Orlando Magic Blog

Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Magic for NBA Championship?

Now that the arena issue is out of the way, the question is whether or not the Magic is on its way to building a championship team?

Here are the pros:

1) Dwight Howard. Although not a polished offensive machine yet, the potentials are extremely high for Dwight to develop into a force of unique characteristics.
2) Rashard Lewis. An accomplished offensive player in his prime. Can he be as good defensively? One has to remember that Jordan was an aberration excelling in both offense and defense. Most contemporary NBA players are more talented in one than the other.
3) Stan van Gundy. Coach SVG is a no nonsense humble leader who scores well with the players. He may not be as glitzy as some other high profile coaches, but he stands taller than many of them in terms of hard work, dedication, communication skills and the ability to adjust when need be.

And the cons:

1) Ownership’s myopia. The ownership is not smart enough to see the advantages of building equity in intangibles while taking losses in the short term. Their persistence in staying under the salary cap is detrimental to the success, or lack thereof, of the team in the long term. Their move to go after Billy Donovan – or Stan Van Gundy – and signing up the most coveted free agent at all costs was intended to show their future commitment in order to secure the arena approval.
2) Inexperienced General Manager. Otis Smith has been a combination of success and shortfalls. In all honesty, I can’t relate all the success on his side to skill or wisdom since plenty of rookie mistakes are made right next to them. This summer, it would have only taken a phone call to keep Darko and his agent warm until the Rashard Lewis’s situation had been taken care of. Instead there was an unfortunate blow-up that hurt the Magic’s interest, regardless of who said what and who went over the board. Magic could have signed Darko later based on the Bird’s rights with the type of contract that Memphis offered him if the messy situation was prevented.
3) Clear holes in the team’s roster. Frontline and backcourt issues are persistent. The starters for the PF and SG positions are not well determined, while the PG position is not addressed yet. In the meantime, based on Jameer’s performance of last year, he could not be slated as the point guard of the future. Players could not be moved around willy nilly, as was done in Brian Hill’s time. Neither one of Hedo and Rashard are known for defense, and starting them at SF and PF positions would be a defensive gaffe despite their ability to spread the floor for Dwight. The question is how many points would it mean for Dwight as opposed to the points given on the defensive side? That issue would be magnified more if Jameer and J.J. are the starters at 1 and 2 both considered defensive liabilities.

Unless the ownership changes its approach with regard to going the cheap route – on the salary cap issue, as well as hiring highly qualified professionals to run the business – the championship dream is just that, a dream. The problem is that all determining elements have to converge within a 3-5 year span, which is hard to bring about. The capable Coach, the heavy weight GM, the insightful Ownership combined with the core players are the necessary ingredients for success. Any missing ingredient would impede or hinder the probabilities of achieving the objective. To think that Dwight and Rashard are locked up for the next five years based on their contracts is foolish. How many times disgruntled players on dysfunctional teams asked for trade, or the teams have decided to break up and go for re-building?

As it stands, there are not many indications that the ownership will change. Therefore, the best chance for the Magic and the city of Orlando to compete for the NBA championship is for the current ownership to sell the team.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Summer Plans



"There’s interest from those guys to play here,’’ Smith said of Webber and Brown. "This is a young, up-and-coming basketball team, and any veteran who comes here won’t have to carry a lot of the weight. We have a young guys in Rashard and Dwight who they can lean on and a strong nucleus. That makes us attractive to guys still out there. And being in the East is attractive, too."

Venues deal approved!

Bianchi: Three cheers for Crotty showing tough leadership
It would have been a serious breach of journalism ethics, but there was a little part of me that wanted to run up and high-five Rich Crotty.

Team says Magic will never leave Orlando

Orlando's greatest sports moments

Political Pulse: Venues deal approved


Thursday, July 26, 2007


Sun Sports will debut a compelling interview with Orlando Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy on Monday, July 30. Host Whit Watson sat down with Van Gundy yesterday at the RDV Sportsplex to discuss a variety of topics including the somewhat surreal scenario that resulted in his joining the Magic, the circumstances surrounding his departure from the Miami Heat, what’s ahead for the Magic and more. Van Gundy was also asked to share some personal anecdotes with the fans, such as what he’d like to change about the NBA, best player he’s ever seen, and what he likes to read. His answers may be surprising. In My Own Words: Stan Van Gundy premieres on Sun Sports Monday, July 30, at 7:30pm.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Flagrant Foul

By Adrian Wojnarowski

LAS VEGAS – The nightmare has forever lurked in the reaches of commissioner David Stern's mind, because NBA officials can control a basketball game with calls made and unmade with the subtlest of touches. These referees are human and flawed and can get deep into gambling debt, get addicted, like everyone else in this culture.

And, of course, what the NBA official wields is the most dangerous weapon of all: a twisted whistle.

As the sun rose on the Strip in Vegas, where the best players in the world had gathered for a Team USA minicamp, the doomsday scenario of fixed games hung over the league like an anvil. The FBI has been conducting an investigation into a referee betting on games that he officiated, and perhaps, making calls to control the point spread, the New York Post reported Friday morning.

In a statement, the NBA said, "We have been asked by the FBI, with whom we are working closely, not to comment on this matter at this time."

The official had a gambling problem, a source told the Associated Press, and had been approached by lower level mob associates to work with them. Apparently, there were tens of thousands of dollars in bets on games during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons.

It's bad enough that this official allegedly could've controlled games in the regular season, but did point spreads and playoff games get decided by a dirty official?

Did a degenerate ref and mobsters play a part in determining a champion?

All Stern can do is bite his lip and take those charges, because everything about the NBA has been thrown into question. For now, uncomfortable questions hang over the league, and each promises to erode its credibility. Until the official is brought on charges, which could happen within the next week, the AP reported, every suspect call a league official has made over the past two seasons comes under scrutiny.

Ten years ago, several NBA officials were indicted for tax evasion over a travel scheme involving airplane tickets. Some of those officials were let back into the NBA, but this is different. This cuts to the core of the NBA's credibility, and perhaps no league has had to spend more time convincing people that conspiracy theories on officiating were unfounded. For the longest time, there was a belief that referees colluded to protect superstars and glamour teams, that they somehow carried out orders and agendas from beyond the court.

Now, the league can't just haughtily dismiss those charges because there could be something worse than anyone ever imagined: mob-controlled referees. Sooner than later, the charges will start to trickle out, possibly with the unseemly details of a referee caught up in the commissioner's worst nightmare. There have been some scandals through the years in the league, but nothing like this. Nothing close. Sooner than later, all hell is going to break loose. The NBA will never be the same again.


