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 09, 2009

The Big Risk Summer of Magic

I've been trying to figure out for myself what the Magic need to finalize the roster. We now know the Luxury tax is $69 million, and the eight signed players already take up about $67 million in payroll. The Magic will clearly be tax payers, but are likely to want to limit their exposure. My point of this post is not to editorialize if I think the Devos family should spend a lot more and win a title.

Sometime after the Finals I wrote something about hoping for a non-boring summer. The Magic have certainly delivered an adventurous summer so far by losing 5 of their top 11 players in exchange for two quality players.

The Magic are incomplete at the moment with 8 contracts and need somewhere between 5 and 7 more contracts. Of the probable 6 players, 2 to 3 need to contribute and the others need to bring it to practice.

I decided to look at this question as a matter of minutes. I do this with the belief that it is minutes that show the significance of a player to Coach Van Gundy. Regardless about what he says in the papers, the numbers don't lie. Players he relies on to win games get a lot of minutes. Other don't. Things change in the playoffs, but since we are currently worried about the upcoming regular season I decided to only look at last regular season.

Make what you will of the fact that Gortat was 11th on the team in minutes played during the regular season.

Last Season 16 players logged 19,730 minutes for the Magic. The Big 3 logged 2800 minutes each with Turkoglu now gone. Jameer was on pace for 2500 All-Star minutes before his injury. I never would have guessed that Grandpa Johnson was 5th on the team in minutes played. For that matter, I don't remember the great Adonal Foyle playing a single minute.

Ranked by Regular Season Minutes Played:

1. Rashard Lewis -- 2859
2. Dwight Howard -- 2821
3. Hedo Turkoglu -- 2815
4. Courtney Lee -- 1939
5. Anthony Johnson -- 1481
6. Mickael Pietrus -- 1329
7. Jameer Nelson -- 1309
8. Tony Battie -- 1202
9. J.J. Redick -- 1111
10. Rafer Alston† -- 856
11. Marcin Gortat -- 794
12. Keith Bogans† -- 787
13. Brian Cook† -- 146
14. Tyronn Lue† -- 129
15. Jeremy Richardson -- 93
16. Adonal Foyle† -- 59

Currently gone or not signed are 10 of those 16 with a total of 8,820 minutes played, or 44.7% of last years Eastern Conference champs:

3. Hedo Turkoglu -- 2815
4. Courtney Lee -- 1939
8. Tony Battie -- 1202
10. Rafer Alston† -- 856
11. Marcin Gortat -- 794
12. Keith Bogans† -- 787
13. Brian Cook† -- 146
14. Tyronn Lue† -- 129
15. Jeremy Richardson -- 93
16. Adonal Foyle† -- 59

Players 12-16 did not log any playoff minutes due to trade or inactivity and are easily replaced. Alston's minutes will be replaced by Jameer Nelson assuming he is fully recovered.

So far the Magic have added back 4,258 minutes played from last year:

Vince Carter 2,946 minutes
Ryan Anderson 1,312 minutes

Carter would have led the Magic in minutes played. Not bad for a 32 year old. Anderson would have been 7th on the Magic in minutes played. If you look at the NJ trade in terms of minutes, The Magic traded 3,997 minutes and got back 4,258. If Nelson stays healthy and assumes all of Alston's minutes next year, this trade amounts to Carter and Anderson for Lee and Battie. Lee (nearly beloved but missed the damn shot) is a loss, but this is clearly a lopsided trade for the Magic in regards of production.

The question now becomes how to replace:

3. Small Forward 2,815 minutes
11. Backup Center 794 minutes
12. Backup SG/SF 787 minutes

plus 3 pieces of well dressed sideline artwork: 427 minutes.

It's not as bad as it looks. Pietrus is likely to join the 2500 minute club next season all at SF. Anderson is 6'10" and can take some of the backup center minutes when the Magic go small. Right now SF backup solution is Carter/Redick or Lewis/Anderson on the floor when Pietrus sits. Clearly Otis Smith must deliver two more key pieces before the summer is over.

