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.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What will the Magic do for a backup center?

Here are excerpts from an article published in Sunday's Orlando Sentinel, written by Josh Robbins and Brian Schmitz:

By signing Brandon Bass on Friday to a four-year, $18 million deal, the Orlando Magic acquired one of their top targets this free-agency period, a young power forward who can rebound, shoot effectively and run the floor.

But the Magic still have work to do on their front line especially if, as expected, they don't match the Dallas Mavericks' five-year, $34 million offer sheet to restricted free agent Marcin Gortat. When and if Gortat is allowed to leave for Texas, the Magic will need someone who can spell Dwight Howard at center during games and man the position if Howard gets hurt. After all, that was the role that made Gortat so valuable during the Magic's run to the NBA Finals.

"It's important for us to look at our front line," Magic General Manager Otis Smith said. "We just didn't have a lot of size once we traded away Tony [Battie] and we lost a couple of guys in free agency. So, we didn't have any size. Getting some size [that Bass provides] — he may not be tall, but he's got broad shoulders, and he's a wide body — that was important to us. And we still have some work to do, obviously, as it relates to bigs. So, we're nowhere near done because you still lack size."

Orlando used part of its mid-level exception of $5,854,000 to sign Bass and can use the remainder to lure more free agents.

That said, money is starting to get tight. In addition to a backup big man, the Magic still want a wing player and another backup point guard. Yet even with just nine players under contract, the Magic's payroll now has risen to about $72 million and into luxury-tax territory. Any amount above $69.92 million is taxed dollar-for-dollar, and that's one reason why re-signing a backup like Gortat for so much money would be painful.

So, any remaining free agents the Magic will target likely will be relative bargains. Some of the free-agent centers still available are Jason Collins, Francisco Elson, Ryan Hollins and Theo Ratliff. The pool of wing players is deeper and includes former FSU player Von Wafer, Orlando native Marquis Daniels and former Magic player Keith Bogans. Wafer's agent said the Magic are an attractive option for his client.

Bass gives the Magic options for their starting lineup. Both Smith and Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy acknowledged that Bass could crack Orlando's starting lineup at power forward and allow Rashard Lewis to move to the small-forward spot, Lewis' more natural position.

Van Gundy said: "One of the things I think Otis has done in the past and is doing again is giving us a roster not only with talent but one with versatility where we will have a lot of options in terms of the kind of lineups we put on the floor."


  • At 6:48 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Interesting that the Magic are leaning towards starting Bass at PF and moving Lewis over to his natural SF position; I'm looking forward to seeing that.

    Stan Van Gundy hit the nail right on the head in his description of how Otis Smith is building the Magic roster... "with talent"... and "with versatility."

  • At 8:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dallas fan here

    I hope Mavs re-sign Hollins and wish they could pick up Marquis Daniels. If Orlando gets either of those they will be pleased.

    Hollins still has to develop, but he seems to have the tools. In fact, I think his upside is greater than Gortat's, but have no idea whether he will develop.

    Marquis is an understated and underrated player. Can play 2 and 3 and 1 in a pinch. A scorer who plays good defense. He goes to the basket (not a long range jump shooter) and he passes well. He also is a complementary player rather than one who has to be the center of everything. Looks like a thug, but the Mavs PR people always said he was their go to guy for any community outreach activities.

  • At 10:12 AM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    Marquis is from around here. But when you say he can't shoot the long ball that probably means Orlando isn't interested. After all they dumped Ariza for the same reason.

    I'm looking forward to seeing who gets the better of the Gortat vs. Bass signings if the Magic don't match.

    We like Gortat here in Orlando, but he couldn't beat out Adonyl Foyle until May 2008. One year later he's going to start for a top 5 team in the mighty West. That's a hell of a lot of growth. He has yet to play 1,000 minutes in his career, He's scored 250 points and grabbed 300 rebounds. Now he's getting paid $34 million. Timing is everything in life.

    Orlando has needed a wide body PF. Bass is young and cheap and will be in his 5th season next year. If he is capable of starting then Lewis slides to SF giving Orlando one of the best sets of wing players in the league combined with Howard.

    I guess both teams can look at this as "trading" a backup for a starter.