TrueHoop: Nightmare

Magic Math- A fun way to determine Orlando’s record for next season

By Brendan Sonnone

The off-season is far from over, and there might be a handful of moves that the Magic will still make, but that hasn’t stopped people from making predictions on how Orlando will perform next season. Some fans are saying the Magic will be a top team in the East, others are thinking that there will be little improvement, and then there are those that think Orlando can possibly be worse.

Here is a little Magic Maththat can possibly help individuals determine Orlando’s outcome, based on their own opinions. First you need to take all variables into account. Do you think the signing of Rashard Lewis will offset the losses of Grant Hill and Darko Milicic? Will Stan Van Gundy be better than Brian Hill…ect. This simple addition/subtraction formula will be a great way to decide how much Orlando will improve (or digress) this year due to the busy off-season. Get your calculator ready for Magic Math because here we go…

Start off with taking the sum of Orlando’s total wins last year, which was 40.

Determine how much better you think Stan Van Gundy will be than Brian Hill. If you think he will be a tremendous improvement, add 4 to the win column (thus getting 44). If you think he will better the team a reasonable amount, add 3; and if you think he will offer just a slight improvement over Hill, add 1. If you feel that Brian Hill was a significantly better coach than Van Gundy (you might be on drugs, just kidding, but not really) subtract 4. If you feel Hill was fairly better, subtract 3, and if you think Hill was just above Van Gundy, subtract 1. Of course, if you think there is no difference, just keep the score at 40. MY SCORE: +4…Van Gundy is a great coach, and will get the best out of his players, offensively and defensively.

Next, consider how much you think the addition of Lewis will help out the team. If you are under the impression that he will be turn into an NBA All-First Team player, add 4. If you think he will be an all-star or make those around him all-stars, add 3. If you think he will get his 20 points and be a good #2 option add 2, and if you get the notion that he will help out a little offensively, add 1. If you think he will ruin the chemistry of the team, subtract 4. If you think that Darko and Grant Hill were better than his presence subtract 3 or 2 depending on how strongly you feel. If you think he will slightly take away from Howard and other players, subtract 1. No difference, add or subtract nothing.MY SCORE: +3… Lewis will improve the team. While he might not increase his numbers that much, he will make those around him better with his presence alone.

Now, ask yourself if you think Orlando will be able to add another big man (or men) to the roster. If they land a 10 and 10 guy, add 3. If you think the team can land a tough player like Eaton Thomas and if you feel Martin Gortat develops into 8,8,2 guy, add 2. Several aging veterans like P.J Brown, add 1 or 0, your liking. If you think the team adds an untested player or just one 38+ year old, subtract 1. If you think they stick with just Gortat, take away 2, and if you think the Magic stands pat, subtract 4. MY SCORE: -1…While Gortat might be useful coming off the bench, he isn’t ready to start. A guy like P.J Brown or Antonio Davis would be nice as well, but their age would be a concern. Someone of that caliber is likely what the Magic will get.

Orlando had one of the youngest teams in the league last year. Will the year of experience (including playoffs) help improve the play of youngsters like Howard, Jameer Nelson, Trevor Ariza and J.J Redick drastically? If you think so, add 3. If you think each player will be slightly improved, add 2. If you think that year will make little difference, especially for guys like Redick who received limited playing time, keep the score at 0. If you think that the more pressure that is applied to the youngsters will make them worse or under perform, subtract 1-3, your choice. MY SCORE: +2… A guy like Nelson may never get better, but a year of experience will certainly help all of the young members of this Magic squad.

O.K, we’ve covered Orlando. Now let’s concentrate on the team’s main opponents. If you are under the impression that several playoff teams like Miami and New Jersey will be worse this season, add 3 to Orlando’s score. If you think that a few of the higher seeds will fall off and not too many non-playoff teams will sneak up on Orlando, add 1-2. If you think that things will remain the same, add 0. If the Eastern Conference seems to be much improved, subtract 3-4. If there are several teams, ahead of and below the Magic last year that look better, subtract 1-2. MY SCORE: +2… Miami is getting older and Wade won’t be relied on until later in the year. New Jersey is getting up there in age as well, and same with Detroit. However a healthy Wizards team, an improved Charlotte and Boston squad and a Chicago team that looks prime, things won’t come too easy.

With everything I have taken into account, my predicted win total for Orlando next season is…(drum roll)…50. That is pretty much what I thought Orlando would get this upcoming season, maybe a little bit better than I expected, so the formula seems to work. Will Magic Math help you get a hold on this team?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Around the Web

Monday, July 16, 2007

Is Rashard Lewis Overpaid?

John Denton from Florida Today answers that and many other questions raised on Rashard Lewis's signing. Here is the link:


Friday, July 13, 2007

ESPN on JJ Redick

ESPN - Scouting breakdown: Redick at summer league - NBA
(ESPN Insider) David Thorpe:

After a nondescript season slowed by injury and full of DNP-CDs, league opinion entering this year's Orlando summer league seemed to be more like 20/80 -- about one out of five believed he would eventually become a legitimate player.

Three games into summer league, Redick's doing everything he can to get that other 80 percent on his side.

Redick's strengths on this side of the ball are well-documented -- he's one of the purest shooters in college basketball history. But the knock on the former Duke star always has been that he might be too slow and small to get off his shot against quicker, taller NBA defenders.

While I agree that he isn't great at getting good shots off his own dribble drives and the triple-threat position, I believe that within a team concept he can be very effective using screens or attacking open spaces created by a good post scorer or another great shooter/slasher. In other words, being the second or third option can be a great role for him.

And Redick has two things going for him that allow him to be a go-to guy, at least on occasion -- incredible confidence as a shot-maker and the ability to draw fouls. Thus far in Orlando's summer league, he is showcasing both of those talents.

In the Magic's first three games, in an offense that is all about getting Redick involved, he has taken 44 shots from the field (and 24 from the charity stripe). The shots have come in a variety of ways, from transition layups to deep curls, and everything in between. In short, he looks like he did while dominating the ACC, brimming with confidence while constantly moving around screens in search of his quick and deadly jump shot. Few guys can make the deep 3 coming off of a pin down, but Redick is one of them.

He has shot 21-for-44 despite being the only real scoring threat on the team and facing a defense stacked to stop him.

Though he's not a great penetrator, his array of exaggerated shot fakes and his body control on dribble-drives allow him to create scoring space for himself. And when his defender gets slightly off-balance, Redick is terrific at creating the contact that compels the official to call the foul.

