instead. Black and Blue's Orlando Magic Blog: June 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

I Called It: Magic Go With Some Euro Guy/Pick The Best Magic Cheerleader: Round 1, Part 6: Jane vs Jeanise

For many Magic fans, if they had to describe their face during the Orlando Magic's draft last night, it would look like this:

Bored, apathetic, and somewhat amazed that Otis Smith actually had managed to trade away nearly all of the Magic's picks in the draft for cash. -I say nearly because the Magic managed to get one guy in the draft, the last overall pick in Milovan Rakovic, whose picture that actually is above. You can see on his face just how incredibly excited he is to be picked and promptly thrown back to Europe. Yesterday I said we would go Europe guy to save money and the Magic didn't dissapoint.

On a side note, how about some of the trades yesterday?

Ray Allen to Boston for the draft rights of Jeff Green, Delonte West, and Wally's World. Everyone seems to agree, even homer Bill Simmons, that this was a totally moronic move for Boston. They now have an old player coming off of double ankle surgeries with an enormous contract. Yipee.

After this trade, it was reported that the Sonics would do everything to keep Rashard Lewis. That is all well and nice and all, but do I really see Rashard returning to a team without a head coach, no clear plan for the future, and a draftee who is already more famous than him despite Rashard's career year last year? Nah.

Then there was JRich to the Bobcats for the draft rights of Brandon Wright. I thought this was a totally moronic move by the Bobcats, who got a decent player in Jrich but surrendered a bunch of the cap room they were going to use this offseason and a really promising young player. MJ still lights a cigar at the end of the day, so he doesn't care.

The next trade, which of course was fated to happen with the Knicks' penchant for overweight, thug-like players (Larry Johnson, Eddie Curry, Maurice Taylor, Kelvin Cato, etc), was repeat sex offender Zach Randolph to the Knicks. They surrendered Steve Francis' contract and Charlie Frye. Everyone went nuts for the Knicks when this trade happened, but the Blazers really got a great player in return with Charlie Frye. Suddenly taking a look at the Blazers roster is truly frightening and I am really happy that the Magic aren't in their division. As for Randolph, his contract is huge so this is a higher risk than Knicks fans realize, especially with Randolph having knocks against his game for being rather mindless at times. I think it helped both teams overall, but I think the Knicks are poised for a letdown after seeing them celebrate like they just won the championship.

Enough of this balderdash, let's vote on some cheerleaders to get us into the weekend in style.
Which Magic cheerleader do you prefer: Jane or Jeanise?

Who do you prefer? Jane or Jeanise?
Jeanise free polls

Toss your comments on the draft fun and the cheerleaders in the comments section.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Update: Magic Sell Pick #54

Update: The Magic sold the 54th pick in the draft to Houston for cash. No word yet on what the cash considerations are. As I wrote earlier today, the Magic were going to most likely view these later picks as poop anyways since they are focused intently on free agency, so it's not a huge loss.

Money can do a lot of things, but specifically it can help buy out a certain someone's FC Barcelona contract should he choose.* Just an idea.

*Note to the reader: That article roughly translates into "Me Vasquez want play for Magic now" in caveman language.

Predicting The Magic's 2007 NBA Draft/ Erin Advances to the Next Round

First of all, congrats to Erin for killing Erica's chances by a margin of almost 4 to 1. I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the 'leaning over on a black box' pose upped Erin's chances of victory maybe 3000 percent. -And that's a modest assessment.

So draft night is upon us! All of the waiting, all of the scouting, all of the tension has led right up to this moment! I can't barely contain mysel-
Oh, who am I kidding?

This draft night stands to be one of the most boring for Magic fans in a long time. Our first round pick was sent to the Pistons in the Darko-Arroyo deal, our top second round pick was sent to the Heat in exchange for the services of Stan Van Gundy, and attempting to maximize the amount of cap space we have this summer will most likely prevent us from jumping into the first round of the draft (barring an unlikely trade for a pick to dump a player and his salary).

The good thing is that we Magic fans can't really complain too much about sitting out this draft:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I now announce the Magic's 2007 Draft Picks!

With the 15th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Magic Select:

Darko Milicic and Carlos Arroyo, PF and PG, Serbia and F.I.U

Our first round pick produced a player with a huge amount of potential in Darko and a guy who performs decently well (when he isn't taking wild off-balance shots while ignoring the other players) in Carlos Arroyo. If we do manage to resign Darko this offseason, we can definitely label this draft an overall success. He would undoubtedly be a top 10 pick this year and maybe even be the 3rd choice overall with the boom-or-bust potential of the players after Oden and Durant. Best of all is that he is around the same age as the seniors coming out so it literally is like drafting a big guy with NBA experience.
Oh, quick look! The Magic are on the clock again!

