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, August 27, 2009

Magic close to signing Adonal Foyle

From the Sentinel BasketBlog on Wednesday from writer Tania Ganguili:

Update: He's signed. The above picture must be from practice because I'm pretty sure Foyle didn't touch the ball in a game last year. He takes the honorary Bo Outlaw seat at the end of the bench -- good looking bald guy who is liked in the locker room and not likely to see the court at all.

The Magic are working out a deal to bring back center Adonal Foyle, who became a free agent at the end of the season.

Foyle's agent Lon Babby told Josh Robbins they're moving towards an agreement and Magic GM Otis Smith told me it should be done pretty soon.

"It's not a hard deal to negotiate," Smith said.

Smith said this pretty much fills up all the team's needs, though last week Coach Stan Van Gundy said they might pick up someone on a non-guaranteed contract for training camp.

Foyle, 34, began last season with the Magic, but was traded to the Grizzlies in part of the deal that got Orlando Rafer Alston. Foyle later returned after the Grizzlies released him.

Foyle will be the team's third center behind Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Little Baseball Coverage

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Magic Sign White Chocolate

The Magic added their 3rd PG this evening when they signed Jason Williams off of a one year retirement. Williams is a true goofball, won an NBA championship as the starting PG on the Heat, and can spend countless hours on the team plane comparing tattoos with Jameer Nelson.

From the Sentinel:
"We knew going into the workout what he can do as a player," Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy said. "This guy's played in the NBA for 10 years, been very successful. You know he's got great skills, can really see the floor and pass. Deep range on his jump shot. With a guy who's been out a year you just want to make sure that physically he's OK."

Williams, along with Magic point guard Anthony Johnson, will back up starter Jameer Nelson.

The 33-year-old former Florida Gators standout, known for his flashy passing, was Miami's starting point guard when the Heat won the NBA title. The Los Angeles Clippers signed him to a contract last year, but Williams retired to tend to family issues.

"With a year off he's gonna have to really put in some work to get back into optimal shape," Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He's not in bad shape, he's a guy who has the type of body that gets in shape quickly. He's got five weeks, closer to six until the start of camp. He'll get to work starting next week."

He will be eligible to play on the anniversary of his retirement -- Sept. 26.

This is a move I thought the Magic should have made last summer. Somehow the Magic decided they didn't need him so he signed with the Clippers, apparently sobered up, and promptly retired. If he has anything left he will be a joy to watch distribute the ball.

New marketing campaign for Magic

Here's a copy of an e-mail I received from the Magic Insider Tuesday night:

The Orlando Magic's players aren’t the only ones gearing up for another NBA Finals run.

The organization's marketing team is also hard at work at delivering another championship caliber product for this upcoming season.

On Sunday, they took their first step at reaching that goal when they officially announced the 2009-10 marketing campaign theme entitled "BE Magic."

Designed to be more than just an advertising theme, "BE Magic" was created to also be a directive for the entire organization, their fans and the community to rally behind championship ideals and apply them to everything they do.

"BE Magic" has a lot of meanings and I think that’s why we chose it," said Orlando Magic Director of Marketing Stephanie Mellenberndt. "We wanted something that fit, not just for the team, but for the fans, the community and the organization."

While the on-the-court message reflects the team’s championship mentality and commitment to maximum effort and unselfish play, off the court, it takes on the definition of the Magic's dedication to meaningful community involvement and responsibility to act as positive role models.

For the fans, the "BE Magic" movement not only means being the home court advantage and cheering enthusiastically during every play, but also displaying their support for the team outside of Amway Arena and aiding the Magic in their commitment to volunteer throughout the local community.

In the end, the organization hopes that being Magic becomes synonymous with being champions.

"It's about being champions," Mellenberndt explained. "That's what our eyes are on; we want to be champions."

Friday, August 14, 2009

NBA Experts weigh in on who's best in the East

From Friday's Orlando Sentinel, writer Josh Robbins looks at how some NBA experts think who will win the East this upcoming season. Here are some excerpts:

The Orlando Magic reached the NBA Finals last year, but the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics will be the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference this upcoming season.

The Cavaliers finished first in the overall rankings, just ahead of the Celtics. Boston, however, received six first-place votes while Cleveland was ranked first on five ballots.

The Magic placed third overall. They were ranked as the conference's second-best team on four ballots.

"When I learned they were going after Vince [Carter], I thought it was to play him next to Hedo Turkoglu (the team MVP in my eyes), not replace him," said Ric Bucher, an NBA reporter and analyst for ESPN. "I was ready to anoint that team the best in the East. It's hard to see them having the same blazing start they had last year with all the changes. Let's put it this way: If this year's team does what last year's team did, it will be a bigger surprise than last year's team doing it, which was only the biggest shock in the league last year."