In his first game, he scored a cool 30 points on 18 field goal attempts (7-for-18), going 12-for-12 from the line. He showed a strong ability to create points out of tough situations, and hitting 4-of-6 from the 3-point line reminded everybody of his college days -- he should have many nights to come when his 3-point shooting will be the important story of a Magic victory.

Game 2 is when Redick displayed his excellent passing and overall unselfishness, recording six assists as the Pacers were quick to rotate to him. A few of his assists went to his backcourt mate, Kevin Kruger (undrafted rookie out of UNLV), who led the Magic in scoring with 18 points on the way to another easy Magic victory.

(Kruger, perhaps the biggest surprise in Orlando after two games, is the perfect complement to Redick's offensive game, a true point guard who always looks to get Redick the ball where he wants it, as opposed to where Redick is when the point guard can not get a shot off and is forced to pass. These two tough, feisty, and exceedingly smart guards have shredded their two opponents, perhaps giving new head coach Stan Van Gundy something to consider when devising his offensive strategies. Redick is clearly in his element when he is more of a focal point of the offense.)

Redick is moving well, suggesting that his back issues are dormant, if not eliminated altogether. He is not a fun guy to defend, in part due to his frenetic energy and also because his quick release forces defenders to close out on him in a hurry and a little out of control.

He is also showing a far better feel for passing than he is normally given credit for. He is making many "easy passes" -- passes to open guys that come in a natural flow of the offense instead of ball-beating and only passing when he can't get a shot.


Redick's small stature for his position causes him problems defending big shooting guards, while his relative lack of quickness puts him at an even greater disadvantage against ultra-quick guys.

But Redick is very competitive, locking in on defense and showing a willingness to fight on each possession. In the NBA regular season, that is more than half the battle. That he may need help in some situations only makes him like most other shooting guards -- who doesn't need help defending guys like Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, or Michael Redd? And against the more ordinary scorers, he'll be fine.

It is his off-the-ball defense that is perhaps more important anyway. With Van Gundy requiring a different defensive help rotation than Brian Hill did last season or Coach K did at Duke, Redick should be focused on learning his new positionings this week.

And it appears he is. Of the 90 players here this week, no guard has been more aware of his responsibilities on help defense than Redick. He is locked in, constantly moving slightly when he is in the helpside box, hoping to get the best possible help angles if a penetrating dribble or pass should occur.


Though he is known for his deft shooting and overall scoring ability, I think leadership is Redick's biggest strength. He has been the most vocal player in this summer league, not overly demonstrative but always talking positively to his teammates, offering "fives" whether they do well or not. He barks out orders when necessary, but always with the proper vocal tone and facial expression.

If leadership is "breathing spirit into the hearts and minds of others," Redick's leadership skills are evidenced by how well Orlando's players have played so far.

The buzz from former Redick naysayers here in Orlando has been "J.J. looks like he did at Duke." I would agree, though the chip on his shoulder from being so villainized in the ACC has disappeared.

He seems just as confident as in the past, but a little more relaxed as he sets out to prove he deserves a chance at being the starting shooting guard for a Magic team that will have at least two solid offensive options in Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis.

The idea of doubling on Howard, rotating quickly to an open Lewis, and leaving a confident Redick open in the corner has to be a concern for coaches from opposing teams who are developing strategies for the upcoming season. And Redick's willingness to invest in making a difference on defense should allow Van Gundy more flexibility in playing him.

For a young player trying to build a career, "crawling before walking" is the smart way to go. Redick is focused on playing well here in the summer league as a foundation for training camp in October.

I've always believed Redick could become a starter for a playoff team, and he appears to be moving along that path now.

David Thorpe is an NBA analyst for ESPN.com and the executive director of the Pro Training Center in Clearwater, Fla., where he works as a personal coach for Udonis Haslem (Miami Heat), Orien Greene (Indiana Pacers), Alexander Johnson (Memphis Grizzlies) and Kevin Martin (Sacramento Kings). You can e-mail him here.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lewis' expensive sixth year incentive based

Brian Schmitz, Tim Povtak, Tania Ganguli Sentinel Staff Writers
10:12 PM EDT, July 12, 2007

Magic SF Rashard Lewis wanted a sixth year to sign with the club, but that final season is only partially guaranteed and he will have to meet certain incentives for it to fully kick in.

NBA executives were alarmed and puzzled after the Magic doled out a six-year contract estimated at $118.5 million to Lewis, who officially signed as a free agent Wednesday.

Addressing claims that the club significantly overpaid for Lewis, team President Bob Vander Weide said the Magic managed to get Lewis to agree to meet some provisions before they executed a sign-and-trade with Lewis' old team, the Seattle SuperSonics, that gave him a six-year deal.

Lewis will have to meet some incentives before the sixth year -- valued at an estimated $23.8 million -- becomes fully guaranteed.

"Before we'd agree to get into a sign-and-trade agreement with the player we wanted him to appreciate performance first,'' Vander Weide said. "The deal could be worth ($118.5 million) before it's all said and done or it may not. We really won't know until the contract is complete."

Lewis' sixth year incentive based

Last Note:
The Magic said they were hoping to re-sign Milicic, too, by creating salary-cap space, but they couldn't work a deal to move players. They said the SuperSonics originally wanted point guard Jameer Nelson, shooting guard J.J. Redick and small forward Trevor Ariza, plus two future first-round draft picks.

"They wanted all that and then some," Smith said.

Diener, Outlaw, will not return

Brian Schmitz, Tim Povtak, Tania Ganguli, Sentinel Staff Writers
July 12, 2007

The Magic don't expect point guard Travis Diener or forward Bo Outlaw to return to the team for the 2007-08 season. Both are free agents this summer.

Diener, 25, a second-round pick in 2005, played in 49 games with Orlando as the third-team point guard. He averaged 3.8 points and 1.0 assist per game. Outlaw, 36, played for the Magic for the past three seasons, returning to the club in 2005 after playing in Orlando from 1997-2002. A fan favorite, Outlaw played in just 41 games last season, averaging 2.0 points and 2.6 rebounds.

Other Magic news

The Magic will hold their training camp in October at RDV Sportsplex, electing not to return to Jacksonville. The team is staying in town to prepare for three exhibition games in China against the Cleveland Cavaliers.... If the Magic want C Marcin Gortat on their 2007-08 roster, they will have to pay a $500,000 buyout to Gortat's German team. Gortat has one year left on his contract overseas.