    But I still won't be surprised if the Magic go against all conventional wisdom and match the Gortat offer.

  • At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dallas fan here

    I hear you about Gortat still having questions. Everybody in Dallas acts like he is a proven starter and will be the best center the Mavericks have ever had. Hey, James Donaldson was pretty good!

    Reminds me of the time I saw Donald Hodge absolutely school Shaq. Starting and playing well for a few games does not a stud make.

  • At 4:37 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    I am not sure that I agree with this trade-off of downgrading the PF position by starting Bass - being in the league long enough and never considered a starter quality player - to upgrading SF position by sliding Rashard there. Considering that we could start MP at SF, and if all other variables are as they are now, I would rather keep Rashard at PF and use MP as a starter and find a cheap back-up for him. This option is more desirable particularly because we can interchange Rashard between PF and SF, and Vince and MP between SF and SG. The fallacy of this option appears when we play against teams like Lakers whose PF combination (starter and back-up) is superior to Rashard and whoever his back up may be. But then there are not many teams of that caliber; last season we basically did not feel the crunch in PF position until the finals.

    The question to be answered revolves around what the objective is. Are we shooting for the championship or not? If affirmative, then we cannot afford a half-hearted upgrade at PF and be happy with Bass as the starter. Magic cannot afford to be overly concerned with a 10-12 mil luxury tax penalty; that amount could be easily offset with two series (East finals and NBA finals). With poor showing at PF, we probably will see neither.


    I am just about sick and tired of all the exaggerated praise going on for Smith as though some are seeking employment with the Magic organization. What is worse is quoting from Sentinel reporters as credible sources. Sentinel has never been a reliable source on the Magic since they have never been critical of the organization. If you remember my favorite subject matter of Brian Hill, Sentinel reporters rarely questioned his judgment calls, and if it was not for the outrage from the fan base all over, Hill would have never been removed.

    If Smith does not back up the bold move of Vince Carter's trade with adding a starting quality PF, and/or magnify the weakness of the frontline with losing Gortat, then he goes down as a fool who made a large capital investment in Vince just to see it offseted later with failing to address the frontline issues. Looking back at my conditional approval of Carter's trade, settling for Bass as a starter at PF (and if you are happy at that level why not Anderson?) negates most if not all added value for that trade. That combined with both BOS and CLE upgrading their frontlines, in my view, puts our chances of coming out of the East in jeopardy.

  • At 5:44 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    I seem to recall Donaldson was more than pretty good.

    Rumors are flying right now that Otis is matching on Gortat and the Magic are keeping him.

    So much for that theory that there was a deal between the teams because of the Toronto trade.

  • At 5:50 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…


    First off, starting Bass is only one of two scenarios that work. Forwards are either going to be Lewis/Pietrus or Bass/Lewis. Either way, Pietrus or Bass are surrounded BY FOUR ALL-STARS!

    Just how greedy are you?

    I like the signing because Stan is on record saying he likes how much flexibility the roster has.

    Now what about Gortat?

  • At 6:16 PM, Blogger Matt said…


    I didn't say that I don't like signing Bass. What I am saying is that don't push it out of proportion. He is not the one who could resolve our match up problems with BOS or CLE at PF position let alone with the Lakers. Additionally, I don't see a considerable flexibility in Bass being able to do double duty at PF and center, especially if labeling it as a substitute for Gortat's service. In fact, if that is the case, I would say that we lose some flexibility.

    As for Gortat, I am on the record saying that I like the idea of matching DAL's offer. As a matter of fact, as I mentioned earlier, I am not concerned with Magic paying 10-12 in luxury tax, as it could be easily offset with revenues from two series in the play-offs.

    I am not greedy at all. I am looking rather realistically at Magic's chances for making it to the NBA finals and even winning a championship. If Magic brass is serious about it, as is evident from Vince Carter's trade, this is the time. You can argue that we will have VC's services for two years so what if we don't make it in the first try? I say who knows what may happen in two years; VC is not getting younger. It is upon us now, and we should aim for making it on the first try.

  • At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dallas fan here

    Matt, you have a good understanding of Bass.

    I remember the Mavs being disappointed they did not get Stanley Roberts from Orlando.


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