With the 39th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Magic Select:

Stan Van Gundy, Coach, SUNY Brockport
Our second round pick gave us one of the best coaches on the market this offseason, and one could speculate that it even saved our chances of a new stadium by helping us save face in the wake of the Donovan saga. Management agreed with the fans that having a quality coach that could get the most out of our young squad was infinitely more valuable than adding yet another young face to a young squad. Getting a coach earlier rather than later also helped our chances in free agency, providing a semblence of stability to the franchise.

With the 44th and 54th overall picks in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Magic Select:

Some guy who slipped in the draft and some European dude

As for our other two picks this year, deciding to keep them and not trade into the first round (what I think the Magic will do unless they can somehow unload Turkoglu, Battie or someone else in the draft) gives us flexibility to be one of the power players in the free agent market this year. I think we'll wind up spending one of the picks on a foreign prospect and the other on a guy who slipped down possibly due to workouts. Otis has said that the Magic try to draft based on the player's body of work and not pre-draft hype, which was evidenced by us grabbing Reddick and Augustine last year. Having two players without guarenteed contracts is like music to the ears of a team looking to clear money out, which in my mind makes a trade up unlikely.

Possibly the best part of not doing anything in the draft this year is the fact that our offseason facelift wont end tonight, unlike many other teams. In fact, not doing anything tonight is a signal to the fans and players that our team is stockpiling funds for major action once the bell goes off July 1st and the team can contact free agents.

So what will I be thinking tonight while I watch the draft? Not much, but I will make sure to look at the calendar and realize that the Magic's draft truly begins when the free agency period opens this Sunday.
...Well, I'll be thinking about that AND the fact that Greg Oden looks like he is 57 years old. Yowza.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pick The Best Magic Cheerleader: Round 1, Part 5: Erica vs Erin

With the Magic unable to talk to free agents until this Sunday, July 1st, the news has turned into speculation city. Talks of monster trades with KG, Jermaine O'Neal, Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudamire, Jesus, and Optimus Prime are filling the airwaves. With the Magic waiting patiently for this Sunday (the draft seems to only be an opportunity to trade and open up cap room for the Magic), all we can do is debate what will happen then.

Today an article sprang up that asked the question, "If the Magic can only get either Darko or Rashard Lewis, who would you want?" Just to show how much this organization has improved since the days of Steve Francis and his lover Cuttino Mobley (I still giggle at Francis' "I don't know how I can wake up in the morning now" comment when Cuttino was traded), we are faced with whether we want a promising young big man or a guy who can challenge for the scoring title. Personally, I'd go with Rashard since Darko is still too unproven to be given a hefty sum of money. Also, I would not bat an eye if Marcin Gortat took the backup role that Darko had last year so we could afford Rashard. Still, I think we can get both if Seattle is willing to take Turk and others in a sign and trade (crosses fingers on that one).

Since this is all just useless speculation, and you guys came here for quality, classy journalism, I now defer to the next round of the completely shameless Magic Cheerleading competition!

This week it's a battle of the E names! Who do you prefer? Erica or Erin?

Which "E" do you prefer? Erica or Erin?


Erin free polls

Leave the reasons for your pick (Rashard or Darko, Erica or Erin) in the comments section.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why Am I So Right All The Time?: Rashard Lewis And Milicic The Two Targets

This morning I looked in the mirror, simply to assure myself that I wasn't Otis Smith.

Today the Orlando Sentinel reported that the Magic's offseason plans are exactly what I said they would be: Resign Darko and sign my boy Rashard Lewis. They say that it is apparent that he is the Magic's top target, and yesterday's news about the Magic being HIS top target only solidifies what could be a marriage made in heaven.
Let's take a look at my 6 things I wanted to happen:

1) Get Stan Van Gundy: Check

2) Resign Darko: Pending apparently

3) Sign Rashard Lewis (or Gerald Wallace if Shard isn't available): Pending apparently

4) Get rid of Turkoglu: Could feasibly happen in a trade for Rashard.

5) The Magic should get Marcin Gortat over here: Could happen if we surrender Battie in a deal.

