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.

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!


  • At 8:42 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    According to the papers Darko is now unrestricted because the Magic pulled the qualifying offer. That eliminates the Magic right to match any contract.

    However, the Magic still retain Darko's "Bird Rights" which means they can offer up to six years and double the annual raise of all other teams.

    Cornstein's reaction, no matter how angry he may have been, was unprofessional. If he can't work with the Magic he will cost his client a lot of money. The best course of action for Darko and the Magic is a sign and trade deal that earns Darko more money and brings some asset back to the Magic. Cornstein comes off as a fool and a really poor agent by his quotes.

  • At 8:43 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    I posted this elsewhere, but here is what John Hollinger of ESPN said about Cornstein:

    While we're talking about the Magic, by the way, have you ever seen an agent more upset that his client gained unrestricted status than Marc Cornstein with Milicic this week? Am I the only one who found that a little weird?

  • At 8:04 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    This is so shortsighted. In order to improve the team, you don't have to lose a 7-footer with a ton of potential. It is nonsense to say that paying Darko 8 million is breaking the bank. It is not any more than paying a 28 year old player 15 million. I mean to say that both are legitimate salaries. An experienced and wise GM would have signed Darko first and then knowing Rashard's interest in Orlando, would try to make a trade - may be with multiple teams involved - to bring Rashard in. If it happened great. If not go after other less costly SG/SF free agents or shoot for a trade. As it stands we have too many SFs and it is hard to move Hedo. We still need a reliable SG unless we use Keith Bogans - I love for J.J. Redick to live up to his potentials this year - as a starter. We still have too many PGs (Jameer, Carlos, Keyon and Travis). So, in general, we are loaded at PG and S/F but so thin upfront. All that because we all love Rashard? Of course we do but at what cost?

  • At 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We should ship out, Bogans, Garrity, Travis, Turgklu, and a future draft pick. Bring back Penny Hardaway and other vets at minimum salaries, and resign Darko so next year we can continue training these young guys while also setting ourselves up for next year F/A. This way we will not compromise this season's chance for success and still create cap room.

  • At 2:45 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    To start talking about what we need and what we have is still very premature. Like SA says,darko can make the most money signing with us so if he's worried about getting paid then the magic will be his best option. As it stands,nobody wanted grant playing the two anyway so i dont see losing grant as a big deal,plus with the depth at small-forward you can expect that hedo might be on the move when all this stuff is over for a two guard. If we lose darko im not really worried about our power forward position either because battie can start for us and with a better coach battie can get the job done i have no reservations about battie,he's tough and he can shoot from the outside,and with a coach who will get us to play at a faster pace i expect battie to WAY better than he has been. Jameer,SG to be named,rashard,battie and dwight give SVG a line-up that can get into the top four seeds in the east,REMEMBER with better coaching this years squad couldve done the same thing,last years squad was not as talented as the squad we will put on the floor this season. Inconsistent scoring from our wing players and bad coaching were the only two things holding us back,well with rashard were a better scoring team and with SVG well be better coached,those two things alone should get us where we want to go,as i said before with better coaching last years squad wouldve been much better,this years squad wont have those two setbacks.

  • At 3:37 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I agree BIG.

    The fact of the matter is Otis had to make a decision. Which player do you want to make sure to sign?

    Lewis, an all-star, going into his prime years, we signed him for what should be the best years of his career. And for the first time in his career, he'll be playing with a dominate big man, and they will open each others game up. He is a sure thing. They know what they’re getting, period.

    So again, it was one way or another.

    Then there’s Darko, who wasn't already signed going into free agency (when he should have been). They had to decide which player they definitely wanted, and which player they still wanted, but would have to risk losing.

    While I understand Darkos upside, 7-footer, 22 years old, it's all based off of potential. And it's not like I hate the guy. I really-really like Darko. But there is a difference, one is a sure thing and one isn't.

    They had to risk losing one of them? Which player would you rather risk losing; Darko or Rashard?

    At the same time, you have a valid argument. Just like last year we're stocked at the SF and PG positions. Of course Otis is trying to make a deal, and hopefully he will. We need to bring in another big man, especially if we lose Darko.

    As for the SG position, I'm comfortable with Bogans and Redick manning that position. However, if we can get a player like Artest for Hedo, I'd pull the trigger. It's worth the risk.

