Tag:Vince Carter
Posted on: September 27, 2010 1:24 am
Edited on: September 27, 2010 1:24 am
 

Preseason Primer: Magic

Posted by Royce Young

The team holding training camp at a military base a couple hundred miles north will hog the attention in Florida this year, but still, the Orlando Magic have a roster built to compete for the Eastern title. The team returns almost entirely intact and welcomes in just a couple of role-playing faces. Dwight Howard enters his seventh year as a pro and is looking to push his team over the hump. The Magic's window might be closing with some of their player's aging, but coming in, they look primed to be in the middle of it all in the East.

Training camp site:
Orlando, FL

Training camp starts: Sept. 28

Key additions: Quentin Richardson (free agent), Chris Duhon (free agent), Daniel Orton (draft)

Key subtractions: Matt Barnes (free agent)

Likely starting lineup: Jameer Nelson, PG; Vince Carter, SG; Mickael Pietrus, SF; Rashard Lewis, PF; Dwight Howard, C

Player to watch: The easy answer here is Dwight Howard. Around him, all things function in Orlando. But the guy to keep an eye on is Vince Carter. He had somewhat of a down season last year, but he's coming into this camp kicking off a contract year. So the thinking would be that he'll be more focused, in better shape and as prepared as ever. J.J. Redick could potentially push him a bit for his starting spot so Carter has got to be ready to hit the ground running.

Chemistry quiz: The Magic will be answering one common question during training camp and really during the entire season - What do you think about the Heat? Stan Van Gundy isn't someone to mince words, nor is Howard. Not that it'll cause a rift among the actual team, but it's certainly possible - nay, probable - that someone says something that catches some attention and headlines. Maybe Orlando wants the focus, maybe they want to provide some bulletin board material. But there's no doubt that some off-court stuff will definitely jump into the picture during camp.

Camp battles: As mentioned, it's possible that Redick could push Carter. Van Gundy is a coach that likes defense and Redick has come a long way on that end. He can shoot, which is something the Magic like. And now he's playing hard and defending. Carter obviously still is a great athlete that can explode any night, but if there's any sign he's dogging it, Van Gundy may decide to go with the young guy.

Another position to keep an eye on is power forward. Brandon Bass has been pretty vocal about wanting more playing time. But still, Ryan Anderson figures to be in front of him on the depth chart. Not only could that be a chemistry issue, but it'll definitely be a camp battle to watch.

Biggest strength: Everything hinges around Howard. The drive and kick is Orlando's bread and butter and it's there because of the rock anchoring the inside. The Magic don't really have a hole to fill as long as everyone is clicking and working together. The bench is solid, the starting five is quality and there's a star that can handle the spotlight.

Glaring weakness: One dimensionality. I think I just made that word up, but Orlando can become one dimensional in a hurry. And they can do it in a variety of ways. What I mean is that the issue varies from game to game. Sometimes, they commit far too much to pounding Howard down low to the point of forcing it. Other times, they shoot too many 3s too early in the shot clock. The Magic have an identity: They want to use Howard for attention and let their athletic guards drive and create open outside looks. And then defend on the other end. But sometimes, they sure don't execute it. When they do, they're as good as anyone. When they don't, they equally as beatable.
Posted on: September 20, 2010 11:40 am
Edited on: September 20, 2010 11:41 am
 

Pop Quiz: What players could be on the way down?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Who are some players potentially set for a drop-off?

It doesn't take much to go from the top of the perch in the NBA to drop to the bottom. The food chain isn't friendly, especially to aging players.

Eventually, everyone has to come down to earth. Two seasons ago, it was Shaquille O'Neal. Last year, Elton Brand, once a walking double-double, had a terribly mediocre season. It just happens. It's the circle of NBA life. Some players can go out on top, but mosr will see their production dip and the slide starts. Who's facing that reality this year? Here are six candidates:

Yao Ming, Rockets - Yao is probably the most obvious choice for three reasons. 1) He's older. 2) He's coming off a significant injury. 3) His playing time is already being limited. Strikes one, two and three.

I think it's pretty much accepted that the great days of Yao Ming are probably passed. Every season but his rookie year, he's averaged over 30 minutes a game. Now with only 24 at his disposal, putting up anything near his career averages of 19.1 ppg and 9.3 rpg will be difficult. He can still have a stellar statistical year in terms of per 36 minutes and per 48 minutes, but as far as being one of the top two or three dominant big men in the league, he may have to settle for really, really tall role player.

