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

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Moving Day(s)!

Yes, your old friend Black and Blue is moving on Monday. I am heading to the Central Park West part of New York City from the Upper East Side of NYC. For those of you readers who have no friggin' clue what the hell I'm talking about because you don't know Manhattan (and for those of you Native Americans who are still smarting over losing the island for a handful of trinkets), Central Park West is retardedly gorgeous and a ruffian like myself really has no business being lucky enough to live there. Me living there is the equivalent of that scene in the Beastie Boys' "Fight for your right to party" video when the snobs are having a nice party and they come in by kicking the door down. -but, you know, with more gold chains.

For you see, if New York were a menu, Central Park West would be the lobster with 14k gold claws. If New York were a high school, CPW would be the cheerleader who every guy wanted to get with and did modeling/amateur porn on the side. If New York were rather insignificant injuries, CPW would be the rotator cuff injury requiring season ending surgery and leaving your team with a huge friggin' hole at the Power Forward position. -you know, figuratively.
Long story short, like Ron Burgandy, I...don't know how to put's kind of a big deal.

In fact, friends and family have been trying to figure out what could be wrong with this new place, it's so nice and is in my price range. Most are betting that it is ghosts, but there is a good chance that it's just in the same building as Stephon Marbury or something (aka fucked).

One thing I promise you readers is that although I am moving to a nice area, I will NOT become a collar-popping asshole. If you have been unlucky, like me (I have been SUPER unlucky going to college in Connecticut) you have come into contact with one of these monstrosities. They look down on poorer people. They dress in pastel colored pink, neon orange, and plaid pants. They most likely drone on about their yacht, and have bizarre parted haircuts. They use "Summer" as a verb (such as "I summer on Nantucket") and have at least one biological relative named Muffy.

Yeah, that won't be me. I will be the guy controlling the collar-popping douchebag population though careful hunting and, if it is profitable enough, taxidermy.

Wow, this was a pretty long entry to essentially say there WON'T be an entry for a little while because my internet won't be shut on in the new place. Anyhoo, as soon as I get internet again this week I wil have much to say about the goings on in the NBA and with the Magic. For now, catch ya later.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

2007-08 NBA Pooptacular Preview: Southeast Conference

UPDATE: Ohhhhhhhhhh no. Being the jinx that I am, as soon as I posted that the Magic would win the Southeast it comes out that Tony Battie has a torn rotator cuff!
All I can say is: "Stan and Otis, you mentioned that you wanted to play "small ball" with Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis. It would appear your chance has come."
All we, as Magic fans, can hope for is getting Chris Webber for cheap or trading for someone like Kirilenko (doubtful).


Since tomorrow is going to be a bit nuts for me, and since the NBA is only a month away, I thought it seemed like a good time to kick off the big NBA season preview! Where else would I start, but the Magic's own Southeast division.

Before I start, I should point out that according to Brian Schmitz's Orlando Magic blog, the Sporting News has come out with its NBA preview. As many of you already know, the Sporting News is one of the few publications I put a lot of stock in. Their writers usually are accomplished, and they aren't awful homers like Bill Simmons I was greatly looking forward to seeing how they rated the offseason moves and how the teams would stack up this upcoming season.

Well, let's cut the suspense short: They see the Magic as the second best team in the Southeast conference, after the Wizards. The Heat ranked a close third behind us with the Bobcats and Hawks following up. Even the crap publications seem to have the same thing.

This got me thinking about how our team stacked up in the grand scheme of things in the Southeast (otherwise known as the 'wait...the Hawks and Bobcats are in the division?' division). Here is how I see it goin' down:


1) Orlando Magic

Yes, yes, yes. Call me a homer. Call me blind. Call me anything you would like, but the fact of the matter is that the Magic (with their hiring of Stan Van Gundy and signings of Rashard Lewis, Adonal Foyle, and Marcin Gortat) have improved the makeup of their team more than any other team in the Southeast this offseason. On top of that, they don't have age concerns and their outgoing players were either chronically injured (Hill) or backups (Darko) last season. Not too shabby. Last year only 4 games seperated the top team in the division from the 3rd best team, so such improvement to the roster and coaching of the team is significant. Toss in the fact that the offensive system is changing to suit the younger players better, Grant Hill being gone allows the team can achieve continuity and familiarity on offense (without having to worry if he is healthy), and the lofty expectations and you have a team that will narrowly edge out the competition this season. Now I will retire to my castle before you storm it with pitchforks.

2)Washington Wizards

They say to predict the future you look to the past. Well, if that's any indication then the Wizards will be sitting atop the division. This team was surging last year behind Gilbert Arenas and only came back to earth when he got injured. The problem is that the team sat on their hands this offseason while other teams in their divisions made a splash in the market. Gilbert and company will still be a force to be reckoned with, but with Arenas getting his body back in shape following a season-ending injury, the big man situation looking increasingly iffy, and a franchise biting its fingernails to hope Agent Zero returns next season this is by no means an invincible team. Don't get me wrong, they will be really good, make the playoffs, and contend early...but I see them waning as their season progresses and other improved teams like Boston, Orlando, and Charlotte start to gel. This one will come down to the wire between the Wiz and Magic.

