A Magic Fan & Pros Point of View
SHOW ME THE MONEY DARKO
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!