-from orlandosentinel.com

Dwight Howard signs contract extension with Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic today signed Dwight Howard to a five-year contract extension worth an estimated $85 million, believing their franchise center has only begun to scratch the surface of his vast potential.The signing comes one day after the Magic completed a sign-and-trade deal with the Seattle SuperSonics that brought forward Rashard Lewis with a six-year contract worth $118 million."Dwight already is one of the most intimidating forces in the league,'' said Magic General Manager Otis Smith. "And at 21years old, he is only going to get better.''
Howard, originally the No. 1 pick in the 2004 NBA draft, has not missed a single game in his three NBA seasons. He made his first NBA All-Star Game appearance this past season, when he averaged 17.6 points and 12.3 rebounds per game.He became the youngest player in NBA history to record 20-plus rebounds in a single game (Dec. 1, 2004). This season he ranked among NBA leaders in field-goal percentage (second), rebounding (third), blocked shots (12th) and minutes played (29th)."This was really where I wanted to be. I want to retire in Orlando,'' Howard said. "Me and Mickey Mouse will be here forever.''Howard will play this season in the fourth year of his original rookie contract, paying him $6 million. His extension will start the following year at $11.7 million.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Magic sign Rashard Lewis, expect to announce Dwight Howard extension

The Orlando Magic acquired free-agent forward Rashard Lewis today with a sign-and-trade deal that includes that largest contract in franchise history, a six-year deal worth an estimated $118 million.Lewis, 27, is the player the Magic had targeted since free agency began July 1. Today was the first day that teams could begin signing new contracts.Lewis has averaged at least 20 points in each of the past three seasons in Seattle. He averaged a career-high 22.4 points, along with 6.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.13 steals last season. By doing a sign-and-trade deal with Seattle, sending them only a future conditional second-round draft pick, the Magic were allowed to give Lewis a sixth year on his contract instead of the maximum five if they had signed him as a free agent.The Magic are expected to announce today that they have signed center Dwight Howard to a five-year contract extension worth another $85 million."We have our two cornerstones now,'' said an elated Coach Stan Van Gundy. "Now you build a team around them.''The Magic are expected to play Lewis (6 feet 10) at small forward, giving them a starting front line that will include Howard (6-11) and Tony Battie (6-11).Lewis, originally a second-round draft pick in 1998 directly from high school, has spent his entire career in Seattle, averaging 16.6 points and 5.8 rebounds. He is considered a better-than-average 3-point shooter, able to score from all over the court.The signing of Lewis did require the Magic to use all their salary-cap space, effectively eliminating any chance of re-signing free-agent power forward/center Darko Milicic, who had been expected to be part of the Magic's future.

J.J. aims for bigger Magic role

ESPN - J.J. aims for bigger Magic role - NBA

Nice write-up about JJ from ESPN.

Regarding Lewis:

Orlando has agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with the Seattle SuperSonics that will allow Lewis to make $126.4 million over the next six seasons, according to NBA sources who requested anonymity. The Magic will send back a second-round pick to the Sonics.

With the 2007-08 salary cap set Tuesday night at $56.63 million, Lewis' first-year salary with the Magic will be $16.68 million -- the maximum allowable for a player with nine years of NBA experience. From there, he'll get 10.5 percent annual raises. That will take the deal to a mind-boggling $25.2 million for the 2012-13 season.

Worth Reading

GM likes look of Magic roster

There are some interesting quotes in this column. Also brought out was that the Magic are planning on running Lewis at the power forward position next to Turk and Howard as I suspected. So how it sounds, as of today, is our starters will be Nelson, Turk, Lewis, and Howard. The only question mark is at the shooting guard position, which I expect Redick to fill at one point or another this coming season.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Darko Days Done?



By Brian Schmitz Sentinel Staff Writer

Magic move past Milicic, refocus on Jameer Nelson

Pepsi Pro Summer League Game 1

Redick Scores 30 in Summer-League Debut; Magic Beat Nets 85-74

I read what articles I could around the web in regards to game 1 of the Pepsi Pro Summer League. I also watched the Magic/Nets game. Overall, there were were a lot of positives. But instead of me saying what I saw, I'll defer to a fellow friend blogger, as it seems he was watching what I was. The link is above.

Monday, July 09, 2007

What is Darko worth? And who wants him?


Does Memphis want Darko? He may be asking as much as $9 to $10 million per year and Memphis has funds available.

From the article:

Memphis is expected to have up to $9 million in salary cap room to spend on a free agent. Milwaukee and Charlotte are the only other teams with money that is more than the mid-level exception.

Teams can officially sign free agents Wednesday once a moratorium is lifted and the NBA's salary cap is set.

The Grizzlies don't appear to be in any rush.

They also are exploring possible trades given the team can acquire salary without having to exchange players.

After selecting point guard Mike Conley with the fourth pick in the draft, the Griz have targeted a frontline player who can provide strong defense and rebounding next to Pau Gasol.

Although Cleveland has the right to match any offers, Varejao appears to have all the qualities the Griz are looking for. Varejao, 24, provides energy, effort and intangibles.

The 6-10, 240-pound forward has developed into a solid shot blocker and rebounder over the past three seasons.

Milicic is another intriguing option.

He is an unrestricted free agent after Orlando withdrew a qualifying offer to Milicic last Tuesday.

Reportedly, the 7-footer is looking for a long-term deal averaging between $9 and $10 million a year.

Van Gundy wants to see some defense!

