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had indicated that the Magic wanted to re-sign Milicic, but then sent an e-mail to him Tuesday telling him they had withdrawn their qualifying offer and made him an unresticted free agent.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

24 Comments:

  • At 10:11 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    If you want to talk about "shades of gray" and questions all you have to do is read this. While I agree that it "appears" Otis hasn't handled this situation great; at the same time the only person we're hearing from is Darko's agent. Smith has been silent. He's watched this team and knows its players more than anyone. He's also the type of guy that either likes something or someone, or he doesn't. Obviously Darko is out, but I'll be looking forward to hearing Otis's thoughts on the whole situation.

     
  • At 3:02 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Here are some comments from another article.

    In effect, the move means the Magic have made Milicic an unrestricted free agent. However the team still retains the right to go over the salary cap to re-sign him (commonly referred to in the NBA as "Bird Rights") and could also work on a sign-and-trade with Seattle or another team.

    Milicic's agent Marc Cornstein said the move took him by surprise. He said Magic GM Otis Smith called him earlier in the day to tell him the team wanted to keep Milicic and would begin exploring ways to make it happen.

    "I think it is unfortunate how dishonest and deceitful Otis Smith and the Orlando Magic have been in the process," Cornstein said. "However, I think it can be a good thing for Darko. I believe Darko is the most coveted free agent in the market now. We are excited to get a fresh start with a team that truly believes in him."

    Said Smith of the Magic's decision: "Our goals remains the same: to sign a free agent and try to retain Darko. It hasn't changed."

    ---

    You know, we still haven't heard the full story from Otis, but everyone knew that was Otis's goal. Can anyone blame him? If we were going to spend 10+ million a season to sign a player, Otis wanted to do it on someone proven. Darko is anything but proven. Darko's agent sounds like he is being an "agent" and trying to sell his client. Don't get me wrong, I love Darko, but in his best season he averaged 8 and 5. To start talking this guy up like he deserves 10 million is season is crap. Any player that you're going to give 10 million a year needs to have some kind of proving behind him. I heard Mark Blount’s name mentioned before, and you know what, he is a perfect example. You don't pay a player that much money based off of what, potential? But at the same time, Blount’s numbers are better than Darko's, and he's making between 6 and 8 over the next 3 seasons. Why is Darko worth 10? Where did that figure come from? Or is it just based off of potential only... I mean seriously, Darko was considered a huge bust less than 2 seasons ago, and now after an 8 and 5 year he’s worth 10 million a season; come on.

    Either way, the attitude of Darko's agent is just as out of line if not more as Otis not calling on the 1st of July.

    The whole situation is pissing me off. Don’t get me wrong, I still want Darko here. But at the same time, I don’t mind if we work a sign and trade. However, I’d rather do it with a different team than Seattle, so we might be able to get another big in return.

     
  • At 4:52 AM, Blogger Ken said…

    I don't think any of us could foresee this turning out as it did. I think Cornstein is just being your typical agent. That's what they do, build up their client. And as far as Otis goes, he's often left me scratching my head wondering why he does what he does. But he usually seems to make things work out. Like everyone else though, I'm wondering were Darko and his agent got it in their collective heads that he was worth $10 mil a year. That's just absurd. For three years Darko was considered a bust in Detroit. Larry Brown wouldn't so much as look at him. Then, all of a sudden, a year and a half under Brian Hill and now they talk as if he is some elite powerhouse player coveted by 25 teams. I like Darko, and would love for him to stay in Orlando, but for $10 mil I think we can find someone who is a little more proven, and a little less moody.

     
  • At 4:57 AM, Blogger Ken said…

    Something else that has pissed me off are these ESPN guys saying crap like, Yes, Lewis is the best choice in free agency, but he won't make the Magic much better. And how we still need a perimeter threat. What? Hello? Who the hell is J.J? and what about Lewis himself? Isn't he a 3 point threat? And Jameer isn't so bad himself. These so called announcers or whatever they are make me sick. Experts my ass!!