Tony Parker, Spurs
- The better George Hill gets, the less valuable Tony Parker is to the Spurs. Is Parker set to fall off the face of the earth? Not likely. But is he looking at going from top three or four point guard in the West into being just a solid top 10 point man? I think there's certainly that possibility.

But this is a contract year for Parker. He has Hill chomping at his playing time and idiots like me saying he's potentially headed for a down year. The motivation is certainly there for him. He's not old (just 28) and doesn't have a ton of mileage on him. He did break his hand last year but that shouldn't be anything that affects him this year. Still, it's hard to deny that his numbers and percentages dipped across the board last year and as his team ages around him, he might have a hard time putting up the big stats like he has in years past.

Vince Carter, Magic - I know, I know. Putting Carter on this list isn't really fair because he pretty much already had his drop-off year. But even through a seemingly bad year, Carter still averaged 16.6 ppg while maintaining solid percentages. The 16.6 ppg is the lowest in his career, but he still was a quality contributor all season and at times, showed flashes of his old, explosive self.

Now he's 33 and has played over 850 games, battled through injuries and is on a team where he's not the lead man. He played the role well last year, but the better J.J. Redick gets, the less need for Carter there is. This is a contract year for Carter who would still like to keep going. But he might be splitting time at shooting guard with Redick and he'd probably be lucky to average anywhere near 16 points a game.

Amar'e Stoudemire, Knicks - Shield your eyes, Knicks fans. I know New York just dropped a heavy dollar amount on Stoudemire and already talking about a decline for him isn't something anyone wants to hear. But here's the reality: Steve Nash doesn't play for the Knicks. For his career, Stoudemire is assisted on about 60 percent of all his baskets. And who was the guy creating those scoring opportunities? Yeah, that guy.

So going from Nash to Raymond Felton might cause a decline in Stoudemire's typically sexy stat line. Does this mean he's not going to be good and help the Knicks improve? Absolutely not. But could his nickname of STAT potentially be outdated already? Definitely.

Mo Williams, Cavaliers - Mo Williams, pre-LeBron James: 14.2 ppg, 5.6 apg. Mo Williams, with LeBron James: 16.8 ppg, 4.7 apg, one All-Star appearance. Mo Williams, post-LeBron James: to be determined.

It's hard to deny the rise in profile for Williams after he joined LeBron in Cleveland in 2008. He went from underrated point guard in Milwaukee to LeBron's No. 2 man. But without The King, things will be more difficult for Williams. Open shots won't be as available and as the best scorer Cleveland currently has, he'll be the focal point for opposing defenses. Williams is going to have to carry Cleveland and that's something that he's not really equipped for. He's always been a good shooter, a good creator and a good scorer. His assists dipped with LeBron because Williams was able to play off the ball a lot with LeBron running point. Now Williams has to do it all for the Cavs.

Ray Allen, Celtics - At some point, time is going to start catching up to Ray Allen. He's avoided it the past few years, turning in some of the most efficient of his career. But he's got over 1,000 games and almost 38,000 minutes on the odometer. His 16.3 point per game average last season was the lowest since his rookie season and though his shooting percentages held pretty close to form, he took the fewest number of 3s per game in 10 years. To me, that says he's not getting as many open looks because when Allen's open, he fires.

Allen is going to have a quality season, because his perfect shooting touch won't allow otherwise. But in terms of sustaining his high level and gaudy numbers, this season might be the start of his journey down.
Posted on: September 17, 2010 4:12 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2010 5:07 pm
 

Pop Quiz: Has Orlando's window closed?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

As Courtney Lee hung in the air, anticipating the incoming lob for a last second shot in the NBA Finals, he likely didn't know anything of what would happen as a result in the next 1.5 seconds. He would miss the alley-oop, a nearly impossible shot that he deserves credit for simply for managing to execute. He would wind up traded to New Jersey which would go on to be one of the worst teams in NBA history, then be traded to Houston. The Magic would swap out Hedo Turkoglu for an upgrade at shooting guard in Vince Carter. And the Magic's best chance at an NBA championship would be snuffed out.

So the question has to be: Does Orlando still have a window open to win an NBA championship?

It sounds absurd. After all, the team won 59 games last season, good for second in the East. They stomped their way to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second season in a row. Dwight Howard enters the season at only 24 years old. Jameer Nelson has a promising career in front of him. They have depth. Stan Van Gundy is considered one of the better coaches in the league. How could their window be closed?

The concern comes down to a number of tangible concerns, and one that relates to the ephemeral nature of windows in the NBA.