    One last thought, think of all the dominate big men who have had success, or won titles. The obvious recent is Duncan. Does Duncan have another dominate big man next to him? He did in the beginning, but Robinson was on his last legs. This year, Duncan had Oberto and Elson next to him. Most NBA fans don't even know who they are. But they have a great coach and they play great team basketball.

    If SVG can coach half as well as POP, our guys develop a little chemistry, a fluent offense, and keep a solid defense; we'll be fine, especially in the East.

  • At 3:51 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    One other thought in regards to our shooting guards. We have the exact same SG's that we had last season. Grant Hill was not a SG, and will never be. Dooling isn't a SG. So, maybe this year we'll actually play the two players that should be playing that position.

    Another positive... What did we all want last year? We all wanted Redick and Ariza to get more minutes. With Grant Hill gone, that will happen. However, I think Hedo might be on the way out also.

    But at the same time, Hedo spreads the floor and likes to pass. So call it small ball, or whatever you want, Turk, Lewis, and Howard might not be that bad of a front court option. Or we could always start Battie for some defensive toughness, and bring Hedo off the bench. He's 6th man of the year material.

  • At 4:16 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    That line-up and any line-up we put on the floor in my opinion will work easily in the east. Detroit has 6ft10 chris webber at the power forward,miami has 6ft7 udonis haslem,the magic have owned cleveland so no need to mention them,and washington and the bulls have 6ft9 antwan jamison and 6ft10 P.J. brown. Not one player over 6ft10 on the top 5 teams in the east which shows hedo or rashard could play the four pretty much every game,i would use battie as the starter for toughness and as the game wears on use the other guys to match up,we'd have the best small-ball team in the east because of dwight,he makes us a little better than everybody else in the east. There aint one team in the east that would really cause problems for the magic even if we lost darko,plus at the same time if we do keep hedo we'll be alot better when we go out west matching up.

  • At 4:27 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Once again I see "either" "or". I thought I poked a large enough hole in that approach. Remember, differentiating black or white is easy but the genius is in recognizing the shades of grey. I disagree that this team is top 4 seed material. Not without Darko. They are not better than DET, CHI, CLE and WAS for sure. TOR is a potential candidate for that list. It is foolish to piss off a player and his agent - which could have been avoided as I stated before - and then come out and say the objective has not changed. What kind of player Darko would be for the Magic even if he is signed.

  • At 5:06 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I think you're underestimating how good this team could be. Because it's not known how good this team could be.

    The biggest factor, we have Dwight Howard. Nobody in the league has Dwight Howard. And all the rest of the dominate big men are out West. I know someone could say the same about Wade or James, but a dominate big man can change a team in a way no other player can.

    Dwight struggled with turnovers last season, mainly because Brian Hill surrounded him with a bunch of players that didn't compliment his game. But at the same time, Shaq lead the league in turnovers when he first came in. All great bigs eventually figure it out.

    We now have a coach that understands this. Dwight understands it, because he's said it himself. Once he figures it out on the court, everyone will see. If you surround him with shooters, who is going to stop the Magic? Nobody could defend Dwight one of one in the past seasons. Expect Dwight's game to take another big leap next season. Expect Jameer to play much better than he did last year. Redick will have his chance. Ariza will have a larger role and I expect him to have a breakout season. This will be a better team.

    The firing of Brian Hill will make EVERYONE BETTER.
    The hiring of SVG, Ewing, and others will make EVERYONE BETTER.
    We are going to sign an ALLSTAR in Rashard Lewis.
    J.J. Redick will actually play.
    Trevor Ariza will have a larger role.

    It looks like we’ll lose our backup big man from last season.

    This is all being premature; so their might be more changes on the way. While I don’t see these changes making us a “title contender”; I find it impossible to say this will not be an improved team.

    And while I know most of us know that Ariza will play an important role on this team. I don’t really think anyone realizes how good Redick can, should, and will be. Personally, I think if he wasn’t a “white boy”, we’d already be considering out SG position filled. But since he’s labeled as an un-athletic, slow, lacking defense white boy, people seem to be lacking faith in what this guy can do. Just 1 year ago he was the college player of the year. The guy can flat out score. He understands basketball just as well as anyone on our team. I’m looking forward to him getting his chance, because the guy can play.

    Chicago and Toronto are the only two teams mentioned that are on the rise. Detroit, Clevland, Washington, all have major holes. Detroit was easily the best team in the East last year, yet they let a team full of holes beat them.

    The fact of the matter is, any team that makes the playoffs in the East can make the Finals, but as of today, none of them are capable of winning against the West.