     
  • At 9:44 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    This is unusual and a disgrace. I have never seen anything like this for an agent to come out blasting a GM. These are professionals whose paths may cross again, and unless there was an outrageous breach of trust, it is not expected for an agent to use such strong words. Look, the keyword is "disclosure". If a GM feels going one way, right or wrong, be honest about it. Tell Darko's agent that for the sake of the team our priority is Rashard Lewis, and you have to be patient until we work something out. It takes just a simple phone call. Obviously, in addition to current situation, there was this bad blood of an offered that was pulled off the table a few months back, and I am not sure how much of a damage control had been done then. Guys stop giving credit to Otis Smith for nothing. He got lucky a few times, and other than that has nothing worth a praise. He was responsible for Brian Hill's fiasco, and only public pressure and the arena issue forced the Magic to fire Hill. Signing Rashard to a max contract is not a big deal for all the reasons that I stated before plus Orlando was the best choice of all the teams with the cap space, and Rashard and his agent were candid about their pleasure.

    On a last note, we don't know what Darko was asking. 8-10 million was my guess. The fact is they could not pay Darko even 5 million if they were so eager to lock-up Rashard first. That issue really does not matter in how this matter has been handled which was; "very unprofessionally".

     
  • At 10:50 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Channel 13 news reported two nights ago that darko wanted close to ben wallace money,and he told his agent that if the magic werent able to give him that kinda deal work a sign and trade,10 mill a year is what he was looking for according to the report. Ben got 4 years at about 60 mill.

     
  • At 10:50 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Darko obviously thinks very high of himself.

     
  • At 1:12 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I'm pretty sure the Magic have to sign a free agent, or Lewis before Darko. With Darko, we could have matched and exceeded the salary cap, but if we signed Darko first, there would have been barely any money left to sign anyone, especially Lewis.

    If Otis doesn’t deserve some credit, then he is pretty damn lucky and he needs to start playing the lottery. I hope he stays that way (lucky). He's had his hands involved in the Magic getting Nelson, Howard, Redick, Darko, Arroyo, Ariza, and now Lewis. He dumped Francis, who is now about to be bought out after being traded. With that move alone he brought in Ariza and cleared cap space so we could size Lewis this summer. Brian Hill is gone, regardless how it happened. He signed the hottest coach in basketball, even if for only one day. And then after that mess was still able to sign Stan. And now, we've signed the best free agent available. While I agree that Otis does something’s that I don't agree with, and he probably shouldn't do. If Otis doesn't deserve credit for the Magic and the state of the team right now, then who does?

     
  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    A few names and notes:

    The Kings are interested in Hedo, but apparently they're offering Artest.

    The Sonics have interest in Arroyo and Dooling. If a sign and trade happens, one of them might go.

    The Bulls are still interested in Darko. If Darko is out, it's be nice if the Magic could work a deal for Nocioni.

     
  • At 3:34 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Misconceptions all over:

    1 - Francis: Who hasn't fooled Isiah?
    2 - Ariza: Nobody could have figured Ariza being such a diamond in the rough. I never believed Brian Hill when he claimed that trade would not have gone down without Ariza included.
    3 - Trade for Darko and Arroyo: What do we have to show for?
    4 - Signing Lewis: He was ready and happy to come to Orlando. Was it too hard?

    On the negative side, Otis Smith was involved in the following:

    1- Brian Hill's fiasco, gone or not, Otis was involved knee deep.
    2 - Misuse of Darko thus impeding his development in collaboration with Brian Hill.
    3 - Offering Darko a contract and then withdrawing it. Nobody knows why?
    4 - Fran Vasquez's fiasco. Still kissing this monkey's behind.
    5 - Recent handling of Darko's situation. I have written about it before; very unprofessional. Look for that to affect Magic organization for some time to come.

     
  • At 3:38 PM, Blogger tdawg said…

    I believe Cornstein is making a mistake blasting Otis Smith. Now if Darko wants to get paid he has only two options; Atlanta and Charlotte. If Darko wants to win and get paid, then Cornstein needs the Magic to work a sign and trade.

    Its going to interesting to see where Darko signs and for how much?

     
  • At 4:06 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    The breaking point between the two sides apparently was Milicic's demand for a contract approaching $10 million a season. The Magic balked since the market for Milicic isn't very high since so few teams are under the salary cap.

     
  • At 4:23 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    In turn, Milicic now might have to sign a one- or two-year deal at the mid-level exception ($5.5 million) and re-enter the free-agent market again next summer. Or he could get his lucrative contract this summer if the Magic will sign-and-trade him to another team.

