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.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Magic Sign PG Anthony Johnson to 2 year deal

Per John Denton at Florida Today:

ORLANDO -- The Orlando Magic reached an agreement with free-agent point guard Anthony Johnson Tuesday on a two-year deal worth approximately $4.2 million, according to a source close to the negotiations.

The 33-year-old point guard could sign his contract with the Magic as soon as today or by Wednesday.

Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 195-pounder, is best known for his on-ball defense and veteran savvy. He has played 11 NBA seasons, including 18 games in the 1999-2000 season with the Magic.

He split time between the Atlanta Hawks and the Sacramento Kings last season, averaging 5.6 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists a game.

The signing ends the Magic’s faint hopes of retaining combo guard Keyon Dooling, who was angered by the Magic’s offering of the two-year deal after he made $3.6 million last season. When Dooling rejected the two-year, $4.2 million deal, it was offered instead to Johnson.

Johnson’s agent, Richard Howell, did not return messages left to his Atlanta-area office on Monday.

Orlando is still trying to acquire a third point guard and has held trade talks with the Memphis Grizzlies about the availability of 6-foot-5 guard Javaris Crittenton, according to Crittenton’s agent, Wallace Prather.

Johnson has played for eight NBA teams, 10 if counting his three different stints with the Atlanta Hawks. Because he’s often been used as a stop-gap guard signed to 10-day contracts, he’s split four NBA seasons between two teams.

His finest NBA season came in 2005-06 with Indiana when he averaged 9.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 26.4 minutes a game. He started 53 of the 75 games that he appeared in that season.

He also played exceptionally well in the 2006 playoffs with the Pacers, averaging 20 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists in six games. He had a career playoff high of 40 points (16 of 23 shooting, three 3-pointers) in 2006 against New Jersey.


  • At 9:54 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    This one is a shock to me. The guy is very old for a productive point guard, and he was signed for two years? This probably kills a Dooling reunion, as well as Armstrong or J.Will likely showing up.

    On the other hand he is 6'3" and known for defense. I guess the ability to bring in a backup PG 5 or 6 inches taller than the starter is a plus. And unlike Williams, he won't be a threat to take the starting job away from Nelson.

  • At 11:31 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I was looking at Johnson's numbers from last season with the Hawks and Kings, and actually, they're not that bad for a guy who was 33 years old.

    Johnson had 11 games of 8 or more assists, including four games in double digit assists with a season high of 14 assists.

    Johnson had 13 games scoring in double figures, with a season high of 19 points.

    One of his best games of the season came against the Magic while he was with the Hawks. On Dec. 10th, Johnson scored 15 points along with 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals to lead the Hawks to a 98-87 upset win over the Magic in Orlando.

    Johnson also had four double-doubles (double figures in points and assists in the same game), with his most impressive game being 17 pts along with 14 asts.

    I know most of us would have preferred the Magic re-sign Dooling, but this isn't a bad move to get an experienced, serviceable veteran like Anthony Johnson.

  • At 11:56 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    My trips to the arena this winter did not make me a fan of any of the guards on the '08 team. So any of them going away just makes me shrug.

    It's not going to take much to improve on any of the guys who are gone.

    Dooling was athletic, but streaky. He was way too prone to dribble the ball all the way around the circle, under the basket and back to the top of the key while the front court looked at him like he was an idiot. If he was the Magic's best stopper, well -- there were way too many guards having career nights against the Magic the last two years. Yawn. Bye. Good luck to you, I hear you were a good guy.

    Evans and Bogans seem like the exact same player. Maybe Evans had a bit more wingspan, but not by much. Keeping one or the other, or trading both of them -- not too big a deal. Bye Mo, we hardly knew you. Bogans has been here twice and does a few things well. So do a lot of SGs in the league.

    Arroyo could be so good offensively. And was not a terrible zone player. But can't guard at least half the guards in the east. Yawn. Good luck to you and your loyal flag waving P.R. fans.

    I miss Trevor Ariza's potential to be a stopper and a slasher. But I don't miss his broken feet.

    I can't wait to watch Redick star in the Canadian Basketball League. Why did they have to put the NBDL in the U.S. when Canada is where it should be? The potential of JJ Redick (to me) is the idea that Otis may fleece someone in to taking him and giving Magic fans a player we can pin our hopes and aspirations on. Maybe like Crittenton.

