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.

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.


  • At 5:19 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Suns Sign Grant Hill-PHOENIX - The Phoenix Suns on Wednesday introduced Grant Hill as their newest member, signing a free agent they hope will be the missing piece in the quest for their first NBA title.

    The 6-foot-8 forward agreed to a two-year deal worth about $1.8 million for the first year, with a second-year player option for about $2 million.

    Hill comes to Phoenix from Orlando, where he spent seven frustrating years. Hobbled mostly by ankle injuries, Hill played in about a third of the Magic's regular-season games after signing a seven-year, $93 million contract. Last season, though, Hill played in 65 games, averaging 14.4 points, 2.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds. His production and hustle gave the Suns hope that he can contribute to their up-tempo attack.

    Hill, who turns 35 in October, is a seven-time NBA All-Star. He played on two NCAA championship teams at Duke.

    In another move, the Suns completed the trade that sent forward James Jones and the draft rights to Spanish guard Rudy Fernandez, the 24th overall pick in the NBA draft, to Portland for $3 million.

  • At 5:23 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    The grant tracy experiment is finally over! I said a few times that trevor and grant both not being good shooters from three point range would make one of them expandable,youth won,as it should. Good luck to grant,i wish him well. WE'VE GOT RASHARD!!!!!!!!!!!YES,ITS ON NOW!!!!!!!!

  • At 5:33 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    There is a chance Ariza could win the starting 2 spot. I've read this at a few places. It was also brought out on 740 and during the Magic game today.

    I bring this out because it'd be similar to the way Grant Hill was used. As I've said in the past, I never liked G Hill playing the 2 spot. The difference with Ariza is that he's younger, quicker, active, an actually defensive stopper unlike Hill, and he flashes to open spots and can finish. The obvious downside is that he only has a midrange jumper. If Ariza could develop a 3 point shot, he'd be our starting 2 guard no questions asked. Either way, we have options...

  • At 7:43 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    So far this off-season, the only really negative thing to happen to the Magic was their failure to re-sign Darko (I don't think too many Magic fans are broken up about Grant going to the Suns). Everything else has been positive, and in my mind, even though I'm not happy that Darko is not going to be with the Magic, I don't think there's any question that the Magic are better off than they were a year ago at this time.

    Nice to hear Rashard Lewis talking about the Magic possibly making it to the finals next season. That's the kind of talk we want to hear!

    I still prefer J.J. Redick starting at shooting guard. Trevor Ariza, even though he's a better defender than J.J., just can't spread the floor offensively as good as J.J. can because of his lack of an outside shot. True, with Lewis being in there, that would spread the floor, but with J.J. also in there, that would spread the floor even more and make things that much easier for Dwight underneath. I think Trevor can be the 6th man of the year material coming off the bench.

    Best of luck to Darko and Grant, but I'm looking forward to what should be a very exciting, winning Magic season!

  • At 8:33 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said…

    I'm excited to have 'Shard on our team, but I'm not excited about his huge contract. HUGE contract. If this deal doesn't result in a championship, then Otis Smith has proven himself to be one of the worst GMs in professional sports.

    Don't get me wrong; I like Rashard Lewis. But his price was too steep.

    Ariza at the two intrigues me, but he can't shoot worth a damn. If opponents want to double Dwight, they'll leave Ariza open, which means Lewis will still be played one-on-one. I don't know how that's going to work out.

  • At 9:00 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    D-Wade only takes about 75 3 pointers a year and makes about 20% of them. And SVG was very successful with that.

    With Howard the beast inside and Lewis taking 400 3 pointers (39%) Ariza can be very successful as a slashing take it to the hoop SG. Sure would make for a big team on the floor so long as Otis comes up with another big to replace Darko's minutes.