    Sounds to me that regardless what Cornstein thinks, he needs to learn to keep his mouth shut.

    Smith hasn't retaliated in anyway, other than saying; "our goals remains the same: to sign a free agent and try to retain Darko. It hasn't changed."

    Did we all not know that? Everyone knew that.

    Darko's best options still relate to Smith and the Magic. Does his agent think Smith is going to be more willing to help his "10 million dollar man" out after bashing him? The only way it works out is if we're getting something in return. Otherwise, Darko will be taking a pay cut, short deal, or playing for a crap team. Way to sell Darko! Oh wait, I forgot, he's "the most coveted free agent in the market", so he sells himself.

    Poor Darko, I feel bad for the kid. He's back home, relaxing, paying his agent to handle everything for him, and his bridge has already started to burn before crossing over.

     
  • At 4:48 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Most of this stuff put out about Darko is hard guessing. As I have said before, these guys are professionals whose paths may cross again. Unless there was something really serious that was breached by Otis Smith, Darko's agent was not gonna come out with such strong words. Also, we don't know what Cornstein is sitting on to give him encouragement to say what he says meaning that he needs no help from Magic. Folks, no matter how you look at it, it doesn't show a high level of professionalism on the Magic's side, and that is what we have to worry about with regard to future Magic dealings.

     
  • At 5:05 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 5:10 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Let's see, it seems that many people agree that what Darko’s agent is saying is out of line. But since it seems so "obviously wrong", that must mean that Otis and the Magic did something to justify his comments?

    We'll see...

    In a few weeks, Darko will be where he's going to be. Lewis will be officially signed here. I'm looking forward to some "official comments" from Otis Smith.

    Because if you think about it, who says Cornstein isn't just another bad agent? Was it not just last summer we had Deshawn Stevenson's agent telling us how much he was worth, and we saw how that turned out; he had to take much less than what we were offering him, leaving Orlando when he didn’t want to, and ended up firing his agent.

    As of now, I don't know one way or another. But I will not side with an agent, whose job is only to get the most money out of a situation because of his own greed. The odds are, he doesn’t care what’s best for Darko. All that matters to him is getting the biggest contract possible for Darko, because that’s how he gets paid.

     
  • At 5:41 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    With all due respect, let's be logical. Unless we think that some of these agents are morons who act on emotions with no regard for their clients' or their own pockets, we cannot fathom what Darko's agent has said as strongly as he said it. I am not ready to pass a judgment, one way or another, but I don't like the circus atmosphere that we are witnessing which, in my view, could and should have been avoided.

     
  • At 5:51 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    One quick note; there is no comparison with Deshawn's situation. His agent made a wrong assessment of the market, and unfortunately his client paid for it. Darko's agent could have made a mistake about his client's market value, but that is not what we are dealing with here. As I said, I have never seen such venom publicly from an agent towards a GM. Words like liar and deceitful are not used in public to show someone's simple displeasure at a deal.

     
  • At 7:18 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Marc Cornstein

    He currently represents 9 NBA players.

    All of them are average at best role players (most are below average).

    His biggest success has been Samuel Dalembert. Does anyone think he’ll live up to the size of his contract (10-12 million per year over the next 4)? I definitely remember laughing when I heard the Sixers signed him for that deal.

    His next biggest deals have been Darko, and Pavlovic.

    Oh, and even more interesting; he represented Fran Vazquez. So maybe there is a little more behind the Magic-Cornstein relationship than we know.

    Regardless, it’s not like this guy is representing the "cream of the crop". The NBA could lose him, and all 9 of his clients and the world would never notice. So I don’t know; maybe he’s not a moron, but maybe he is.

    With all of that being said; I understand your point of view Matt. There are questions Otis Smith should have to answer. Why was the contract at the beginning of the season pulled? Why did he not contact Darko's camp? Otis has been quiet, but he's always been this way. In time, hopefully soon, we'll get a better understanding on the situation. How long do we have left, a week or so?

     
  • At 7:24 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    On ESPN's "Around the Horn" and "Pardon the Interruption" this afternoon, Darko's situation was a topic of discussion.