    So far its hard to imagine that Pietrus, Lee & Johnson could possibly play worse than Arroyo, Dooling & Evans. Same would go for giving up a Bogans or Redick for Crittenton. The Magic are coming out ahead overall on height, defense, and athleticism with the new guys. No to mention you can invest some hope that they will continue to improve. Dooling, Bogans, Evans, & Arroyo are exactly what they are going to be. Only Redick could shock anyone by becoming better than what he has been.

  • At 3:42 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Interesting analysis of the Magic guards from last season, WeRDevos.

    About the only thing I'll disagree with you is about Evans and Bogans; you said that they seemed like the same exact player, but Evans proved to be a much more consistent shooter than Bogans, as Evans shot 48% from the field compared to 41% for Bogans. From three point range, Evans shot 38% to Bogans' 36%. I also thought Evans was a better slasher than Bogans in going to the basket at times also.

    Regarding the three PGs from last season... they each had their unique strengths and weaknesses, which WeRDevos covered with Arroyo and Dooling. I wish it were possible to combine the strengths of Nelson, Arroyo, and Dooling into one player... we would have had a superstar PG then.

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

    Nothing to be blown away by but good signing. AJ is a keyon equivalent for half the price,plus he'll run your team a whole lot better as keyon did have trouble at times keeping us going offensively. Sime size,both vets,both like to defend and do the dirty work,seems like a perfect fit. Also as mike pointed out some of his stats,i actually remember him outplaying keyon and jameer in that game in orlando,the guy is a player. And to be honest i have to agree with WeR,bringing in pietrus,lee and AJ for evans,dooling and arroyo are big-time upgrades.

  • At 3:22 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Dwight Howard, after learning that Keyon Dooling won't be returning to the Magic: "It hurts seeing that he's not going to be here."

    According to GM Otis Smith: "The money wasn't there. We wanted Keyon back."

    Anthony Johnson: "I think I'm a solid point guard who knows how to run a ball club. I've been around. But early on in my career I didn't play much, so I have a lot left in the tank. I've played in big games. There isn't much I haven't seen."

    Smith again: "We think he (Johnson) fits what we do. We wanted to add some toughness, and with him and Pietrus and Tony (Battie) coming back, I think we did that."

  • At 1:51 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    What "The money wasn't there" means? It means that we are not bold enough to go over the salary cap, which in turn means:

    1 - A city that has provided these clowns with a brand new arena is going to see its Orlando Magic as an around the middle team for years to come;
    2 - Dwight is going to get tired of not jumping over the hump, as others did, and would eventually leave to somewhere where the owners are smart enough to see the upside of offsetting extra tax paid by extra revenue earned by a successful team;
    3 - When Dwight leaves we will still be left with Rashard's large contract with no takers as he will be getting older.
    4 - Since we would not have a solid PG we will be struggling to even make it to the play-offs, and most often we would be left on the outside looking in.

    It is painful that these supposedly business oriented people could not read the writings on the wall. No team would ever be left intact with all its assets. Orlando has a 3-4 year window to compete for the highest prize, and considering that window would not become wide open all of a sudden (BOS's experience is an aberration not a norm), the planning should start today, and the first step would be to get this idea of salary limitations, as a rule of thumb, out of your empty mind.
    Last but not least, Johnson is not getting any younger, and by the time his contract is over he would be 35 years old. There is a reason for him and other journeyman players going from team to team. A high caliber team needs a quality second ring PG especially when there is no more insurance behind him in that position.

    Nice job Otis Smith and the rest of the clowns. You have just guaranteed mediocrity for years to come.

  • At 4:05 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Matt, I'm way more optimistic on the future of the Magic than you are.

    Dwight Howard's contract runs through 2011-12, with a player option for the following year. Since he is only 22, he will only improve his already outstanding stats from year-to-year. With a franchise center like Dwight locked up for the next four years, I don't believe the team will regress.

    To say that the Magic will be "an around the middle team for years to come", especially after the team is coming off a 52 win season, is being overly pessimistic; same as believing that Dwight will leave the team four years from now.

    The way the team is constructed now, and the fact we have a good coach in Stan Van Gundy, we have a good chance of surpassing the 52 win mark next season.

    I'm sure most of the guys on the team are sad to see Keyon go, because he was a good guy and a good energy player off the bench at times, but you know what... they'll get over it. It's the nature of the business... players sign with other teams and get traded often.