"Continuity tends to win championships," said Steve Kyler, the editor and publisher of HOOPSWORLD, who ranked the Celtics first in the East. "There is little doubt Orlando improved the talent level of the team, but can the new guys fit in as effectively as last year's team did? Can you capture magic twice?"

"The Cleveland Cavaliers didn't lose anyone of significance off the team that won 66 games last season," said John Schuhmann, a writer for NBA.com who picked the Cavs as the East's best team. "They added Shaquille O'Neal and Anthony Parker, both of whom should help them match up better with Boston and Orlando, and they still have the best player in the world."

"In this world the rich get richer," said Hall of Famer Bill Walton, who is an analyst for ESPN. "The three legitimate contenders in the East all got significantly better, but Boston easily improved the most. The title will come down to who controls the paint. The Celtics — with superior talent, depth and versatility up front — have positioned themselves perfectly for a run at No. 18."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Without Lewis, which Magic starting lineup would work best

In Tuesday's Orlando Sentinel, writer Tania Ganguli analyzes several different starting lineups for the Magic without Rashard Lewis (who will be suspended the first ten games), and why each lineup might or might not work.

The lineups:

1) Dwight Howard, Brandon Bass, Mickael Pietrus, Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson
2) Howard, Bass, Matt Barnes, Carter, Nelson
3) Howard, Ryan Anderson, Pietrus/Barnes, Carter, Nelson
4) Howard, Marcin Gortat, Pietrus/Barnes, Carter, Nelson

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Lewis suspended first ten games for testing positive for steroid

From the Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi:

Orlando Magic All-Star Rashard Lewis will be suspended for the first 10 games of next season because he has tested positive for a testosterone-producing steroid, the Orlando Sentinel has learned.

According to league sources, Lewis was taking nutritional supplements at the end of last season that unknowing to him contained a substance commonly known as DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) -- a chemical compound made naturally in the body but also found in numerous over-the-counter supplements at nutritional stores. The substance is banned by most sports leagues, including the NBA.

Tony Dutt, Lewis' agent, said: "We're just getting word of some things, so at this point I don't want to make a comment on it."

"It's our understanding it was a vitamin supplement."

One source said he believed Lewis's positive test was "an honest mistake."

"There are more than 100 banned substances on the league's list and athletes have to watch everything they take from common cold medications to vitamins to supplements," the source said.

Update: Statement from Lewis:

“First and foremost I take full responsibility for the situation and accept the corresponding penalty.

Toward the end of the season I took an over-the-counter supplement which at the time I did not realize included a substance banned by the NBA.

I apologize to Magic fans, my teammates and this organization for not doing the research that should come with good judgment.

I hope this unintentional mistake will not reflect poorly on our team and its great character.

I hope every athlete can learn from my mistake that supplements, no matter how innocent they seem, should only be taken after consulting an expert in the field.”

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What happens to the rest of the roster?

When does the roster get filled out?

The Magic currently carry 11 contracts. The league minimum is 13 and the max is 15. It is believed most NBA teams will carry only 13 players this season due to financial concerns. More on that later.

Below is some semblance of a depth chart. Since I can't tell if SVG cares about the difference between a SF and PF I lumped the forwards together.

Dwight Howard
Marcin Gortat

Rashard Lewis
Brandon Bass
Matt Barnes
Ryan Anderson

Vince Carter
Mickael Pietrus
JJ Redick

Jameer Nelson
Anthony Johnson

From TrueHoop today:
To save money, many teams (even the wealthy Lakers) have decided to carry short rosters -- just 13 players, instead of the allowed 15. On opening night, there could be 30 or 40 fewer NBA jobs than a year ago. At the same time, dozens of draftees and imported free agents (everyone from David Andersen with the Rockets to new Bull Jannero Pargo) have already filled roster spots.

As of this morning there are 381 signed players. If every team sticks to a roster of 13, just 24 more will get contracts. (As many as 71 could get jobs -- that would put every roster at the maximum 15). Meanwhile Chad Ford lists 40 notable free agents, from David Lee to Morris Almond. The full list is at 70.

Do the math. Forced retirement is a quiet reality of every summer. This year, the musical chairs could be especially harsh.
The Magic too are likely to only carry 13 on the roster. Particularly since they have that trade exception and could possibly create a 2 for 1 trade later in the year. They are also out of the ability to offer anything other than the veterans minimum to players.

Looking at the depth chart, it seems the current needs are, in order:
  1. 3rd point guard. Johnson played well last year, but Van Gundy failed to use him at all in the Finals. That's kind of telling, even if he had Nelson and Alston.
  2. Ideally a F/C tall guy who can serve as emergency 3rd Center or fifth forward
  3. Another forward
Clearly the 3rd PG is a priority. Nelson is coming off an injury and Johnson looks like he qualifies for AARP. They didn't nickname him "Granpa" for nothing!