Which leads us to number 6: Get Dwight a big man coach and get Diener more PT. Today in the news is the revelation that Stan Van Gundy is trying to get Patrick Ewing as an assistant to coach Dwight Howard. Hopefully Ewing doesn't have Howard go to any strip clubs with Dan Akroyd like he did. In addition, Brian Schmitz reported on his blog:

Thus, it sounds as if Diener is a goner, which for better or worse will probably give him more PT ...with a different team.

The Magic seem to be on the right track, at least with this guy (points thumbs at himself). Up until the July 1st period it will probably stay pretty quiet since no teams can formally speak with free agents. All we can do is rely on the completely wild and implausible trade rumors.

Slow news days mean more cheerleading competition days, so those of you interested can quietly root for those. In the meantime, I suggest you guys go out and enjoy the fantastic weather.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Weekend Magic Rumblings, Socks Beat The Snot Out Of Snakes

Well, the verdict is in...and you like socks over snakes.

In one of the most lopsided victories in recent history, Deanna destroyed Danielle, proving once and for all that straight hair beats wavy, smiling makes you look prettier, and guys just don't want living reptiles in their fantasies. -Actually this vote doesn't prove any of those things, but rather that Deanna simply had it goin' on.

Now that we have that taken care of, let's take a look at some of the rumblings that happened over the weekend:

First of all, I won $50 in Atlantic City. I will spend much of the day debating whether to spend this or distribute it in an evil parade like the Joker in Tim Burton's Batman.

Next, The New York Daily News reported that, "Several GMs expect Seattle's free-agent-to-be, Rashard Lewis, to leave, with Orlando as his prime destination, with Carter likely re-signing in New Jersey." This is the best news that could come out of the weekend, short of Stan Van Gundy entering the 4th of July hot dog eating contest. As you readers know, Shard is my pick to wind up with the Magic and I think all that is left is clearing out money for him.

In other news, Stephen A. Smith said on Sportscenter that he expects Grant Hill to sign with MIAMI. This should be taken with a grain of salt because this is the same guy that said the Magic would forever regret taking Howard over Okafor and that the Pistons would never beat the Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals. Still, it is fun to read simply because the Heat seem to really want to amp up this brewing rivalry. I really hope that the Heat don't get Grant, but if they do I know that there will be several dates on the calendar that I circle next year (combined with getting a Pat Riley dartboard).

The last two news stories were halfway believable, but in more stunning news from out of nowhere, the "My Giant" star Fran Vasquez is now coming out and saying that he would like to play in the NBA sometime soon. It doesn't look like it would be this year, but the chances suddenly look good that it would be in the next two years, "When this one [contract] finishes, I will like to see if I can play there [Orlando],'' Vazquez wrote in an exchange of e-mails with the Sentinel last week. "Sure, I will like to play in the NBA one day. I am a more mature player, and I have improved in some areas of my game. I know I can still improve a lot, but I am working on that every day.'' If the Magic got Franny I really don't know how I would react. I mean, I want him to suffer for ditching our team and making us miss out on Danny Granger, but on the other hand looking at game film of him he actually looks like he could help us out:

I'll probably just boo him for a quarter and then cheer the rest of the way...unless he sucks, and then I'll just boo him and tp his car.

The last bit of news is just something I read in the Star Ledger when in NJ this past weekend: The Magic and Wizards both are trying to get assistant coach Tom Thibodeau this summer, with the Magic having the slight edge. Tom is considered one of the top assistants in the country and was in consideration for the Kings' head coaching job.

Let's recap: Shard looks like he likes Orlando, the Heat rivalry might get amped up a notch, Fran Vasquez suddenly likes the idea of playing for us, and one of the top assistants might join our squad.

Things are looking up for now in Magic Land.

Friday, June 22, 2007

WHOA! Cherie with a NARROW win! Pick The Best Magic Cheerleader: Round 1, Part 4: SNAKES vs SOCKS!

Holy cow! Cherie beat Christy by the most narrow of margins yesterday. At the time of writing this, the score was 7-6, and you can't get any closer than that. According to the ol' stat tracker, yesterday was a pretty decent day for the site with 350 unique visitors...yet only 13 votes? Hmm. What can one deduce from that?

Perhaps that the candidates yesterday weren't be best looking?

Just throwing that one out there.

Anyhoo, today is a new day and more specifically it is FRIDAY! We enter the weekend with the most biblical of matchups: SNAKES vs. SOCKS!