In the tangible, the biggest glaring problem is quite simply the other teams in the league. When Orlando ousted Boston in 2009, it was thought to be a death sentence on Boston's lockhold on the East. But Celtic players and fans who thought the only reason Orlando advanced was Kevin Garnett's injury that year were validated last season when the Green stomped the Blue with defense and intensity. Not helping matters on that front is the improved center depth for the Celtics, who now feature Jermaine O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal to combat Dwight Howard along with Kendrick Perkins.

Then of course, there's that nasty Miami issue. With the Heat not only taking a giant step forward, but playing in Miami's division, things get considerably harder for the Magic.

But those are outside matters. The real issue for Orlando in trying to make it back to the Finals and compete is that they seem to have detonated the special formula that got them there in the first place. Vince Carter had a handful of terrific great games for the Magic but also brought all the questions about toughness and clutch ability. And he seemed a tremendous step back from what Hedo Turkoglu had given them, regardless of Turkoglu's age and diminishing skill. Chemistry for that team was shaky. It seemed inconsistent and incomplete, like there were tensions bubbling under, in contrast to the 2009 team which seemed to hum like a finely tuned engine.

Finally there's the nature of championship windows themselves for small-market teams. A large market team like the Lakers can contend for a decade if they keep egos in check. They can stay in the conversation as long as their top elite player is around and healthy. But we've seen it often in the past. A smaller market team has what is considered a great team, pushes the elite team in their conference, but is unable to reach the summit. The Magic tinkered with what worked, which is often a big no-no in sports. Turkoglu may have been on the downside of his career and not as talented as Vince Carter, but the Magic were better with him running point forward in the halfcourt set.

Think of what they need in order to return to the championship if they don't make a major trade this season. They need Carter to play better than he did last season, have everyone stay healthy, repeat last year's performance, then overcome Boston's defense and Miami's starpower... just to make the Finals where barring a gigantic upset they'll then face the same Lakers team that overwhelmed them two years ago. Orlando's ownership group has commendably committed money to the team as it enters a new arena with a contending team. But unless it takes a major step back up the ladder, it may just be spinning its expensive wheels as the rest of the league continues to stay one step ahead of them.

Orlando will be good. But barring Dwight Howard becoming one of the most dominant offensive players in the league or massive injuries to both Miami and Boston, there's little evidence to believe they'll be good enough to be considered a real title contender.
Posted on: September 13, 2010 9:59 am
 

Shootaround 9.13.10: 'Toine's got an invite

Bobcats aggressively looking to move Damp, the Magic's new arena is smarter than you, and Oden's progress going slow. Posted by Matt Moore

The Bobcats have what their GM is calling "probably one of the most valuable contracts in the league " in Erick Dampier. Dampier's contract is a non-guaranteed, voidable deal for $13 million, meaning a team can dump one or several players for Dampier, then waive him and clear off money immediately. If the Bobcats can find a taker, they might be able to solve some of their considerable problems. Like the fact that they have no viable point guard in place. You know.... that.

Speaking of valuable partially guaranteed expiring contracts, Magic Basketball takes a look at whether Vince Carter can be moved this season by himself for a wing upgrade. The prospects are not great.

Most new arenas are nice. But the Magic's new arena is smart . They're able to target advertising in real-time, flexible responses, and the ticket systems can load cash for concessions if ticket gift-givers want to provide a meal along with the basketball.

There's an unwritten rule, one that should be written for a lot of first-time credentialed press members from team blogs, that you don't root in the press box. Unless, apparently, you're abroad for an international competition .

Samuel Dalembert is not so much a fan of the Canadian national team's coach . Okay, that's kind of an understatement. To say that he pins all their problems on Leo Rautins would be more accurate. Dalembert has had a year with what happened in his home country of Haiti. This is just one other failure he's venting about.

Greg Oden will not be in attendance during team scrimmages this week. I know, you're shocked. Try and lay down for a bit to deal with this news.

Antoine Walker has actually been invited by a real life NBA team to participate in some practices and scrimmages. The Bobcats have made no assurances he'll make it even to camp, though.

Andre Iguodala reflects on the entire FIBA World Championship experience and winning the gold.

Guess who's available? Pops Mensah-Bonsu! Contract rescinded, back on the street , ready to come in and play five or six minutes at a time with rebounds and missed dunks at your disposal. Kidding aside, Bonsu's a solid bench player that deserves a run.

The NBA just inked a deal with a Spanish bank for $100 million for sponsorship across the NBA, WNBA, and the D-League. That's a pretty big chunk of change. The league keeps talking about losses, and keeps ratcheting up big deals.
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 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: 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

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