    Balance sheet so far:

    Grant Hill 30.9 minutes per game
    Darko Milicic 23.9 mpg

    Rashard Lewis 39.2 minutes per game

    Needs to step up:
    Ariza 22.4 mpg
    Redick 14.8 mpg

    It's possible to spin this as very positive improvement for the Magic. Much better coach. Much better #2 player on the team (Lewis vs. 35 y.o. Hill). More minutes for two young and would-be hard nosed players.

    I'd be much happier if Battie had any knees left, Arroyo played like when his jersey says "Puerto Rico" and Turkoglu was meaner and more driven. Maybe Van Gundy can do something about that or Otis can pull off one or more trades to get it done.

    Did anyone check to see if Lewis was on crutches when he got off the plane to sign his deal?

  • At 10:42 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    The Griz will sign the unrestricted free agent to a deal in the range of 3-4 years, starting somewhere between $6-7 million.
    Memphis had slightly more than $8 million to spend under the salary cap.

  • At 10:50 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    ESPN is reporting the deal is 3 years and between 6-7 million a season. Hmmmmmm.

  • At 10:51 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said…

    I see your point, DeVos, but at the risk of sounding needlessly snarky, Trevor Ariza is no Dwyane Wade.

    To be honest, I think I'm happier with Stan the Man's arrival than I am with Lewis'.

  • At 11:14 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    There is no doubt that this team is relatively better than last year's although I would like to separate improvement on the coach side from that of players' side.


    1) Rashard over Hedo. That's the proper comparison; not Rashard over Grant.
    2) The potential of Trevor at 2 spot is intriguing. His jumpshots looked decent towards the end of last season. If he has improved in that area even slightly, there is a potential starting 2. I am also comfortable with Keith in that position. He is a good defender and a very good 3-point shooter. J.J., however is the wild card. it all depends on how he defends, as SVG has pointed out. If he does an average job in that department, the 2 spot is his to lose.


    1) Loss of Darko. We still have no replacement for him. We didn't buy into Battie being a better player than him last year. Why buy it now? Don't get coaching improvement mixed into this issue.
    2) Loss of Grant. Remember this was a consistent 15 point a night player. It seems that Otis Smith was surprised by Grant's decision to leave. That shows that no effort was made to bring him back at VM level which is a blunder or an oversight, in my view, being blinded with all focus on Rashard. Grant would have been a steal at that price
    3) Too many SFs and PGs
    4) Weak on the front-line.

    Having all that said, I feel this team will fair better than last year's but a lot depends on players living up to their expectation levels. Still this team is not better than DET, CLE, CHI, TOR, MIA and WAS. That is my judgment call and I am not willing to defend it against silly spins.

  • At 11:30 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    Never meant to compare Ariza to he who falls down once gets up twice. But think this SVG team could be better than Miami 2003/04 SVG team even with Ariza at SG.

    Van Gundy somehow took Miami from 25 wins to the second round in his first year with Rookie Wade plus what? Eddie Jones, Caron Butler, Lamar Odom and little else. That team took about 17 3 pointers a game with Wade getting his points slashing to the basket and no dominant big man.

    Ariza is an amazing finisher when driving in the paint. If the Magic are playing Howard/Lewis/Battie or Howard/Lewis/Turk up front there should be plenty of room for Ariza to penetrate to the rim. The little dimwitted coach who shall not be named couldn't figure out how to take advantage of Ariza. My point, if I had one, is that SVG's history says he is o.k. with running an offense through a slashing SG who doesn't have 3 point range. That could bode well for the Magic and Ariza.

    Grant Hill had slightly better stats last year but played many more minutes. Ariza's 48 minute/game averages are pretty even with Hill's. (Hill better scorer, Ariza better rebounder, steals, blocks) If he's healthy he could have a big leap forward this year. If it turns out Redick can play in the NBA the Magic have a pretty good tandem there.

    I like Howard/Lewis a lot. Wish the Magic didn't make the trade to give Lewis extra money and a sixth year. But it's not my money.

    Howard/Lewis gives me higher expectations for next year than Howard/Milicic. I just hope they aren't done and have one or two moves left.