We have Danielle, who is draped in a huge python, and Deanna, who appears to be holding a...sock? Is that a sock? Maybe it's a toilet brush? White silly putty? Not quite sure we will ever be able to determine what that is, but there is one thing we WILL be able to determine...

Which Magic Cheerleader do you prefer?

Who do you prefer? Danielle (Snakes) or Deanna (Socks)?

Danielle (Snakes!)

Deanna (Socks!) free polls

Otherwise there is not much in the news. Sources say Vince Carter has inched ever closer to signing with the Nets, which really underlines the general lack of interest for him elsewhere in the league. Magic are wise to stay away.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pick The Best Magic Cheerleader: Round 1, Part 3: Cherie vs. Christy

This is turning into every-other-day event, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The only news today was an article by Orlando Sentinel writer Tim Povtak about how the Magic have big plans for Dwight Howard and are offering him an extension first chance they get. They also mentioned how Nelson might not get an extension because he basically pooped on the floor and called it basketball last year. HOLY COW that is all breaking news!

I kid, I kid. I understand articles like those are printed because really nothing is going on and the writers have to write about SOMETHING...I mean, look at me. I'm holding online cheerleader votes because there's nothing going on. -But that is what I like to refer to as 'genius'.

Let us reopen the voting! Today's matchup is between Cherie and Christy.

Which Magic Cheerleader do you prefer?

Who do you prefer? Cherie or Christy?
Christy free polls

Throw your opinions in the comments section as always.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Candace Moves On To Round 2, Rashard Lewis' Agent Keeps His Balls, Dooling Coming Back

First of all, congrats to Candace for clobbering the living hell out of Aziza in the Magic Online Cheerleading Competition and moving on to round two. At one point it was actually 10-0 Candace, which is a rout and a half. She looks like she has a strong chance to take the crown after that showing, but we sill have a lot of cheerleaders left in round 1 before we can label her the favorite.

Next order of business involves Peter Vecsey's nose growing. Yesterday, Vecsey reported that there was a chance that Rashard Lewis' agent did not fill out his paperwork on time/correctly and this would result in Lewis not being able to opt out of his contract and possibly join the Magic this summer. Many websites took this story and ran with it, and before you knew it there was a firestorm around it. The first thing I noticed in Vecsey's report was the consistent use of the word "MAY" and "MIGHT" and "COULD HAVE", which are signals that Vecsey was pulling the story directly out of his behind.

When a writer hinges a story on rumors and outsider info, he is practically playing Jenga with his reputation. the end of yesterday, the Sonics and Lewis' agent Tony Dutt came out and said this to Vecsey's game of Jenga:

This is because the Sonics and Dutt came out and said that Vecsey was full of crap and Rashard had successfully opted out. This means hope at least is still temporarily alive that the Magic can somehow add him to their team this offseason.

Next bit of news: Keyon Dooling will be with the Magic next year! K-Doo, as I like to call him because he cuts through the paint like a jetski, decided not to opt out and test free agent waters after succumbing to Stan Van Gundy's masculine, musky scent. This is spectacular news although it is not really generating much buzz. Dooling stepped up well last season, especially when Jameer Nelson was struggling (which was approximately 93% of the time) and gave our bench a spark which was all but absent last season.

And lastly, underscoring this news are the reports that Brian Hill seems poised to give the finger to Magic management's offer of an office job and rejoin the Nets as an assistant. Not really much of a surprise here, so I didn't even add it to the title of this blog. If there is someone out there that is surprised that Brian Hill didn't gladly accept Orlando's offer for an office job after humiliating him for the second time, please slap them for me (my arms only reach so far).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pick The Best Magic Cheerleader: Round 1, Part 2: Aziza vs.Candace

Nothing new in the news for now, so it's time to play our favorite game involving Magic Cheerleaders! Today's matchup is set.
Between Aziza vs Candace, which Magic Cheerleader do you prefer?

Who do you prefer? Aziza or Candace?
Candace free polls

As always, be sure to leave your reasons in the comments section.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Should We Get Arenas? Kobe? Who Cares...April Moves On To Round 2!

First of all, congrats to April for clobbering Amanda in the first round of the Magic Cheerleader Tournament. Readers voted for her almost 2 to 1 over Amanda. The next round will be coming soon!

Next on the agenda: The Gilbert Arenas hoopla. A lot of writers and sports media personlities are saying that the Magic might be better served to wait out this free agency period and keep their cash for Gilbert next offseason. This comes in the wake of Gilbert unexpectedly (and rather prematurely) announcing that he will opt out of his contract with the Wizards.