    I'm really looking forward to next season... GO MAGIC!!

  • At 11:52 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    Mike, with all due respect you did not get the full picture of what I was trying to portray. Basically, 1) you cannot be so hung up on the salary cap if you intend to compete for the championship; 2) The contract does not mean that you have locked up the guy for the duration of the contract since if he gets tired of waiting (like in Garnette's case) he could ask for a trade; 3) it's ridiculous for a top level team to think of a A. Johnson for the back up especially if you have no insurance behind him; 4) With TOR and PHI becoming stronger, I am not sure if we could make it to the second round of the play-offs. If we have any long term injury to any major player, especially to Dwight, Hedo or Rashard, I am not so sure that we could still make it to the play-offs.

    Now you get the drift, and please do not mention 52 wins of last year because it was not good enough to push us passed the second round. That, however, happened on a year that we were lucky not having any major injury to any of the major players.

  • At 3:33 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

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  • At 3:34 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Closing statement:
    “You have just guaranteed mediocrity for years to come”.

    Matt, come on, you can’t be serious?

    I understand where you’re going in regards to “spending”, and it makes sense. But is Dooling worth going over the cap for and having to pay luxury tax? Not for me, because there was always a negative when he was on the floor. He was too small for a shooting guard, and couldn’t run the offense as a point guard.

    Johnson is stronger, he plays under control, he is an actual point guard, and his defense is just as good if not better than Dooling. He’ll serve his purpose.

    The real question comes into play is next off-season when Turkoglu will likely exercise his player option. He is the type of player that’s worth it to go over the cap for. And if they’re still not willing to do so, they need to make sure to trade him.

    On some of your points:
    1 – Third in the East isn’t exactly a “middle team”. Until we finish worse, I expect the same, if not better.

    2 – You’re right, if Dwight left, it would likely be a blow the franchise would struggle to recover from. However, as Mike mentioned, Howard is under contract for the next 4 seasons, until he has a player option in the 5th. And sure I understand that a player can ask for a trade, but do you not think that we could pretty much get anybody in the NBA for Dwight? I realize that a player’s trade value typically goes down when a guy asks to be traded, but not for a 22 year old All NBA First Team player.

    Also, you made the comparison with KG and that he got “tired of waiting”. Not that great of a point considering KG waited for 12 years in Minnesota.

    3 – The season hasn’t started yet. I still believe Smith plans to add a 3rd PG. Magic sources say worse case scenario and we end up with Darrel Armstrong for a season. How bad would that be?

    The East has improved, you’re right there.

    Philly the most, but I still think we match up well. Their biggest and obvious improvement is Brand, but they only have one low post presence. This season, the Magic will likely always have one of Howard or Battie on the floor at most times. I expect them to hold their own against Brand. I still think we’re the better team.

    As for Toronto, they’re a wild card. They traded two players who had decent sized roles (Ford, Nesterovic) and the 17th pick for a “used to be good” player. Can O’Neal stay healthy? Will be he anything like he was before his injuries started? Who knows? Strangely though, they caused us more problems last season when they went small against us, and this trade pretty much means they don’t want to play that way. Again, I still say we’re the better team.

    As for the Magic, since our playoff roster we’ve added Pietrus, Lee, Johnson, Battie, and Cook. At least three (Pietrus, Johnson, Battie) of those players are known for defense. Lee is still a question mark as a rookie, but he looked really good in the summer league, especially with his ability to get to the free throw line. Cook was also a nice spark off the bench last season. I think we missed him in the playoffs. Word is, he is busting his ass this off season and is in great shape. Can’t be a bad thing…

    So I personally don’t see anything wrong with throwing a number out there. Before last season started, I said we’d be a 50 win team. I expect the same this season, but if I had to pick a number, it would be 55.

    Why? I like the players we’ve added, and the players we’re getting back from injury. Last season, our backcourt was a mess (especially the 2 spot), and that has been addressed with additions. I think our frontcourt was lacking on the bench, and with Gortat having a role (unlike last regular season), Battie back, Cook healthy, and Foyle, I think that will help.

    Lewis will not be new when the season starts. Howard will be a year older, and could make another leap. Our core players remain intact. With Van Gundy calling the shots, I think we’ll be an improved team. Does that make us a “contender”? That’s yet to be determined. But if Pietrus can come in and be a defensive stopper, and we get solid defense from Battie and Johnson, I expect Orlando to be in the thick of things in the playoffs.