There is a rumor that Bruce Bowen may be interested in playing for Orlando. Do you take him if he wants to come here? I think so, if only to see him sticking his feet under LeBron or Kobe when he launches a jump shot. It sounds like he is thinking about retiring, or moving to Florida. (Didn't that used to mean the same thing?)

If Bowen comes, that third Center role has to come from Brandon Bass (6'8" but a large frame) or Ryan Anderson who looks kind of thin for the role.

The best backup PG available may be Flip Murray from Atlanta if he will settle for the Vets minimum. CJ Watson is a restricted free agent and wants more than the minimum. Another could be Damon Jones who played for Van Gundy in Miami(?) or Jason Williams who recently unretired.

Magic to open 2009-10 season at home against 76ers

The Orlando Magic will begin defense of their 2009 Eastern Conference Title on Wednesday, October 28th against their first round playoff opponent last season, the Philadelphia 76ers.

Here is the press release from the Magic regarding the upcoming season's schedule:

Orlando opens training camp on September 29 at the team's practice facility, the RDV Sportsplex. The Magic's complete schedule is available through their official website: www.orlandomagic.com. The entire NBA schedule can be found on the league's official website: www.NBA.com.

Orlando has 24 national television games scheduled - the most in franchise history. The Magic will appear five times on ABC, nine times on ESPN and 10 times on TNT. The national TV slate is punctuated by a Christmas Day contest vs. Boston on ABC (2:30 p.m. tip). Orlando has played six times on Christmas Day (4-2 in those outings, including a win last Christmas vs. New Orleans). The Magic will also appear eight times on NBATV.

The Magic's local broadcast schedule will be released at a later date.

After opening at home on October 28 and then playing Oct. 30 in New Jersey, Orlando will play 16 games in November, including Thanksgiving night at Atlanta (8 p.m., TNT; 7 home, 9 away), 13 games in December, including Christmas Day at home against Boston (2:30 p.m., ABC; 8 home, 5 away), 17 games in January (6 home, 11 away), 12 games in February (7 home, 5 away), 14 games in March (8 home, 6 away) and eight games in April (4 home, 4 away).

The Magic have a season-long five-game homestand from December 19-30. Orlando's longest road trips are both four-game, West Coast trips, taking place December 5-11 (four games in seven days) and January 12-18 (four games in seven days).

Orlando closes the season on Wednesday, April 14 at home against Philadelphia.

To view the 2009-10 schedule:

Monday, August 03, 2009

Which Eastern Conference contender has improved the most in the off-season

Now that August is here and most of the major moves and signings have been made, here's a recap of how the top three teams in the East (Orlando, Cleveland, Boston) did:


Major subtractions: Wally Szczerbiak (7.0 ppg); Joe Smith (6.5 ppg); Sasha Pavlovic (4.6 ppg); Ben Wallace (3.0 ppg); Tarence Kinsey (2.0 ppg)

Additions: Shaquille O'Neal (17.8 pg); Anthony Parker (10.7 ppg); Jamario Moon (7.2 ppg)

Comment: Parker will be an upgrade at SG, while Moon is very athletic, but still rather raw. The big question is how much does Shaq have left at age 37, what kind of on-court chemistry will he have with LeBron James, and can Shaq really do much of anything to stop the Magic's Dwight Howard, who is superior to O'Neal in regards to quickness, strength, and athleticism (remember Shaq's embarrassing flopping against Howard last season).


Major subtractions: Leon Powe (7.7 ppg); Mikki Moore (4.8 ppg); Stephon Marbury (3.8 ppg)

Additions: Rasheed Wallace (12.1 ppg)

Comment: With the exception of the Wallace signing, the Celtics didn't do much this off-season, but will get a healthy Kevin Garnett back. Garnett played in only four games after Februry 20th. Wallace had a horrible four games with the Pistons in the playoffs, and I really wonder how much he will help the Celtics at age 35. Still, if Garnett is healthy, the Celtics will be a threat in the East with veterans Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, along with a solid PG in Rajon Rondo.


Major subtractions: Hedo Turkoglu (16.8 ppg); Rafer Alston (12.0 ppg); Courtney Lee (8.4 ppg); Tony Battie (4.8 ppg)

Additions: Vince Carter (20.8 ppg); Matt Barnes (10.2 ppg); Brandon Bass (8.5 ppg); Ryan Anderson (7.4 ppg)

Comment: Despite the loss of the versatile Turkoglu and the up-and-coming Lee, the Magic finally improved their front-court depth significantly, added a 20+ppg SG in Carter, and retained Marcin Gortat as Dwight Howard's backup. Now, the Magic will be better able to match up with teams that have a legitimate PF, and can still utilize an unconventional lineup in the frontcourt like last season depending on matchups.

I might be biased, but I believe the Magic have a great chance of repeating as Eastern Conference Champions.

With Lamar Odom re-signing with the Lakers along with the addition of Ron Artest, the Lakers have to be the early favorites at this point to win it all next season.