Personally, I love Gilbert. He is one of my favorite players to watch, and I read his blog every time it's updated (His blog is linked on my site, for those of you interested). If some of these writers had taken perhaps a minute out of their day, they would have read this article title on the very top of his site:

In the article, Gilbert goes on to explain that his heart is in Washington and he is opting out merely for contractual reasons. If it were any player, there would be the inkling of doubt and a possible alterior motive. -Not with Gilbert, who typically tells it like it is and sounded genuine in his message to Wizards fans. Am I going to hold my breath after reading this? Hellllll no.

Suddenly Kobe "I buy my wife rings to forget that I cheated on her and potentially molested someone" Bryant is a name that is much more available than Gilberts, as a matter of fact. Kobe seems poised to cut ties with the Lakers and said so on his website the other day. I do not think Magic fans should get too worked up for this either, as Kobe has already illustrated is potential new teams:

The Chicago Bulls

The Knicks

The Suns

The bed of someone who isn't his wife.

That last team was said under his breath, but you could clearly read between the lines. Now the top two teams are for obvious reasons. Nike and a lot of the other sports agencies out there pay their players more if they are in major market cities. These cities are L.A, New York, and Chicago. Kobe, by naming these two teams (ESPECIALLY the Knicks), is saying that he could care less where he plays next as long as he doesn't have to take a pay cut for the money he makes off the court. If he DID have to take a pay cut, it would be for the chance to play for the Suns and no one else. With this in mind, Kobe screws someone besides his wife yet again...the Orlando fans.

I could care less as I have never been a Kobe fan and want him as far away from our team as possible. I just think he is like Randy Moss and T.O. in that his attitude gets in the way of his fantastic play.

I say we stay the course and grab someone like Rashard Lewis or Gerald Wallce this free agency period.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Pick The Best Magic Cheerleader: Part 1: Amanda vs April

Well, opened up the newspaper this morning...and by that I mean I turned on my computer...and there was zero, zilch, nada about the Magic. The slow news days of summer have officially begun.

So let's have some fun on a Friday. We'll play a game called "Which Magic Cheerleader Do You Prefer?" I figure on slower news days I can post the photos of 2 Magic cheerleaders and you can pick which amongst the two you like more. The winning cheerleader will go on to face another winner in the next round until, like the NCAA tournament, only one is left. This cheerleader will be crowned as our fan favorite.

Big props to our brother site The Big Picture for inspiring this with their Female Sportscaster tournament.

Without any further ado, let's ask the question: Between Amanda and April, who would you prefer?

Who Do You Prefer? Amanda or April?
April free polls

The comments section is open for you to leave the undoubtedly bizarre reasons behind your selection!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pat Riley Adds To Colossal List Of Times He's Screwed Van Gundy Over, G. Hill Gone?

Pat Riley really wants to hammer the point home.

No matter how many times the people around him think to themselves, "Wow. Pat Riley really is a dick", he still just wants to erase every shadow of a doubt by topping himself. Close friends of his believe that he is aiming to reach a level where his title is officially changed by the NBA from "head coach" to "Asshole you would not want as a neighbor".

This revelation accompanies the news that Pat Riley will not allow any Heat assistants to join Stan Van Gundy's staff. Screw what the assistants want. Screw Stan Van Gundy's close relationship with many of them. Screw everyone involved, as far as Riley's concerned. The only thing that Riley seems to be willing to give the Magic is fuel to add to the already large Heat-Magic rivalry that's brewing. The next step will undoubtedly be Riley getting Tonya Harding and Jeff Gilooly to hire someone to hit Dwight Howard's leg with a pipe.

To recap:

Ron Jeremy filled the void caused when Donovan left.

He has a beaver as his first assistant hire.

And now he has a dick as his biggest rival.

....and the season hasn't even started yet! Suddenly I feel like getting Rashard Lewis is imminent because Ron Jeremy likes people who can score.

In other news, Grant Hill announced that he is going to return, but he has not yet decided for whom. On a radio interview recently he hinted at wanting to play for a Finals-calibur team, and quickly backpeddled when people asked about what that meant. This was a wise move for Grant because if no one on a championship level team wants him, he doesn't want to burn that Orlando bridge.