Current Roster:

Backup Open: 794 minutes


Backup Open



Looks like the Magic are in need of a backup Center to play 10 minutes a game, and a SF/SG wing to also contribute 10 minutes a game.

And my guess is they are going to spend about $5 million total to deliver both.


  • At 9:59 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    I'm lovin how the roster is shaping up. If we're able to get bass and a wing player we will have clearly changed/up-graded our talent. I think with the added size at SG and the the ability to guard the PF position which battie could not,should make the difference against teams like the boston and the lakers. Boston's starting five will be the same,and cleveland just got slower by adding shaq. They wont be better than this new magic squad as long as jameer returns to his all-star form,he's the key to to whole damn thing. With MP,VC and rashard on the perimeter we're gonna be ten times tougher around jameer and dwight. All five of the guys in this starting line-up will be able to get twenty as well as defend,i cant wait.

  • At 10:32 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Nice post, WeRDevos. If they are going to spend 5 mil to fill two open back-up spots they will not be able to do a damn thing even making it to the East's final. What if starters in center and small forward positions get hurt?Additionally, with Rashard at PF we will have problems with BOS and Lakers, not to mention CLE.

    What about the other five roster spots? We need at least two more guards and three more forwards. We cannot bring in under mil players in all those spots and expect to have a deep bench.

    Magic is in a tough situation and needs lots of high level leadership, none of which I have witnessed so far into the summer.

  • At 4:18 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Let's look at how many points per game the Magic starters averaged during the playoffs:

    PG Rafer Alston... 12.2
    SG Courtney Lee... 8.0
    SF Hedo Turkoglu.. 15.8
    PF Rashard Lewis.. 19.0
    C Dwight Howard.. 20.3

    Total... 75.3 ppg

    Here's the tentative new Magic starting five for next season, and their projected points per game (I will give a conservative estimate):

    PG Jameer Nelson... 15.5
    SG Vince Carter.... 19.0
    SF Mickael Pietrus..11.0
    PF Rashard Lewis... 17.0
    C Dwight Howard... 22.5

    Total... 85.0 ppg

    Ryan Anderson has a chance to average 8-9 ppg coming off the bench, and J.J. Redick, with more consistent playing time, could average around 7-8 ppg, with Anthony Johnson averaging 3-4 ppg.

    That's between 103-106 ppg right there between the eight players under contract, and whoever Otis Smith signs for PF, SF, and SG to round out the roster will make that projected figure between 112-115 ppg.

    That's a pretty good roster capable of being one of the highest-scoring teams in the NBA.

    Of course, defense wins championships, so we'll have to see how well they can play defense as a unit.

    On ESPN, they said that the Magic will be getting an $8 million dollar trade exception, plus cash in the Turkoglu sign-and-trade, so that really improves their flexibility in picking up a quality player later on.

    Despite losing Hedo and most likely Marcin Gortat, I'm otherwise pretty happy with the way things have gone so far this off-season.

  • At 5:22 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    More from the Orlando Sentinel about the Turkoglu sign-and-trade:

    The Magic did not receive any players in return, but the exception is expected to be worth between $8 and $9 million.

    They could use all of it or a portion of it to make a deal for a free agent immediately or in a trade within the next year.

    "If you want to, you can use it now. It's not necessary that we do," Magic General Manager Otis Smith said. "We have a year to use it. We can put it in our pocket and look for the opportunity to use it."

    The Magic also received cash considerations totaling $1 million from the Raptors and the Dallas Mavericks in the Turkoglu sign-and-trade agreement.

    Smith called the deal "a win-win" for the Magic, who can now set their sights on acquiring a better free agent with the exception if they want.

    "We could, we could. I mean, when you get a sizable trade exception you can do a little bit more things with it," Smith said. "So it gives you some flexibility to play with. So we have that. How we choose to use it, whether it's a sign-and-trade for somebody that's out there. ... Basically, that's how we'll do it either now or during the course of the season."

    Smith said that the Magic don't necessarily have to include a player with the trade exception in a deal.

    It can instead include a future draft pick, for instance.

    Smith said the Raptors offered players in an original version of the trade. "Sure they did," he said. The Magic did not want to take back contracts. "Well, that and they didn't fit what we were doing," he added.