MAGIC SUMMER LEAGUE:The Hills' Orlando exodus gives J.J. Redick a shot to prove himself after last season's disappointment.J.J. Redick may have earned his reputation as a shooter -- one of the finest in college basketball history -- but that's not what new Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy wants to see this week.He wants to see if Redick can defend.For the Magic, that one topic might just become the single most important element of the 2007 Pepsi Pro Summer League that begins today at RDV Sportsplex.The Magic will be playing five games in the next five days, joining the Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Bobcats, Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets and Indiana Pacers, all using this one-week league for a closer, more detailed look at their younger players.Because of space limitations, the games are closed to the public, but three games each day can be seen on a live video webcast available at OrlandoMagic.com."I've told J.J. I'm not interested in what his numbers are. If he averages 30 points, it won't change my opinion of him. Same if he averages four points and shoots 15 percent," Van Gundy said Sunday after practice. "I want to see him make progress as the week goes on in terms of his defensive mentality. I want to see how he responds to the challenge of defense."The Magic have a 15-man lineup that includes only Redick and forward James Augustine from last year's roster. Both will be going into their second season. Also on the Magic is center Marcin Gortat of Poland, a second-round draft pick from 2005 who has been playing in Europe.Power forward Milovan Rakovic, the Magic's 2007 second-round pick from Serbia, is unlikely to play after he sustained a hip injury Wednesday during a workout at RDV Sportsplex the day before regular practices began.The team, composed mostly of young free agents, has been practicing together since Thursday. Rakovic has participated only in the lighter, non-contact parts of the practices."It's pretty simple for me. I want to watch the two guys we have [Redick and Augustine]. Obviously I want to get a look at Marcin because we have his rights. Those three are our priorities here, probably in that order," Van Gundy said. "Then you want to see if there is anyone else who might be able to help us."The Magic are one team that might be looking for significant help from different sources before next season. Guard/forward Grant Hill is expected to sign with the Phoenix Suns this week. And free-agent power forward/center Darko Milicic also is expected to be playing elsewhere next season.The Magic have committed most of their salary cap room to free agent Rashard Lewis of Seattle. A good showing from Gortat or Augustine this week, particularly with the Magic's need for at least one more front-court player, could lead to a roster spot in the fall.The search for talent won't be restricted to this league. Magic assistant general manager Dave Twardzik will be watching the Las Vegas Summer League.Other notables expected to play in the Summer League here this week include guard Raymond Felton and forward Adam Morrison from Charlotte, guard Thabo Sefolosha, center Martynas Andriuskevicius and forward Tyrus Thomas from Chicago, and guard Orien Greene (Miami).First-round draft picks include Daequan Cook (Miami, Ohio State) Sean Williams (New Jersey, Boston College) and Jared Dudley (Charlotte, Boston College). Joakim Noah (Chicago, Florida) is injured and won't play.There will be three games each day, with the first starting at 3 p.m. On Friday, the games will begin at 11 a.m. The rules also have been altered to include four, 10-minute quarters. The six-foul disqualification has been waived.The absence of Hill this season might provide Redick with a good opportunity for playing time if he can impress Van Gundy with his defense. Redick, the highly touted shooter from Duke, hardly played his rookie season under former coach Brian Hill. He missed summer camp last year and much of fall training camp because of injuries."I already know he can help us offensively. I know he can put the ball in the basket and make plays,'' Van Gundy said. "I have great confidence in that. I just want to see how he does at the other end."

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Magic Fan & Pros Point of View

Posted by Scott Anez, July 3, 2007, 9:51AM

Caution: Remember Billy Donovan!

We Magic faithful learned a very valuable lesson a few weeks ago. Something about never counting your chickens before they cross the road, or something like that.
That's why I want to see Rashard Lewis with 'Orlando' on his chest before I start getting my hopes up. July 11 can't get here soon enough.
With that said, you have to give credit to the Orlando Magic organization. Otis Smith and company determined that scoring was our most pressing need. They go out and get a guy who averaged over 22 points per game last season. Lewis is a versatile player who was coveted by a bunch of NBA teams, i.e. Houston, New York and Miami. It's a solid free agent move.
More kudos to Team Magic for putting the screws to Darko Milicic.
Before Lewis can be signed, the Darko situation must be resolved one way or another.
Remember, Darko is a restricted free agent, which means that Orlando can match any offer he gets. So, before Lewis is inked to a max contract, the Magic must either re-sign Darko and make another trade to make room for Lewis. Or, we must renounce Darko, ink Lewis and keep the rest of the club intact.
It's obviously been determined that Lewis is higher priority of the two. That's the way it should be. Lewis is proven. Darko is not.
Listen, I like Darko. I'd love to see him back in Orlando. He's young. He's very talented AND ya can't coach seven feet.
However, when I watch Darko play, I sometimes wonder where his head and heart are. He can be incredibly aloof on the court. As a Magic fan, you hope that youth is the root cause of the lack of aggression and focus at times.
Don't ya love sports agents? Darko's guy, Marc Cornstein, said earlier this week that he was surprised that the Magic didn't call him when the free agency period began Sunday.
Surprised? Cornstein knows where the Magic stand. We want Darko back, but, we're not gonna break the bank and endanger the Lewis deal to get this done. It's now up to Mr. Cornstein to go out and get an impressive offer sheet from another NBA team. The Magic will decide whether to match or not.
Cornstein says that he's received calls from ten other teams, and that a few of those teams made offers. Man, this is why I despise talking to agents because I feel the need to bathe every time I get off the phone with one of 'em.
Hey Marc, who are those teams? What are they offering? Look Marc, your nose is growing! Truth is, this is a very soft NBA free agent market. I would be shocked to see Darko finding any mega-deals out there.
The Orlando Magic are calling the Cornstein bluff, and well they should.
They want Darko back, but will not break the bank on him to jeopardize the Rashard Lewis deal.
So, Darko, it's up to you to SHOW ME THE MONEY!

Posted by Scott Anez, July 5, 2007, 2:09PM

Over the last few days, I have wracked my little pea brain to figure out what Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith is trying to do this summer. If I've got it right...and if it all comes to fruition, we should all petition the Commissioner to hand Otis the NBA's Executive of the Year Award right now.
Remember when Otis told me a few weeks ago that he was going to have to get very creative this summer? He wasn't kidding. He is literally trying to pull off some street magic that Criss Angel Mindfreak and David Blaine would envy.
Don't quote me but here's what I think is going on here....
Get a scorer. If you believe in verbal agreements, Otis has accomplished that goal by coming to terms with Rashard Lewis.
Now, I think that Otis would have liked to get a deal done for Darko Milicic first. However, because Lewis was drawing high interest in other NBA locales, it looks to me as if the GM's hand was forced. He had to act quickly if he wanted Rashard's services. He did just that.
So, Otis gets the crown jewel. But now, things get really jumbled in terms of salary cap in trying to get Darko Milicic signed.
Some of you bloggers are likely much better capologists than I. My eyes tend to gloss over whenever I hear the phrase "base year compensation". But, despite the inflammatory comments of Marc Cornstein recently, I truly believe Otis wants to re-sign Darko.
After Lewis and the Magic agreed on a deal, Otis had to act quickly because they didn't want Darko suddenly accepting their qualifying offer. If that had happened, the Lewis agreement would have gone the way of Billy Donovan.
So then, much to Marc Cornstein's chagrin, the Magic were forced to pull Darko's qualifying offer and renounce his rights, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Here's what I believe the plan is:
Acquire Rashard Lewis in a sign and trade with Seattle. In return, the Magic would send a few players with expiring contracts (possibly Garrity and Arroyo and maybe Dooling) to the Sonics. In such a deal, we could get back roughly $8 million in cap to sign Darko. However, this plan hinges on Seattle doing a sign and trade. If the Sonics decide against making such a deal, then a Darko deal is D-O-A in Orlando and he'll have to go elsewhere.
Next order of business is to trade Hedo Turkoglu. With Lewis (almost) in the fold, we're overloaded at small forward with Rashard and Trevor Ariza occupying the spot. Therefore, do ya trade Hedo for Ron Artest, as has been reported? There's no doubt this Magic team has been as soft as the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man lately. Artest is the NBA's baddest boy but he's tough as nails. Question is, is he too dysfunctional in terms of team chemistry? We'll leave that one for another day.
So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
It looks to me as if Otis is making Mission Impossible actually look Possible!