I know that with the scores of Hill supporters out there I am somewhat lonely on this opinion, but I wouldn't mind seeing him leave. Hill has become something of a reminder to our franchise of how big a blunder they made by signing him with an injury in the first place. On top of that, something I have believed for years is that having an important player who plays sporadically messes with the chemistry of a team, especially a young team of players who are each trying to figure out how they fit in with the offense. I was pretty surprised at how well Hill played last year when he was healthy, but I noticed that in games when he stepped up the other players would take two steps back. I don't need to point out for Magic fans that Hill was abysmal in the playoffs as well, something our team had been resting him for all season basically.

I see Grant bolting for greener pastures ultimately as I think there will be teams willing to pay him more than the beans our team will toss his direction. With a new era beginning with SVG at coach, I think that this could be a good thing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I'm Not Only A Hair Club Member, I'm Also a Magic Assistant

While the Magic wait patiently for July 1st to come to begin the shopping spree that is this year's free agency period, they apparently are getting started on contacting assistants.

"Current Rockets assistant Steve Clifford is close to becoming the first of Jeff
Van Gundy's assistants to move; he seems to be close to joining Stan Van Gundy
in Orlando."
SC used to work as an assistant under Jeff Van Gundy in Houston, where the baldness gene was presumably passed to him, following a stint as an assistant for the Knicks. According to Nyce_1, a news poster on, "Clifford graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a degree in special education. He played four years with the Beavers, earning Best Defensive Player honors in his final two years while serving as team captain."

Ron Jeremy is coaching the team, and who is his first potential hire as an assistant?

A guy who 'played four years with the Beavers.'

God I love America. You can't make stuff like this up.

Alright, I will end the Ron Jeremy jokes there, since I have to make sure to save them up for the regular season. The exciting thing about this potential hire is that it represents a direct link with the brothers Gundy (like the Brothers Grimm, but with suits). I can only assume that when Jeff turned down his younger brother's request to be an assistant, he told him that he would make up for it by helping his older brother out. This most likely was accomplished by Stan sitting on his younger brother's chest and giving him wet willies and noogies until he relented. I say we reap the rewards from Houston before Adelman can even buy his first Texans jersey.

A bigger question lies in whether Van Gundy can get some assistants from the Heat without compensation. Bob McAdoo and Keith Askins are two great people that SVG would love to have, if he can pry them from Pat Riley's gnarled, pentagram-marked hands.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Carter And Nets Talking Contract, Magic Shrug Apathetically

Today Rod Thorn, whom name reminds me of the actor Rip Torn, said that conversations with Vince Carter are going well and they expect him to resign with the club. Who knows at this point whether this is actually true or just talk, but at the very least it makes our chances of getting him slimmer.

Personally, I would be happy if Vince Carter and the Magic avoided each other. Reading the Post article, I saw, "Figure he gets a four-year deal totaling in the $60 million to $65 million neighborhood" and my eyes bugged out. No way would we want to pay that much for Vinsanity, especially with Darko on our minds.

Vince Carter is part of the triumverate of names that have been circling around the Magic since the middle of last season. The other two names are Rashard Lewis and Gerald Wallace, from the Supersonics and Bobcats. Both Lewis and Wallace are younger, have never been criticized for not trying in games or giving up on their teams, and had relatively decent seasons in crucial contract years.

Vince was at times difficult to watch last season, and when I saw the Nets play the Magic twice in NJ he seemed to want to get into a contest with Carlos Arroyo for "Most Off Balance Shot That Doesn't Even Come Close To Going In".

Given that Otis Smith said around the trade deadline that he had no interest in Vince Carter, the writing seemed to be on the wall that the Magic weren't as enamoured with him as he was with the team. 'Conversations going well with Rip Torn, er- Rod Thorn" seems to suggest this further.

Hopefully the Magic make the right decision this offseason and get one of the other guys. Only time will tell.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The 6 Things On My Wish List For This Offseason

Monday began in the way most Mondays do: With people piling dirt on the Magic's grave.

Tim Duncan, apparently sensing that the Magic didn't have a rough enough week last week, took time out from his 80 zillionth NBA Finals appearance to say that he alllllllllllmost went to the Magic when they wanted to get him. He said David Robinson and Gregg Popovich swayed him to resign with the Spurs.

Ah well, no time to cry over spilled milk. We have a young team with a heralded new head coach and a wad of bills to spend this offseason. It's time to laugh at that spilled milk and give it the finger as we look to the future.

One thing that many Magic fans forgot, including myself, is that despite the coaching fiasco this offseason has just begun. We still have the draft, free agency, training camp, and all of that jazz. Everyone has their opinion on how they want this offseason to go, and I am no exception.

