John Hollinger of ESPN on Otis Smith's pick-pocketing Dallas for Brandon Bass:
Orlando is a mid-market area at best. The new arena will be moved into sometime in 2010. No one believed this would happen, because the Magic have been so conservative (read cheap) with their money. But here is from the wikipedia site on Rich Devos:
We saw a perfect example Monday, as a spectacular piece of card playing by Magic general manager Otis Smith left the Mavericks slack-jawed, while once again illustrating the dangers of signing offer sheets early in the free-agent period.
Smith shocked nearly everyone by matching Dallas' five-year, $34 million offer sheet to Marcin Gortat, the Polish backup center who is unlikely to play more than 10 minutes a game next season because he's backing up all-world center Dwight Howard. Fans haven't seen much of Gortat because he's stuck behind Howard, but the dude can play -- he's mobile, rebounds well and can score. But between salary and luxury tax, Gortat will cost the Magic close to $12 million this year, which is nearly a maximum salary.
When Dallas presented the offer sheet, Smith said he wanted all seven days to make up his mind and would have taken eight if he could have. But don't believe him. He knew exactly what he was going to do all along.
Every good team does -- in preparation for free agency, it runs through all the scenarios of what another team might offer its players, and if so whether it would match. The Magic almost certainly knew on July 1 whether they were matching this deal; they just didn't let everyone else in on the secret until today.
In fact, it's quite likely they sprinkled some leaks indicating that they wouldn't match; surely it was believable given their status as a luxury-tax team in an old arena in a small market. Why pay so much more for a secondary piece?
But if they already knew they were matching, it was a brilliant stroke, because it allowed them to get a second player at a discount price. Remember, Gortat isn't the only big man Orlando inked this week -- the Magic also signed Brandon Bass to a four-year, $18 million deal. And Bass, you'll surely remember, played for the Mavericks last season.
By making Dallas believe that they wouldn't match the offer for Gortat, they were able to throw the Mavs off the scent of Bass. At the time, the Mavs were thinking letting Bass go to the Magic would eliminate any chance of losing Gortat.
Here's what The Dallas Morning News reported at the time: "The Mavericks stepped aside in negotiations for Bass, allowing him to sign with the Magic. His presence with the Magic virtually guarantees that Marcin Gortat will be a Maverick. He signed an offer sheet … and Orlando has until next week to match the offer … The Mavericks are no longer worried about that possibility."
Psych! This is Lucy pulling the football out from Charlie Brown, folks. Orlando created the impression that it was going to let Gortat leave, the Mavs fell for it hook, line and sinker, and as a result the Magic got to sign the player they coveted at power forward (Bass), in addition to keeping Gortat like they always knew they would.
The only drawback is that their clever little ruse was darn expensive. Gortat and Bass combine to put the Magic about $10 million over the luxury tax; next year, that figure will be closer to $20 million. For wee little Orlando to fork out that kind of money is a serious commitment, especially since its new arena is still a year away from completion. Clearly, owner Rich DeVos and team president Bob VanderWeide are willing to sacrifice a chunk of their bank account over the next two years to win a title, and the people of Orlando shouldn't take this for granted -- many owners wouldn't do the same.
And in case you get any sneaky ideas, remember that Gortat can't be traded until Dec. 15, can't be traded without his consent for a full year, and can't be traded to Dallas at all until next summer. So don't think the Magic are holding Gortat for ransom -- the rules on offer sheets are set up to avert those kinds of shenanigans. This is strictly a buy-and-hold maneuver.
Richard DeVos, Sr., (born March 4, 1926, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.) is an American billionaire and co-founder of Amway (restructured as Alticor in 2000). In 2006, Forbes magazine listed him as the 73rd wealthiest person in the United States with an estimate net worth of USD$ 3.5 billion. In 2007, Forbes ranked him as the 249th richest person in the world.  (at one point he was in the top 10 of wealthiest Americans).
So Devos is real old, a recent heart transplant recipient, rich as hell, and just made a lot of extra money on the Finals run. He can't take his money with him, why not spend some now and win a championship.
It's about time.