    On PTI, the panelists agreed that there's no way Darko will ever get a $10 million a year contract, because he is a career underachiever; On ATH they basically said the same thing.

    I think all of us here think a lot of Darko's potential, but it's true that someone is not worth $10 million a year based on potential.

    I'd like to see Darko return, but due to all the bad feelings that have developed between Darko and Cornstein against Otis, Darko will sign elsewhere.

    That's disappointing, but I'm going to stay positive, as the Magic, I think, are much better off than they were a year ago at this time for several reasons: 1) No more Brian Hill. 2) A coach in Stan Van Gundy who has a much better idea of how to run an offense. 3) The signing of Rashard Lewis. 4) A healthy J.J. Redick who will play in the summer league and possibly could be the Magic starting SG.

    True, the situation with Darko was handled poorly on both sides, and the Magic are now very weak at PF, but I won't let that dampen my enthusiasm for the Magic this coming season, which is less than 4 months away now. I'm sure more moves will be ahead in the coming weeks.

     
  • At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    In competitive markets, the value of an asset (e.g. a stock, a professional basketball player under contract, etc.) is based on the expectation of future performance, NOT past performance. Accordingly, value is an increasing function of probable future outcomes (i.e. potential), but a decreasing function of uncertainty.

    As far as Darko is concerned, he clearly has a ton of potential and a long career ahead of him. Additionally, the fact that he is seven-footer with a relatively high level of coordination, great physical strength, and a fundamentally high basketball IQ, mitigates the uncertainty surrounding his future.

    Analyzing the comparable at hand, Mark Blount was 28 when he signed his contract, which was based on 10.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 0.9 apg, 1.3 blk in 29.3 mpg. Given his age at the time of the negotiation, it would have been irrational to expect Blount’s production to grow significantly over the course of his contract. On the contrary, Darko is just 22, averaged 8.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.8blk in 23.3 mpg last season, and has a reasonable chance of turning into an all star. Thus, by all rational measures, Darko IS more valuable than Mark Blount was at 28 (approximately $7M per year). Add NBA salary inflation over the past 3 years and $10M per year may be a tad high, but not much.

     
  • At 10:10 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    It's all speculation, but the obvious is the Magic were on the hook for $6.8 million to Darko were he to "settle" for the qualifying offer.

    Without signing Darko, he had a hold on the Magic salary cap for about $15 million which is the amount needed to sign Lewis.

    So despite the emotions the Magic are saying A.) Darko is worth less to them than $6.8 mil per season and B.) They didn't think they could execute a sign and trade by July 11, in particular, Seattle didn't want him. C.) They could have dumped him anytime between now and the 11th. The timing was done either because they wanted to benefit Darko or were afraid they would be stuck with him at the qualifying offer which is higher than the league exception of around $5.5 million.

    Good luck to Darko. He had flashes of brilliance here but was mostly an enigma.

    My bigger concern is so far the tally for the offseason is:

    New:
    SVG
    Lewis
    No draft choices

    Gone:
    Darko
    Grant Hill

    I'm on record as not liking Hill, but that still doesn't APPEAR to be the big improvements the Magic needed for this offseason.

    There has got to be more.

     
  • At 1:52 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Kind of lost in the shuffle the last few days with all the talk revolving around Rashard Lewis and Darko is the news that Patrick Ewing is now an assistant coach for the Magic, and will mentor Dwight Howard.

    Nothing against Mark Bryant, who had that role last year for the Magic, but I believe Dwight could really learn a lot more from Ewing than he did from Bryant, and we should see an even more dominating Dwight this season.

     
  • At 3:44 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Alright, so we're talking about gains and losses...

    OK, first off, the loss of B Hill and the addition of Stan should make a nice mark. I say that change alone is worth 5 wins at least. Then, add in the fact that Jameer, Hedo, Ariza, Dwight, and others will play better under SVG and that should mean something. Beyond that, add in that SVG will actually play guys like JJ and Keith. On top of all that, add Lewis, and we have a nice looking squad on paper.

    As for the mention of Patrick Ewing; I'm totally happy. All of the friends I have that mention Ewing talk of him like he is an overrated bum; but I remember the battles he had with Shaq in the early 90's. Ewing had an inside/outside game, and is one of the best centers to ever play this game. I'm very happy to have him in Orlando.

     

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