I present to you my hopes and wishes for this offseason, which I am hoping the Magic lay out on the table like a royal flush for the opposition next year:

1)The Magic should hire Stan Van Gundy. Check!

2)The Magic should try to resign Darko. The team has already said that this is their priority and I would have to agree with them. Darko might still prove to be a bust, but after making the brilliant move of aquiring him for Kelvin "Grimace from McDonaldland" Cato, the Magic need to see what he is capable of. I am convinced he can be a valuable asset if the team just allows him to open up his game like the would like and I think SVG will accomplish this. He was one of our best guys in the playoffs last year which is a good sign that he will only continue to get better.

3)The Magic should sign Rashard Lewis. If Lewis is not available, sign Gerald Wallace. I know what many of you are thinking: Where's the love for Vince Carter? Well, I am part of that group that thinks that Carter is on the downswing of his career and has about 3 years left in him before he is nothing more than a better than average role player who is getting paid top dollar. We all already know that Carter did poorly in the playoffs last year, but this overshadowed the larger problem in that he went through stretches last season when he just wasn't good. He was making poor shooting decisions, he looked apathetic in games, and had other problems in a year in which he was looking to impress potential suitors.

At this point I think Rashard Lewis is the top scorer on the market and that is exactly what Otis said that he wants to target this offseason. If Rashard is too pricey, we might go with Gerald Wallace, who is better defensively but not as prolific on offense. How we would clear money for these guys leads me to #4...

4)The Magic should trade Hedo Turkoglu. Anyone who knows me knows that I think Hedo is the most frustrating player on the team. Unlike other players, when he has a bad night he doesn't know when to stop shooting. This results in 1-14 nights from the floor. He also had a lot of the aformentioned 'bad nights' last year, blaming a phantom illness that no one seemed to be able to help. Bottom line is that he is a very streaky shooter that cannot be depended on except in spot minutes. So who would want him? I think a contender could use a shooter like Hedo to come off of the bench. When coaches gauge how hot he is on a given night, he can still be useful.

5)The Magic should finally get Marcin Gortat to play in America. Gortat did very well before the season started last year and most people expected him to add to our team's big man depth. These hopes were dashed when Brian Hill said that Marcin needed more time to develop and threw him back to Europe for another year. While I am sure that it helped Marcin, I was not very pleased with Hill's decision and likened it to when we let Dwight Howard's big man coach, Clifford Ray, go. I hope we bring Marcin over for this season as I think he could give our team a big spark off of the bench.

6)The Magic should get Dwight a big man coach, let Darko shoot outside more often, and actually let Diener play a bit. These three I lumped together because I think they were three things that I felt really held back our team under the Brian Hill era. I think if these three things are addressed it will help our team exponentially and give us some real promise out of the youth on our team.

So it would appear I am asking for a lot on my offseason Christmas list this year, but we are already 1/6th there. Hopefully Otis Claus has determined our team has been 'Nice' this past year and he throws these presents down the fans' chimneys.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Thoughts On Stan Van Gundy's Press Conference

I watched the Stan Van Gundy press conference and came away impressed...much more impressed than the Billy Donovan one. Let's take a look at it step by step, shall we?

-Otis atones for his lackluster intro at the Billy Donovan conference by starting out "We interviewed two coaches and we hired both of them!" You can tell that he says this when he picks up girls two at a time at bars.

-Stan is much more articulate than you'd think. He is well spoken and good humored. -A total departure from how awkward he looks in every photo he takes.

-Stan recovers nicely from reporters asking about him being the second choice in Orlando and Pat Riley basically being a dick. After these questions it becomes rather apparent just how incredibly arduous the road leading up to this point has been.

-It's great to hear SVG preach about defense. It's obvious that though he wants an uptempo style, he isn't a puppet of the organization and knows what wins games.

-Hearing that he wants to tailor the offense to the players and get the best players on the floor roughly translates into: I am not Brian Hill. That guy sucked.

-I love that SVG mentions getting rid of Steve Francis as a great Otis move. Pulling no punches! Somewhere Steve just threw his remote at the television and Cuttino Mobley offered to soothe his nerves with a romantic bubble bath.

-Stan going out on a limb saying why his PRO coaching experience is so important. He even has a list ready! This translates into: Billy Donovan, I will kill you and eat your children.

-Stan keeps naming the interviewers by name, showing his memory capacity and friendliness. Sounds like the media will have a new darling. Speaking of darlings, Kinkos is being name dropped every two seconds (the place that the Magic sent his paperwork to). I think we should have them as the next Magic sponsor. At the very least it's a good name for a mascot.

