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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.


  • At 4:55 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    If and when we live to regret letting Darko go at least he should be out West and we won't have to see him as much. To bad the Sonics will probably be on National TV more often because of the drafting of Durant. It's hard for me to understand the Magic not even contacting the Milicic camp.

    I was hoping today to be the day we start hearing good news, but the first thing I read is this.


  • At 6:57 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Plain stupid. Must be the spirit of Brian Hill still hanging around.

  • At 7:34 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Vince Carter has agreed to a four-year, $61.8 million contract with the Nets. So that is one less option for the Magic.

    However, I'm actually happy with this. I couldn't imagine paying Carter 15 million a year for 4 more seasons at this point in his career.

    They were average at best the last few seasons, so why is it going to get better as Kidd and Carter only continue to age?

  • At 9:09 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said…

    Yeah, this news is really shocking and upsetting to me. It's absolutely appalling that NO ONE at Magic HQ thought to at least get Cornstein on the phone to say "Marc, we look forward to chatting with you about Darko very soon." Whose idea was this? Seriously.

  • At 2:04 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Rashard Lewis in town to visit with Magic.

    OK, so I have a question for the Magic. OK, so it sounds like the Magic are going to sign Lewis in one way or another. Lets say we do, and lets say we have to trade Darko to do so. Who is going to be our starting power forward? Are we really going to have to stomach Tony Battie another season as a starter? Or would they dare, with the idea of running an up tempo offense put Hedo and Lewis who are both 6-10 next to Dwight? Might that actually work? We’ve wanted to spread the floor. Could the Magic actually take the floor next year with a starting 5 of Nelson, Redick, Lewis, Turk, and Howard? I know one things for sure, we'd have a much greater chance of running, and the floor would be spread FAR because everyone of them can hit the three.

    And that is one thing I've been saying; we're not going to run with Darko and Dwight on the floor together. Now here is where Otis is pissing me off. He did it with Brian Hill, by saying he was our guy, when he obviously knew he wasn't. Now he's doing it with Darko, by saying he was a top priority, when he obviously isn't. The problem I have here is that Darko should be viewed as a top priority. Regardless, it should be interesting to see what they come up with. However, I hope we haven’t seen the last of Darko in O-Town.

  • At 3:10 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I just saw on CBSSportsline.com that the Magic are one of eight teams that have been in contact with free agent Gerald Wallace, which tells me that signing Rashard Lewis is not a sure thing for the Magic at this point.

    I'm just as stunned as anyone that the Magic have yet to contact Darko's agent, and am very disappointed in this development.

    OVERWADED brought up an interesting scenario about putting Hedo as starting PF if the Magic don't re-sign Darko. However, I think they would be better defensively with Darko as starting PF than if Hedo were to be inserted as starting PF. Darko seems to have a natural ability to block shots, and his rebounding, which isn't bad, can only get better.

    I think we could still have an up-tempo offense if Darko starts. Darko has a nice touch for a big man from the 15-18 foot range, and would have a lot more freedom than he did under Brian Hill's slow, plodding offensive system, and would complement Dwight well. With Nelson, Redick, and Lewis (if they can sign him) they would still have three legit 3 pt shooters, and would be able to space the floor effectively.

    Under this scenario, if the Magic keep Turkoglu, he would be a great weapon to come off the bench and bring instant offense with his shooting range. Battie and James Augustine could also be used to give breathers to Dwight and Darko.

    The Magic were really foolish for taking the contract extension for Darko off the table just before last season began. As Matt has stated here, the Magic never gave a reason for doing this, and as a result, it's going to cost them a heck of a lot more money if they do re-sign him, or even worse, should they not re-sign him.

    Let's see what happens in the next week... who knows what might happen? Hopefully the Magic will do the right things to get the Stan Van Gundy era off to a good start.

  • At 3:26 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Waiting anxiously to see how it would all play out was Darko Milicic, who had not -- repeat, had not -- received a phone call from the Magic (as of 5:30 p.m. ET) on his first day as a restricted free agent.

    "Is he restricted or unrestricted?" Magic general manager Otis Smith told ESPN.com. "Look, Darko knows that we love him and want him here. What else is there to do?"

    In other words; MATCH ANY OFFERS?

  • At 7:21 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    Smith is implying by his action that he is waiting to see what kind of offers Darko would receive. In another word, he would leave it to the market to decide. What he is not capable of comprehending is the bad taste that it leaves in Darko's mouth which may lead to his departure.

  • At 10:39 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    I can understand everyone not liking the idea of not contacting darko's agent,but the real question is "How much is darko worth too you"? Darko has been reported to want ben wallace money,thats 10 million a year for 6 years. Now ben has earned that type of money in this league by leading the league in rebounds,being an all-star and being the best defender in the league for about a four year span,can darko say that? I think not. To me darko is thinking way to much of himself and i wouldnt offer a guy nothing that already thinks he's "The Shit" and hasnt done anything in this league. I like darko and i agree with matt that there may be a bad taste in his mouth,but he only has himself to blame when it comes to the business aspect because he's asking for too much. I think right now darko needs a slap in the face from the market to show him his real value which i dont think is as high as he thinks it is (but i could be wrong,there might be somebody willing to throw the world at him,even though his numbers wouldnt make it logical).Two things can happen at this point. (1) The market for darko isnt that high because nobody wants to take the gamble at that high of a price per year and the magic are able to match the highest offer sheet he brings to them making everybody happy in disney land. (2)The market for darko is high and teams are willing to pay him as if he were ben wallace,then i think it would be in our best interest to do a sign and trade and get something back for darko,because darko's not worth ben wallace money at this point in his career,i'd rather have dwight and rashard making max money.

  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Yeah BIG, you're basically right. I recall Otis doing something like this last year with Stevenson. After that was all said and done, we ended up signing Bogans, and Stevenson was left with less money, firing his agent, saying he never wanted to leave Orlando.

    Last season was Darko's best, and he basically averaged 8 and 5. And even though I think he'll be worth 10 million a season one of these years, he hasn't earned it yet. He's asking to be paid off of potential, rather than what he is done. However, it wouldn't be the first time someone has paid a player off of potential.

  • At 12:33 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Ben Wallace's contract was at 14 million per year, if I am not mistaken. People like Mark Blount are making in 10 million dollar range since the BIGS are at a premium in this league. I don't know what Darko's market value is -probably in the 8-10 million range - and what anybody may be willing to pay for him. Regardless, that is not the point; Magic should make an offer to the man based on what they think his worth is. That is the first step, and that is where the similarities with Stevenson's case ends. Stevenson had an offer that he sat on for too long, and the offer was withdrawn.

  • At 3:46 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    That is true. They actually talked to Stevenson and made him an offer. With Darko, they seem to be asking him to go out and find his market value. While I understand this, they should at least be talking to him at the same time. Regardless though, can we not match?

  • At 3:57 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Of course we can - and should - match if we want to get something out of this deal or we are gonna lose him with no compensation. The point is, that is the gauge of the level of interest shown on a player. If in a verbal conversation Darko or his agent asked for an unreasonable contract, you could say prove to me that you are worth that much (not a nice approach) or you make an offer on what the player is worth in your view (a nice approach). The point that a lot of business people miss in their business dealings is that, there is no harm in being nice.


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