Otis Smith says Magic still want Darko Milicic back!

Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith said Thursday that despite the hard feelings expressed by Darko Milicic's agent, the Magic still would like to work a deal to bring back Milicic."Yes, sure," Smith said. "I've said it all along. We like Darko. I'd like to think the deal could work out for both sides."After the Magic withdrew a qualifying offer to Milicic on Tuesday, rendering him an unresticted free agent, Marc Cornstein, Milicic's agent, blasted Smith for his handling of his client's free agency. He said Milicic never would play for the Magic again "as long as Otis Smith was general manager." Smith said he still was trying to work a sign-and-trade deal for Rashard Lewis with the Seattle SuperSonics to create enough salary-cap room to sign Milicic, who played the past 1-1/2 seasons with the Magic.Orlando would send a player or two to the Sonics in the Lewis' deal, but it is a long shot, considering the deal should be done before the Magic officially sign Lewis next week. The Magic also could trade another player to another team to create cap room to sign Milicic.The Magic still own the Bird rights to Milicic, meaning they can sign him to more years and for more money than any team.Smith said he left a message for Cornstein to call him since the agent ripped him in a Sentinel story on Tuesday.Smith discounted a report that forward Hedo Turkoglu would be traded for Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest.Artest's agent also said Thursday that the report was "just talk.''"I haven't heard anything like that," agent Mark Stevens told theSentinel. "As far as I'm concerned, Ron's still with the Sacramento Kings."TheSacramento Bee reported that the Kings asked the Magic if Turkoglu were available. Turkoglu played his first three seasons in Sacramento.

Wild Ride?

Next Magic target: Ron Artest?
The Sacramento Bee, quoting an unnamed source, reported Wednesday that the Magic have inquired about the availability of volatile forward Ron Artest. The proposed deal would reunite Turkoglu with the Kings, the franchise he played with for the first three years of his career, and would send Artest back East to give Orlando a much-needed attitude adjustment.

Magic general manager Otis Smith repeatedly lamented the Magic's lack of a killer instinct last season, saying that his team "liked each other way too much," and didn't always hold each other accountable because of their mostly mild-mannered players.

The gritty Artest, of course, could dramatically alter that mindset. The 2004 Defensive Player of the Year and three-time All-Defense selection would bring an aspect of toughness that was missing last season when the Magic struggled to a 40-42 record and were swept out of the playoffs by Detroit.

Because Artest is set to make $7.8 million and Turkoglu is due $6.3 million, the trade could be made straight up and would fall within the parameters of the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement.

It might be crazy-stupid but sure wouldn't be boring. It's these kind of rumors that make this time of year so much fun.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Milicic's agent: Darko won't play for Magic as long as Smith is GM

Brian Schmitz Sentinel Staff Writer
6:49 PM EDT, July 3, 2007

Power forward Darko Milicic never will play for the Orlando Magic this season or any other "as long as Otis Smith is general manager," an irate Marc Cornstein, told the Sentinel.

Late Tuesday, shortly after the Magic withdrew their qualifying offer to Milicic -- whom Smith had said was a priority before the free-agent courting period began -- Cornstein blasted Smith for being a "liar." He called Smith's handling of his client "deceitful, disrespectful and a disgrace."

Cornstein said Smith had indicated that the Magic wanted to re-sign Milicic, but then sent an e-mail to him Tuesday telling him they had withdrawn their qualifying offer and made him an unresticted free agent.

Said Smith, "Our goals remain the same. To sign a free agent and try to retain Darko."

Cornstein said there's no chance.

"There's no chance. Put it in big capital letters," Cornstein said. "You can say that as long as Otis Smith is the general manager of the Orlando Magic, there's no chance."

Cornstein said that when the Magic did not contact him when the free-agency courting period began, "He didn't want to be here in the end. If Otis Smith had been a decent human and told us that Rashard Lewis was the player they wanted and would have to sacrifice Darko to get him, my reaction wouldn't have been happiness. But I would have said, 'I appreciate you telling me.'

"Instead, the guy told us Darko was a priority, and he lied."

Magic's big splash in free agency raises big questions

By John HollingerESPN Insider
Go early or go late.
When it comes to free agency, it seems that's the best way to win. Successful teams either jump right in with both feet and make the best offer to the top guy on their list, or hang tight until mid-August and start picking off the leftovers at below-market prices.
Monday, we had a big winner in the "go early" department. Orlando raised eyebrows around the league by agreeing with Rashard Lewis on a max contract that could end up being worth roughly $80 million over five years depending on what the league's new salary cap number is (that figure will be determined July 11).
Here's where it gets really interesting: Not only are the Magic going to pay Lewis the maximum salary, they're also effectively giving up on Darko Milicic to make the deal. The only way the Magic can fit a maximum deal under the salary cap is by renouncing their rights to Milicic, making him an unrestricted free agent.
But first things first. Let's deal with the big questions from this signing one by one and then work our way down to its impacts:

Is Lewis worth the money?
If you accept that winning any bidding war for a free agent involves a certain degree of overpayment, especially for one as coveted as Lewis, the answer seems to be yes. He's played at something approaching an All-Star level the last three seasons, his PER has risen slowly every year he's been in the league, and he's young enough (28 in August) that he should play at this level for a couple more years.
Additionally, the back end of the contract shouldn't get too ugly because players like Lewis tend to age well. His two best assets -- his height and shooting ability -- won't diminish much as he gets older, and clearly he takes care of himself. By the time the contract ends he'll be almost 33 -- a bit troubling, perhaps, but certainly nowhere near the risk involved with older players such as Chauncey Billups and Vince Carter.
Plus, with Billups and Carter intent on re-signing with their respective teams, Lewis was the single best "portable" free agent available. Getting the No. 1 guy rarely fails as a free agent strategy; even if Lewis somehow fails to live up to his Seattle numbers, the Magic still are getting a quality player.
So the Magic might have overpaid a little, but they didn't waste their money. And with Dwight Howard about to sign a huge extension, this was their last shot to play the market for a long time.