-Sounds like Stan Van Gundy is really close with his wife. As a guy who is engaged, this is nice to hear. Now I get to look forward to growing a moustache and packing on weight! Yes!

-Oh MAN! The question comes as to what Stan was actually doing in his previous position with the Heat and it becomes completely obvious that he was sitting on his butt and just watching basketball as checks rolled in. My mental image of SVG asleep on a recliner in a stained undershirt with pizza crusts all over him lives on!

-Stan gets asked the hard question about whether he would 'take a break' on the Magic like he did with the Heat and he smartly says that he needed a break after 24 years and MIGHT need a break in another 24. Quick on his toes, this one.

-Otis again mentions Jameer Nelson right after Dwight Howard when mentioning the talent on the team. Sounds like he really believes Jameer can break out under the right coach. I hope he is right because Jameer was lost in games a LOT last year.

-Stan ends the press conference with a fantastic answer. They ask if he minds being the plan B and he says that in every job he had he was following someone great so he has always been the plan B. The job he does on the floor is what matters and it is no doubt he has had success in that respect.

Overall a fantastic press conference which was much more coherent, humor-driven, and intelligent than that of the gangster Billy Donovan's. Great things are ahead.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Stan Van Gundy Sworn In As Magic Coach

Stan Van Gundy held his press conference today, greeting fans and media as the new face of the Magic. That face is still completely silly and awkward, but great nontheless:
Sports Illustrated will be offering him a swimsuit calendar soon after seeing that photo. One person not on their 'A' list when it comes to looks? This guy!:
In addition the news came out about how we swooped him Stan away from the Kings at the last second. Smooth Otis hard at work.

More on the SVG press conference soon.

The Fairy Tale That Was The Magic's Coaching Search

...I mentioned in my very first entry on May 25th, Stan Van Gundy was one of two choices I wanted as the Magic coach (the other being Marc Iavaroni). Once Iavaroni agreed to terms with the Grizzlies, I immediately turned my attentions towards Stan. He was just the most qualified man for the job.Then, the unthinkable happened: The Magic hired Billy Donovan as head coach.

Though I still thought SVG was the best candidate, getting Billy opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the Magic. Suddenly a new stadium was considered by many a done deal. Suddenly we had Darko and other players coming out of the woodwork to say they wanted to play for us. Suddenly the grass seemed a bit greener and water tasted fresher. Most argued that college coaches had horrible records and that Billy had no idea what he was stepping into, but the excitement really overshadowed all of that.

Then came 'Black Monday', where it became known that Billy wanted out. This day stained many a pair of Magic Fan underwear. Billy ran back to Gainesville, a little treacharous gremlin going back to his hole.

The only silver lining were the reports that Stan was our second choice. I began to wonder if this was all part of God's master plan to get Stan to the Magic.

The quick answer from God? "Nah. I'm just f**kin' with you Magic fans some more." Immediately came the reports that Stan was deciding between the Kings and the Magic while the Magic hurried to get Donovan the hell out of town.

The 'rock bottom' moment in VH1's Behind The Music of the Orlando Magic came yesterday, when it was widely reported that Van Gundy would be a King soon, and was in Sacramento to meet with the team. Also came reports that Riley, evil incarnate, had imposed a huge compensation request on the Magic for his whipping boy.

Many, including myself, stewed and thought all hope was lost. Who were we left with? Kurt Rambis? Pj Carlesimo? Otis Smith with a mask on?

Then came this morning, the part where everything came together. Snow White woke up, Sleeping Beauty woke up (wow, a lot of fairy tales end with dames waking up!), and Magic fans woke up to see on ESPNews that Prince Stan Van Gundy had slayed the Riley dragon and was on his way to Orlando.

Suddenly everything was as rosey as could be. Through some miracle of fate, the Magic had wound up with my top choice. PJ Carlesimo was still in the playoffs so he was safely away from our team and the unproven Billy Donovan was out, paving the way for Stan.
In Stan we get a coach that gears his offense to his players and is wonderful at developing young talent. Possibly above all, we get a guy who really wants to be here and helped our franchise out by picking us over the Kings. Once dumped by Riley and robbed of a title, the young knight finally gets his chance to shine.

The discarded coach is with the discarded Magic, two entities on the upswings of their careers. Stan is driving on his way to Orlando right now for a press conference at 5pm.

Now THAT'S a fairy tale ending.