  • At 6:58 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Cleveland had a losing record to a bsh led team,let me repeat myself "TO A BSH LED TEAM",how can anyone say cleveland is or will be better than us? I'd love to hear how a team that had a losing record to us this year is better than us. Cleveland has ilguaskas on his last leg,detroit is old too,maybe two or three more years at a high level but nothing more,miami is old same for them,washington has no big and one aint coming for christmas so same for them. The only teams in the east young and athletic enough to stay with the magic for the next 5-7 years are the bulls and toronto,all the others are on the downside of their careers. Detroit with wallace breaking down mentally,miami with shaq breaking down physically,washington with no bigs and cleveland couldnt beat us already with bsh as the coach,not one of those teams is gonna be able to stay with the magic over these next two to three years really,except for the bulls and toronto of course (who i think we'll beat in head-to-heads because of dwight and surrounding him with shooters). That puts the magic at about a number 3 or 4 seed,and if one of those teams (chi,tor,)hits a rash of injuries that number could be higher,dwight howard's dominace in the east around the basket is the reason the magic will be that high. NONE i repeat NONE of those teams have anything close to dwight.

  • At 7:04 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Tempo and floor spacing will drastically improve this team,rashard and dwight could both average 25pts a game playing with each other because both will help the other become more effective. Its very realistic also,it would only be a three point increase for rashard,and an 8 point increase for dwight,very doable.

  • At 7:39 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    No doubt the Magic are an improved team over last year at this same time, even if they don't re-sign Darko, and no other major moves are made. However, the Magic have to play to their potential, or there is no guarantee they would advance past the first round.

    The Magic could advance deep into the playoffs if the following things occur: 1) Dwight averages between 19-20 ppg and 12-14 rebs per game while cutting down on TOs and improving his FT% 2) Jameer plays the way he did in the final month of the 2005-06 season instead of the erratic, TO-prone PG we saw last year 3) Rashard Lewis averages between 23-25 ppg 4) J.J. Redick emerges at SG, with his deadeye outside shooting 5) Whoever starts at PF to be solid and consistent 6) Trevor Ariza continues to improve and bring his high energy and athleticism off the bench 7) The other bench players contributing when playing.

    I feel a lot better knowing that Stan Van Gundy wants to run a higher tempo of offense and will use a system that best utilizes the talents of the players.

    Considering everything, I think 47-50 wins is definitely attainable this coming season (I thought the same thing last season, but I didn't realize how much Brian Hill's coaching would hold back the team). Like has been pointed out by some of you guys, the other top teams in the East have issues also.

    On paper, the Magic are an improved team with a coach who has a clue... they will have to go on the court and prove it.

  • At 7:41 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    By the way, the Bulls signed Andres Nocioni today, so that's another SG off the market.

  • At 7:43 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I'd bet money on both Dwight and Rashards numbers going up this year. This is the year where Dwight steps into the 20/10 club; minimum. Rashards game has gone up every year he's been in the league. He put up the numbers last year being the only guy on the team for the most part because Ray Allen was out injured, so in other words, he did that again double teams. Now, in Orlando, he'll have a big man drawling all of the attention, which should make him better than ever. And possibly on the wing next to him is Redick. Which guy do you want to leave for the double team? Worse case; Jameer, Battie, or Hedos defenders would be leaving them, all of which can hit a wide open shot.

    Dwight is the reason to argue all. Dwight is the reason I agree with BIG. Dwight is the difference. He's only going to get better, and nobody is going to be able to handle him.

    There is no reason we shouldn’t believe Dwight can’t do here what Duncan, Shaq, and Hakeem have done in the past years.

    And yes, I think Dwight will be that good...

  • At 10:47 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Another thing SVG brings to the table is the three point shot. Under SVG we will truely use an inside outside offense,alot more three pointers or dwight howard dunks and not alot of in between. I can hear bsh right now saying he doesnt care what type of shots we take as long as they are good shots,thats shows lack of offensive creativity.SVG stated at his press conference that the magic didnt shoot enough three pointers,well thats about to change. Part of the reason that this team never reached its full potential is because bsh didnt even use the three pointer in his approach to attack the defense,he kept preaching "throw it inside" with a whole bunch of non shooters on the floor,like i said before that should all change. If SVG truely has a clue,we'll be a 50 win team with no problem with whatever otis puts together as a team,and like mike said all they gotta do is go out and do it.


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