Why wasn't he worth it for Seattle?
The Sonics obviously were interested in keeping Lewis, otherwise they wouldn't have flown to Houston this week to woo him. The key here is that Orlando's number was bigger than Seattle's number. With Kevin Durant and Jeff Green already in the fold, Lewis replicated some skills the Sonics already had, so while the Sonics probably would have been OK with something less generous, they weren't going to make a bid in Orlando's range.
And by not maxing out Lewis right now, the Sonics are better poised to add players later. Removing Lewis' cap hold puts Seattle $3.8 million under the salary cap right now, if we assume a $56 million cap for this season (again, the final number won't be known until July 11).
But the big splash is two years down the road. At that point, the expiring deals of Wally Szczerbiak and Chris Wilcox will take roughly $20 million off the Sonics' books. While extensions to Robert Swift and Delonte West are likely to eat up a portion of that, it still leaves Seattle with more than enough dough to chase a superstar in the summer of 2009.

What about a sign-and-trade?
A sign-and-trade deal conceivably could have benefits for all sides. Orlando possibly could unload contracts and make room to keep Milicic. Seattle could gain assets in return for Lewis. And Lewis could get an extra year on his deal and command larger annual raises, though Orlando might balk at the additional risk without a sizable sweetener.
The problem is making it work. Although Seattle and Orlando have eight days to work out a deal, there isn't a great chance of this happening. Seattle reportedly isn't enamored of anyone on the Orlando roster (well, except Howard), so at best it would need to be a three-way deal. Those types of swaps are notoriously complex and difficult to pull off, especially because other teams covet few of Orlando's assets.
What Seattle might find more alluring is the prospect of a trade like Indiana made a year ago with the Hornets when Peja Stojakovic left. That swap gave the Pacers a $7.5 million trade exception that they turned around to acquire Al Harrington. In this case, the Sonics would get a $9.35 million trade exception (again, assuming a final cap number of $56 million) if they took nothing back from Orlando.
But this works only if Seattle can offer Orlando a little something for the trouble -- a draft pick being the most likely bait. And the trade exception might not mean as much to the Sonics as a draft choice at this point in their rebuilding process -- especially because trade exceptions can be difficult to use and expire in 12 months.

What about Darko?
The most interesting question involving the Lewis signing is how it affects Milicic. It appears the Magic will have to renounce his rights to fit Lewis under their salary cap. Considering the Magic sent Detroit a first-round pick for Milicic a year and a half ago, it's surprising that they seem so willing to let him go.
However, they still can make some moves in the coming days to try to squeeze in Darko. The most obvious trade target is Hedo Turkoglu, who has three years remaining on a deal for the full midlevel exception. Turkoglu is a 6-10 small forward who likes to shoot from the corners; as you might have noticed, Lewis is also a 6-10 small forward who likes to shoot from the corners, making Turkoglu utterly redundant.
The other candidate would be Carlos Arroyo, the flashy point guard who fell out of favor in the second half of last season. Because the Magic have two other candidates to back up Jameer Nelson (Keyon Dooling and Travis Diener), it would seem his $4 million per year is highly expendable.
Together, dealing those two players would trim $10 million from the payroll, leaving more than enough space to re-sign Milicic. Finding a taker is the problem. They'd have to be dealt to a team under the cap, or in exchange for players with non-guaranteed contracts (Houston's Bob Sura, who has limited salary protection, is the only substantial one that comes to mind). It probably would cost the Magic a draft pick just to get rid of them, too.
Unfortunately, those teams that are under the cap are the same vultures who will begin circling once Orlando has to renounce its rights to Milicic. So don't expect Memphis or Charlotte to come riding in to save the day here. Those two teams all have obvious needs in the middle and enough cap space to make Milicic a wealthy man.
Additionally, the Magic might not be terribly motivated to keep Milicic in any scenario. As our Chris Sheridan reported earlier this week, Orlando didn't even put in a courtesy call to Darko when free agency opened on July 1.

Does this make Orlando a contender?
Goodness no. The Magic still have a ton of weaknesses to address, most notably a glaring hole in the frontcourt (Howard and Tony Battie are the only viable frontcourt players on the roster right now) and an open spot at shooting guard if one presumes Grant Hill leaves. Much like the Ray Allen deal with Boston, the Magic still need one more big gun to make the Clevelands and Detroits of the world start sweating.
The difference is that Orlando is starting from a much younger base. With Lewis turning 28 next month and Howard a pup at 21, the Magic still have a couple years to get things figured out. This is much less a win-today scenario than it is in Beantown, which is why the deal works out so much better for Orlando.
Additionally, adding Lewis and renouncing Milicic is a clear upgrade. While Milicic's potential is notable, few would ponder a Milicic-for-Lewis trade for long before pulling the trigger.
That's why the deal ends up being a winner from Orlando's end. This team still has plenty of work to do to separate itself from the East's huddled masses, but between the hiring of Stan Van Gundy and the impending signing of Lewis, nobody has had a better start to their offseason than the Magic.

The New Guy

ORLANDO _ Rashard Lewis was the most coveted free agent on the market this summer, but no one was more excited Sunday night than Lewis when the Orlando Magic phoned his camp.

Just as the Magic targeted Lewis as their top target, the 27-year-old small forward also pinpointed Orlando as the team he most wanted to play for.

Lewis and the Magic agreed upon a five-year, $75 million deal late Monday night, a pact that can’t officially be signed until July 11 because of NBA rules. There is a chance, Lewis’ agent Tony Dutt said, that the deal could extend for six years and $85 million if the Magic and Seattle can work out a sign-and-trade deal.

Lewis told FLORIDA TODAY Tuesday afternoon in an exclusive interview that he couldn’t be more excited about his deal with the Magic.

``Orlando was my main focus and No. 1 on my list from day one,’’ Lewis said at Orlando International Airport just before boarding a flight to his hometown of Houston. ``Me and my agent sat down and talked about it after the season and we determined that Orlando would be No. 1, and when they gave me that call on the first (of July) I was just so excited.

``I’m just extremely excited because this seems like the perfect fit. We’ve got a great big man in Dwight Howard and the team is still real young, so we’re only going to get better and better together. If you look at it, if you want to win a championship you have to have that big man, and with Dwight here we can do that.’’

Lewis said he felt an instant chemistry with Howard and point guard Jameer Nelson, Magic players who gave Lewis a tour of the area Sunday and Monday. Dutt and Magic general manager Otis Smith worked most of Monday and into the night to reach a deal.