  • At 6:24 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Excellent post, OVERWADED!

    I agree with everything you wrote; your logic and supporting statements would make it hard for anyone to make a legitimate argument against them (I'm sure Matt would try, though).

  • At 8:17 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

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  • At 8:20 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Thanks Mike!

    I'm not even trying to argue with anyone. It's just what I believe.

    After the uneventful draft, I myself wasn't happy with Otis Smith. But since then, he's made some solid moves, which leads me to believe he is trying to tweak the team, find that missing piece, and get us to the next level.

    So yeah, as of now, I consider this off-season a success. Look at what we have. We have a new team...a young team...that just added a star and a new coach last off-season...we just won 52 games... I don’t think that equation calls for any major moves; not yet anyway. So for now, I think adding pieces around this core is the right thing to do.

    And how could I complain so far?

    We always got burned by opposing two guards, so we add an athletic defender with a long wingspan who can shoot the 3-ball. He looks to fit right into our starting rotation.

    We struggled to defend point guards at times. So while Nelson is our starter, we pick up a strong defender, who plays under control on the offensive end. The exact things Nelson struggles with. I know he is older, but that is why I believe we will add a third point guard. And like we have already talked about, Nelson more than held his own in the playoffs.

    Then there is Courtney Lee, not only is he a great shooter, but he can create his own shot. At times we struggled getting to the free throw line. That was my main interest in Corey Maggette. If Lee can come in off the bench, be aggressive on both ends of the floor, we have a great pick for us. After watching him in the summer league, he does have that ability.

    As decent as Evans and Bogans are, they obviously were not getting the job done consistently enough. Who knows with Redick? The point is, the Magic did not believe they were getting the type of production they needed from any of our two guards, and I completely agree. It was easily our weakest position on the floor night in and out.

    So what else can I say? While it hasn't been perfect, I like what Otis Smith is trying to do with this team.

    All I know is, it has felt like a long damn time since we had a GM who was actually trying to build a TEAM; and it feels pretty good.

    Fun fact: As bitter as many of us were last off season over how Otis Smith handled the Darko situation, this recent quote from his very own coach might make you feel a little differently about what happened.

    Darko Milicic is the number one player Memphis would love to dump. Why? "He hates to play basketball. From the start of training camp, he begins counting down the days for the season to end so he can get back home," Iavaroni shared.

  • At 12:55 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    OVERWADED, I would say excellent post(s), as well, and contrary to what Mike claims, I am in agreement with your sound logic. However, there are nuances where I may differ slightly:

    1 - I believe that one cannot be so stuck on the salary cap if one intends to build a championship team. The Magic brass is not saying whether or not they will go over the cap for any particular player. They rather are saying that they would not go over the cap; period. As for the comparison between Keyon and Johnson, I would go no farther than their market value, and those numbers are what they are.

    2 - I resent breaking anybody's bubble of optimism. However, Peitrus is not a proven player as a starter yet. Again his market value is at 5.5 mil. Is he an upgrade over the previous two 2s? I tend to believe so, but it is my view that we would have been better off to consider attaining a starting PF at 5.5 + Hedo. I am not saying that is an easy dynamics to pull off, not with Otis Smith, but I would have loved to give it a try. That still is aligned with the idea of matching up with PHI and TOR size wise upfront.

    3 - I am not in disagreement with the potential number of games that could be won. However, I think last year's result is not a good gauge since we were relatively injury free last season, and we could not say for sure that would be the case, next season. Regardless, the question is whether or not we could go passed the second round of play-offs? I am doubtful that with stronger competition in the east we would even make it to the second round.

    4 - As for the mid-pack that I was referring to, in a group of 8 teams 3-5 would be considered mid-level unless if you could say that this year we would pull up to the second or first place in the east.

  • At 5:54 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I won't argue with any of that Matt. You make some valid points.

    I really agree with you in regards to money and the salary cap. It's a debate I've been having actually.

    Are the Magic going to make any effort to re-sign Turk? Are they going to throw a Dooling like offer at him? If so, they might as well trade him now. If not, then lets get this season started with Turk.

    However, if the Magic keep him around and he opts out of his contract, they better not be "cheap", as we cannot afford to have him walk for nothing.


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