    Smith said "it's a possibility" the Magic could match the Mavs' five-year, $34 million offer sheet for center Marcin Gortat and trade him later.

    "It's a possibility, everything is open," he said. "We can't close the door or anything. As I said, it's a big chunk so you have to look ... if you want to get involved or not and how you're going to go from there."

  • At 8:19 AM, Blogger Matt said…


    I see a lot of hot air. Calm down and don't get excited for too little. I have tried to clarify what trade exception really is, and I will do it one more time quoting from my earlier posts:

    1 - "In plain language it is an exception to trade a player IN without having to trade anybody OUT. The only value to it is that teams can get players from the other teams who need to dump salary without having to dispatch/lose a player. With Magic going over the salary cap this exception has little to no value."

    2 - "... exception means nothing if a player is picked up in the free market. It also means nothing in the overall salary structure and luxury tax penalties. As for using exception to pick a player from another team, it typically happens when teams are looking for salary dump, otherwise they expect to get return value in a comparable player."

    You can say "flexibility" as much as you will but one has to realize that Magic can sign up any player from the free market, and exception has nothing to do with it. But make no mistake that they are currently about 2 mil under salary cap and any addition adds to their luxury tax. In fact, the best way to work numbers is to count Hedo's salary off gone the books versus Vince Carter's salary. Any other way would be misleading or confusing.


    Points production is not a good indicator since players have been in different environments. With Hedo gone, Magic may have to play a slower pace game and/or depend more on defense. Also players coming from other teams may not produce the same numbers since their roles may change in a different environment. Regardless, a qualitative assessment, as I repeatedly stated, seems to be more appropriate compared to a quantitative assessment without proper interpretations. There is always the risk when somebody falls in love with numbers but fails to interpret them correctly, and that is exactly why qualitative assessment is most often a safer approach.

    And how did you add your numbers from 85 with two players at 8-9 and 7-8 and came up with 103-106 total?

  • At 9:45 AM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    A couple of thoughts.

    This is the fourth consecutive summer that Otis has moved more slowly in acquiring secondary pieces than we would like. I know this because I looked it up on our own blog.

    The last three results have been playoffs, second round, Finals. So you can argue there is method to his methodical madness even if you are not sold on his management.

    The other thought is embedded in the post. The superstar(s) and top supporting cast is already in place. The roster needs to be filled out by two more regular supporting players to get to 10, then 3 pieces of wood to obtain the league minimum 13 contracts.

    Last year the team broke camp with just Nelson and Johnson at PG. The team survived the Nelson injury thanks to the Dooling trade exception.

    The Turkoglu trade exception has a minimum chance of being used for anything but an insurance policy, just like last year.

    If the starters stay healthy the Magic have the top starting five in the league. That makes it very exciting going into the upcoming year, and also means that it is less important to find any one final piece with the full MLE.

  • At 11:13 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Damn well said WeR,that last post is the plane and simple truth.

  • At 11:16 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Im not sure but i think gortat is gonna be darko number 2 for matt if he leaves,so lets get ready. I thought the same thing but didnt get the chance to go back and research it,every year we've improved with otis so there's no reason to question him at all,if we were getting worse than it would be expected.

  • At 11:18 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    Yes WeRDevos; "... you can argue there is method to his methodical madness...", and that is being reactive probably because the ownership is cheap and they have instructed him as such. It is a proven fact that good leaders are proactive. Even in a "wait and see" situation, good leaders have a logic in doing so. I don't see any value in being reactive, and results don't stand a chance in changing my view.

  • At 6:40 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Matt... as you stated, I erred in adding up the numbers incorrectly when projecting for next season; the total should have been between 100-102 points from the eight players under contract (instead of 103-106), but now that number goes higher with the addition of Brandon Bass.

    Even if I'm overestimating the numbers, the potential is there for the Magic to be one of the highest-scoring teams in the league, especially with Stan Van Gundy preferring an up-tempo offense.

  • At 10:18 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Big Figure:

    Darko number 2? That is funny. I promise that it would not be Darko number 2 but would rather be Gortatt number 1!!!


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