  • At 11:53 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    No one here would or could make the statement that Battie is better than Darko. Battie is mediocre on his best days and a bona fide bad contract.

    I'll be surprised, and disappointed, if Battie breaks camp as a starter. There. must. be. a. better. PF! Turkoglu has got to be better, even with his mystery blood disease. I NEED to believe that SVG would rather play Phoenix small ball than have Battie on the floor very much.

    With regards to Darko. He's gone. Fuck him and his agent. His legacy, such as it is, is 8 points and 5 rebounds a game with quite a few blocks thrown in. Never quite knowing which Darko was going to show up from night to night.

    Did you read the press release from his asshole agent?

    "We are extremely excited for this new opportunity," Cornstein said. "Darko's going to a team that really wants him. He's going to a young team with an exciting bright future much like his own. We're very excited Darko gets to learn from coach Marc Iavaroni. We believe he's one of the best big men coaches in the game. And we couldn't be happier that he has found a new home where he's appreciated."

    WTF is that!?! Did Darko just sign an NBA contract or find a new preschool to go to that specializes in self-esteem? Makes me think his own agent thinks he's a pussy instead of the guy drafted after LeBron. Pau Gasol will be demanding a trade by January.

    I think I'd rather have the 2nd round pick who made himself an NBA star than the whiny Euro who got drafted second overall but doesn't feel loved.

  • At 12:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank God that Darko signed with another team. Now I don't have to keep reading this blog. With the exception of MATT, most of you guys are delusional.

    I predict the Magic will suck next year, and Darko will average 20ppg/9rpg/3apg/3bpg in 38mpg next year for Memphis. Have fun back in the cellar. GO GRIZZLIES!!!

    - BigZ

  • At 12:48 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    How can you call anyone "delusional" and follows up with the comments you did? Thanks for the laugh.

    Have fun cheering for the Grizzles...the team with last years worst record. Even with a healthy Gasol, Conley, and Darko, they still have no chance in hell to make the playoffs, especially out West. So good luck; I'd start saving, or put aside an extra $200.00 bucks so you can order the NBA League Pass, otherwise, you'll never be able to watch your “prince” play.

    Moving on…

    I would like to thank werdevos for having the guts to say what he did.

    If you haven’t watched the Lewis press conference, I’d recommend it. The whole thing is posted on the Sentinel. Even if the Magic did overpay him; they landed a very talented player and a good guy. I’m really looking forward to seeing him and Howard play together. With the addition of Stan, I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with everyone else.

    By the way, Battie is Battie. He’s nothing special, but he’s not awful. He is what he is. He obviously can fill in as a starter, but he’s pretty much a perfect backup. I’d rather see us run Hedo and Rashard side by side.

    Here’s an idea. Nelson, Lewis, and Dwight will be starting no matter what. Depending on who lands the starting 2 spot, might determine who starts at the 4. Example: If Redick starts, they might want to start Battie. Battie would help out on the defensive end, and Redick would help on the offensive end. However, if Ariza started, being that he’s a great defender, maybe they could start Hedo and Lewis together. I know these are completely different positions, but they all still relate on both ends of the floor, whether it’s team defense, or spreading the offense; it’s all the same because it’s a team effort on both ends. But that’s just a thought…

    By the way, I like the idea of everyone moving on with the topics of discussion. Lewis is here, Darko is gone, no need to dwell on the past, even though that’s what the majority of fans in Orlando enjoy doing.

  • At 1:28 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    As for next season’s predictions, it's all based off of our own opinions. First, we don't even know if this is the roster we'll be taking into next season. But I, like everyone else, am hoping the Magic have one or two more moves on the horizon.

    With that said, if they don't make anymore moves, this is an improved team. I'd put Dwight and Rashard against any pair in the East and put money on them. The fact of the matter is, EVERY team in the East is still missing something. No team as of today is flat out better than the Magic. The biggest advantage any team in the East has on the Magic is experience. Beyond that, why can't the Magic compete with anyone in the East? I mean really, why can’t the Magic be just as good as the aging Heat or Pistons, the 1 man show of the Cavs, the young Raptors, or the Bulls and Wizards who both lack low post threats? Do we not have reason to believe we can compete with any of them with our current roster today? After all, we did just add a perimeter all-star going into the prime years of his career.

