped in the spot earlier. "When a player goes down they're supposed to do it. They didn't care. That's ridiculous. I'm just ticked off."
Here's a rough cut of the video replay. It's hard to watch.   OrlandoMagic.com reports on Twitter that Carter suffered a "strained right hip flexor. He's officially listed as day-to-day."  That's good news, because this one had disaster potential written all over it.  Surely the Charlotte Bobcats will be reviewing procedures with their sweat mopping staff, if they haven't already. On the bright side, at least Carter didn't get lung cancer from the asbestos at Madison Square Garden.
Posted on: October 15, 2010 12:16 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:50 pm
 

Stan Van Gundy apologizes to Magic fans

Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy personally apologized to Magic fans for benching his starters. Posted by Ben Golliver
There's a good reason most NBA head coaches are stubborn: indecision can be easily misread as weakness in a competitive field like professional sports. Once you start waffling as a coach, whether it's about strategy, rotations or lineups, players, media and fans alike take it upon themselves to start questioning every last decision or non-decision you make during the course of a game. This fishbowl atmosphere is what makes Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy's comments after tonight's preseason game between the Magic and the Charlotte Bobcats so unexpected, and refreshing. Van Gundy decided to start five bench players in front of the home crowd in Orlando's Amway Arena. The Orlando Sentinel's Brian Schmitz writes that Marcin Gortat, J.J. Redick, Chris Duhon, Ryan Anderson and Mickael Pietrus started over first-stringers like Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis and Quentin Richardson.  It's fairly common to rest starters during the preseason, but not all at the same time, of course. Given the risk of injury and the meaningless nature of the exhibition, surely most Magic fans would understand the decision, even if they left disappointed. But that didn't stop Van Gundy from calling Schmitz after the game to pass on his personal apology to Orlando fans for his decision.
"It's been bugging me," he said. "I want to say I'm sorry and I was wrong. I thought I reasoned it through, but I can't justify it. If it was the first game that somebody came out to see, you bring your kids … I'd be upset, too. "I won't do it again." Van Gundy pledged to never bench his entire starting group at home again in the preseason.

Kudos to you, Stan Van Gundy, for seeing the error of your ways and for reaching out to the fans in such a direct and personal manner. But be forewarned. You just set a dangerous precedent.
Posted on: October 11, 2010 9:36 am
Edited on: October 11, 2010 9:36 am
 

Shootaround 10.11.10: Ins and Outs

Turtlenecks are in for SVG, Splitter is out for the Spurs, Ron Artest's second ring is already on its way out, and Ryan Anderson is in gear for the Magic, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


When the NBA announced a rule regarding coaching dress codes, which presumably would outlaw turtlenecks, everyone immediately thought of Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy himself actually said they should name the rule after him. But the Orlando Senitinel went out and discovered that SVG will be able to wear turtlenecks this season due to how the rule works. I don't know whether SVG should be happy or sad about his development.

Greg Oden says he can be an All-Star , when healthy. Honestly, no one doubts that out of Oden. He's tall, a huge advantage in the sport of basketball, and bulky, a big deal in the NBA. But he needs to not say things like this because it only attracts more attention to the fact that he hasn't proven he can stay healthy, or rehab effectively, or that his head's in the right place. He just needs to not talk about it, go out, and do it. Anything else is just going to bring the vultures.

Tiago Splitter continues to miss time with a leg injury . In the myriad of ways that his NBA career could have started, this isn't the worst, but it's up there. Nagging small injuries aren't just obnoxious and painful, they're hard for coaches and players to sympathize with, and call into quiestion a player's toughness. That's what Splitter's facing in preseason with a tough veteran Spurs club.

The Blazers are adding Steven Hill due to their lack of big men, which is awesome, because he's from Branson, Missouri. Hill should instantly be the leader in mini-golf handicaps .

Anthony Mason Jr. son of the former Knick star has been cut from the Heat. Too bad, he showed some flashes in limited time, but that roster's kind of full-up if you haven't noticed.

Ready for a storyline you can bank on this year? Raptor fans are going to go from feeling disdain towards Andrea Bargnani to outright hatred. He's going to get all the blame for the Raps , even while he probably leads the team in scoring. He's overpaid, but that guy needs a fresh start somewhere else more than anything.

The New York Daily News reports that the Bulls are investigating Carlos Boozer's fall to see if he really did injure himself tripping over a bag . Bulls by the Horns says that the investigation is neither surprising nor troubling , just business as usual. It's still not the way the Bulls wanted to start the era of their marquee free agent from the biggest FA summer in history.

Ron Artest is offering his second championship ring to whoever writes the best essay on how to improve the country. In case you're confused, no he has not won that second ring yet. Ron is not lacking for confidence on this team.

Vince Carter is beaming about Ryan Anderson, which is a good sign for the Magic. It really looks like Orlando will be in a position to use him more this season.

This is probably the last season for Antonio McDyess, and might be the last one for Marcus Camby. Bizarre to think of an NBA without those two vets, and sad to think they'll probably wrap up their careers without a ring.

 
 
 
 
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