Said Lewis: ``They made it clear from the start that they really wanted me and that meant a lot. Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson came and picked me up and showed me all around and that was cool. They were great guys and I can already feel that chemistry building between us.’’

Lewis, who turns 28 next month, is a former all-star. He averaged career highs in points (22.4), rebounds (6.6) and assists (2.2) this past season for Seattle. He feels his best years are ahead of him.

``I feel like I’m just now hitting my prime,’’ said Lewis to FLORIDA TODAY. ``I feel like I have the kind of focus and knowledge of the game to keep on improving every part of my game. But my main focus is to win ball games and bring a championship here. If we can still add a more pieces and role players, we should be in perfect position.’’

Lewis said the instability of the Eastern Conference and the chance to get to the NBA Finals easier than in the rugged Western Conference appealed to him. Orlando was 40-42 this past season, getting swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Detroit Pistons. Those days, Lewis stressed, are over.

``Orlando made the playoffs last year and I see no reason why we shouldn’t just go up from there,’’ he said. ``I could see anybody going to the Finals from the East because it’s so wide open. Cleveland went this year and they’re still a lot of good teams, but a championship chance is right there for a lot of teams.’’

Lewis is most remembered in NBA circles for crying on draft night in 1998 when he was repeatedly passed over and fell into the second round. He said that despite that disappointment the night was still one of the happiest of his life. And now this day compares to it.

``This is one of the most exciting days of my life, next to getting drafted into the NBA,’’ he said. ``I’m just so exited about seeing my future here and being involved with a first-class organization. I can’t wait to get started because I think we can win a championship here someday.’’

Rashard Lewis OKs Deal With Magic

SEATTLE - Rashard Lewis is leaving the Northwest and taking his game to Orlando. One of the most sought after free agents this offseason, Lewis agreed to a "maximum contract" with the Magic, his agent Tony Dutt said Tuesday. Lewis made the decision late Monday night after meeting with Magic officials in Orlando "He had a comfort and a gut feeling and he feels they have a championship core, and that's what he wants to do is win a championship," Dutt said. The terms of the deal are still being worked out. He's expected to receive a deal in the range of $15 million per season. The Magic wouldn't comment Tuesday, citing league rules that an agreement cannot be announced until July 11. Orlando can only sign Lewis to a five-year contract, while Seattle could sign Lewis to a six-year deal. Dutt said the Magic and Seattle are in discussions about a sign-and-trade deal that would give Lewis that sixth-year, help Orlando clear some salary and give Seattle something in return. "That he's going to Orlando doesn't change the fact that he had good years in Seattle," Dutt said. Lewis opted out of the final two years of his contract with Seattle in late May, leaving behind a guaranteed $21 million. Seattle, the only team Lewis has played for, had the first chance to meet with the 6-foot-10 forward Sunday morning in Houston. Seattle was among 20 teams that contacted Dutt on Sunday, the first day of NBA free agency. Soon after his meeting with Seattle, Lewis boarded a plane for Orlando and liked what he heard from the Magic, including the chance to play with Dwight Howard. "He feels like they're going to be good for a long time," Dutt said. "It was important knowing that Howard was going to be around a long time as well." Lewis is coming off his best season, when he averaged career-highs in points (22.4), rebounds (6.6) and assists (2.4). His age (28 next month) and his versatility to hit 3-pointers or score on the low block made Lewis a targeted commodity for many teams.

ESPN - Sources: Lewis agrees to leave Sonics for Magic

ESPN - Sources: Lewis agrees to leave Sonics for Magic - NBA


After being treated to an aggressive 24-hour courtship, Rashard Lewis told the Orlando Magic on Monday that he plans to leave the Seattle SuperSonics to sign a max contract with Orlando on July 11, according to NBA front-office sources.

The price for Lewis' services could grow, though. Unless a sign-and-trade arrangement can be worked out with Lewis' old team or unless it can otherwise shed a contract or two to create more salary-cap space in the next week, Orlando will have to renounce the rights to restricted free agent Darko Milicic to create the cap room to fund such a lucrative deal, instantly making Milicic an unrestricted free agent.

Only the Sonics had the right to sign Lewis to a six-year deal and pay him more than he'll get from the Magic, but the 27-year-old apparently eager to team with Howard and move out of the Western Conference.

Milicic, meanwhile, figures to have no shortage of free-agent opportunities if he is indeed released onto the open market, despite a fourth straight season marked by concerns about the 7-footer's intensity. The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 draft by Detroit averaged just 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds for the Magic in his first full season of regular playing time, but the 22-year-old did raise his game in the playoffs by averaging 12.3 points on 58.8-percent shooting in Orlando's four-game exit to the Pistons in the first round.

Report: Lewis agrees to sign with Magic; Milicic to become unrestricted free agent

Orlando television station WKMG is reporting that Rashard Lewis has agreed to sign with the Orlando Magic on July 11.

The deal is reported for 5 years and $75 million.

Sports anchor David Pingalore also reported the Magic will allow restricted free agent forward Darko Milicic to become an unrestricted free agent.

..... from the realgm.com website.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Free-agency shocker: Magic mum to Milicic

Brian Schmitz Sentinel Staff Writer
3:47 PM EDT, July 1, 2007

In a surprising development, the Orlando Magic did not contact Darko Milicic's camp when NBA free agency officially began at 12:01 a.m. today.

The Magic had said they wanted to re-sign Milicic, but by late this afternoon they had yet to call Marc Cornstein, Milicic's agent.

Cornstein conceded he was surprised, because a team's call to a free agents after the courting period begins is seen as at least a good-will gesture, if not an actual precursor to negotiating.

Cornstein told the Sentinel he received calls from more than 10 other teams today about Milicic, including "a few" who made offers, but added, "Curious by their absence was the Orlando Magic."

Cornstein said he called Milicic, who is in his native Serbia, to inform him that the Magic had not called.

"I talked to Darko. I'm not going to lie to him. I told him," Cornstein said.

Milicic, a 7-foot power forward who played the past 1 1/2 seasons with the Magic, is a restricted free agent.

Cornstein was still hopeful that Milicic was in the Magic's plans.

The Magic had said that they wanted Milicic to return, and add a free agent such as small forward Rashard Lewis, who has played in Seattle the past nine seasons.

The Magic might have quickly turned all their attention to Lewis or another free agent. Lewis' agent, Tony Dutt, reportedly was meeting with Sonics General Manager Sam Presti on Sunday in Houston.

The development could mean that the Magic are trying to work a sign-and-trade involving Milicic and Lewis.