    As for this summers positives and negatives; I've seen a lot of positives. The only negative has been the loss of Darko.

    Another mention; I've wanted Grant out for a while, and I haven't kept that a secret. The most I wanted him to be was a bench player, but he still thinks he’s more than that. Sure he scored 15 points a game, but you can't tell me Ariza and Redick alone won't make up for what Hill did and more. For that matter, I've always believed that Hedo was a better player when Grant was not playing. I will not miss him. I think we are better without him. But that is only my opinion.

  • At 1:35 AM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said…

    You all make a convincing argument for being optimistic about the coming season. Not that I was ever pessimistic, but still. Thanks.

    As for Darko... his agent did him in. Both he and the Magic would have benefited had he stayed, but it's pointless to debate that now.

  • At 5:58 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I'm trying to figure out why "BigZ" says that most of us are being delusional regarding the Magic. I don't think that any of us are predicting a Magic championship quite yet, but why shouldn't we be excited about the Magic this upcoming season?

    Last year's team was 40-42 and finished in the 8th spot; this years squad, on paper, is without question a better team. As has been pointed out, the Magic do have their holes, but so do the other top teams in the East.

    As of now, there is no clear-cut favorite or powerhouse team in the East, so why couldn't the Magic advance deep into the playoffs? True, a lot of things have to go right for the Magic, and there is no guarantee, but I'd rather be optimistic rather than pessimistic.

  • At 8:22 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    Good points by you all. I don't fall for optimistic or pessimistic debate. I believe in being realistic. It might be a fault at times, but I like it better than either one of the other two options since one often goes to the extreme falling on one side or another.

    WeRDevos, your last post was embarrassing. Why fall to the wayside to make a point? We all should wish Darko well. His and his agent's problems are not ours any more, and that is all that matters.

  • At 8:38 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    I just noticed that Whit Watson has mentioned our blog as one of his everyday reads. Kudos to all who come to post here, contributors and public alike. This is a passionate and informed bunch who agree to respectfully disagree.

  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Matt,under which post did whit mention us? And congrats to all the contributers of this blog and the public readers who come post with informed opinions and make since in their approach to comment. Anyone waiting for a specific topic to be over so they dont have to read this blog anymore should do just that by "not reading this blog anymore",we dont need bad elements here.

  • At 12:03 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    ESPN's First Take just reported darkos contract is 3 years 21 mill. Boy,darkos agent really got him 10 mill a year,the 6.8 the magic was offering is pretty much the same deal he just got and he wouldve gotten more years here,thats a slap in the face.If its four years he's actually making less than he would have made here,darko would have probably been making close to hedo money which was something like 6 years 36 mill had he accepted our offer.

  • At 2:30 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Big Figure, the title is "What I'm Reading".

  • At 2:39 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Thanks matt. Here's his take on our blog,the fact that he reads us everyday says enough about what we do,way to go guys,lets keep this thing going. Whit says one of his daily stops,Orlando Magic Blog: "The editor of this site, Matt, has traded e-mails with me many times regarding the Magic's coaching situation, in particular his personal distaste for the departed Brian Hill. I'm okay with that, because everything he writes is well-grounded in fact, or at least informed opinion. I'm always cool with dialogue, as long as it's rational and logical. This blog fits the bill, and frankly, the Magic need fans as passionate as these. Many more of them, in fact".

  • At 2:53 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    This acknowledgement of the blog is nice, in particular, because Whit himself is a very knowledgeable and well respected multi-media man.

  • At 3:20 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    We should especially be proud of this for the fact that in one of his recent posts he points out how for the most part, Orlando is an "incredibly naive sports town".


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