3)Miami Heat*

This prediction could still change drastically because the Heat are scrambling to make a move before training camp opens. I threw a Barry Bonds asterisk on it because depending on who they get they could jump up the standings. For now, they are what they are, in Popeye terms: A team build around Dwayne Wade, with a nursing home of players around him. I maintain that this is one of the more fun teams to watch simply because of Antoine "Black Brando" Walker. Antoine's inability to dribble, shoot, and (at times) clutch the ball into his hands without throwing it wildly out of bounds is one of my favorite things about the NBA. He is like the Charlie Brown of the league, and it is only a matter of time before D.Wade and Shaq hold him down and beat him with soap like that guy in Full Metal Jacket.

4)Charlotte Bobcats

This franchise could win multiple championships, reinvent the NBA, become "America's team" and I will STILL laugh about how silly their logo and colors are. -And I'm a Marlins fan! This team improved significantly with the acquisition of Jason Richardson and seem to be pointed in the right direction under Michael Jordan (I know, I can't believe I typed that either). They still have a ways to go since they finished 16 games under .500 last year, but no doubt they will be poised to play giant-killer to lot of teams expecting last years' Bobcats. Sam Vincent could sleep through all of the games and they still would probably improve their record by 7 games. I salute Vincent for being this year's "guy who is going to be at the right place at the right time" with Doc Rivers following closely behind.

5)Atlanta Hawks

Josh Smith and Joe Johnson might as well be on a deserted island. -At least on a deserted island they could get some help from coconuts. This franchise absolutely loves drafting Power Forwards, and although getting Al Horford in this past year's draft was a smart move, it showed the world that Atlanta regrets getting Sheldon Williams the year before. Acie Law is still probably going to need time to get up to speed, so this team is almost certainly going to be relegated to the lottery again. On the bright side, they got shiny new uniforms which (despite what people say) are more often than not good for team morale. The logo, on the other hand, is crummy and they should just change it to the secondary logo that looks like a cardinal.

That's it for now. More NBA preview fun in the weeks to come. Tomorrow is going to be something of an extended weekend for me, so no new posts until Monday. I'll update if anything major happens (KEEP THAT BROKEN HAND HEALTHY, REDICK!).

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

JJ Redick's Brother Gives Me A New Slogan Idea

Last summer was pretty tough on JJ Redick as he had a bunch of back problems right as he was making the difficult transition to the NBA.

Now, just when JJ Redick thought he might have a summer that wasn't full of drama, September rolled around.

In addition to having to heal up his broken hand, JJ Redick's former girlfriend is now pressing charges against his brother, David Redick. Vanessa Lopez, a woman who I guess dated Redick during his wild, swinging days at Duke, said that David Redick called her repeatedly and said, "You will be sought after, and you should be scared."

I am not one to advocate this sort of behavior. I had a girl stalk me at one point, and let me tell you it was exactly the opposite of awesome. David Redick sounds like he is something of a loser if this is true, which is no surprise since the younger brother who has to eternally live in his brother's shadow usually winds up messed up (I think about 90% of prisons are just chock full of these guys).

That said, I have to say that David Redick's comments completely blow the Orlando Magic's slogan for the upcoming season out of the water.

While "The Time Is Now: Be Bold, Be Blue" has a certain level of swagger and charm to it, you really won't see many people reacting to it. The closest they will come is probably a cracked-out Eddie Griffin Ricky Davis saying, "Yo, so this year the Magic think their time is now, or some crap. Whatever." Also, the whole "Be bold" thing is used by nearly every advertising campaign, including pots containing bananas and human excrement apparently (left).

I think that the Magic should adopt David Redick's slogan. In fact, I am making that the official slogan of the 2007-08 Magic henceforth on this website:

"The 2007-08 Orlando Magic: You will be sought after, and you should be scared."

BAM! How much punch does that pack? Ricky Davis just dropped his blunt and shat himself. I think if we had more of ballsy, intimidating slogan like that people would start to actually acknowledge this forgotten franchise. Even if we stunk, the sportswriters would have a field day with it and the team would get publicity.

I know it would never happen, but I can still dream.

-More than that, I can use the slogan on this website...where dreams become a reality. (cue tinkerbell flying over your computer and flashing you).

Anyone can feel free to use the above image as a signature pic on their message board profile...actually you guys can use pretty much anything on my blog for your own personal use, because I really am too lazy to care about such things.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

NBA Season Coming Soon...Time For NBA.Com To Actually Write Stuff

The NBA season is a little over a month away, and now that the hype surrounding the beginning of the NFL season has died a bit, writers are starting to slowly and quietly turn their attention to basketball.

To hop off topic for a second, I have to briefly talk about the fact that the NFL has COMPLETELY taken the "America's pasttime" title from baseball. These days it is actually a bit hard to find a person who lists baseball as their favorite sport, and if you do find someone they will inevitably be a Yankees or Red Sox fan (or another one of the 5 teams who actually have the money to compete), and thus they are insufferable. As a Marlins fan, I have enjoyed watching my team win two world series in my lifetime, but also maintain my dignity and overly manly demeanor. I can chop trees down with my mind and once tied Chuck Norris in ping pong.

Anyhoo, getting back on topic...NBA hype is one of the best parts of the fall. As soon as you start seeing orange jack-o-lanterns, you can count on seeing similarly-shaped orange basketballs. Once you see the leaves changing, you know you will soon hear Bill Walton's bizarre goofy voice yelling "Throw it DOWN, big man!" and hawking NBA league pass with the horrifically bad actor Richard Jefferson (Stephon Marbury might be the best actor in the NBA simply because he is legally insane. Sorry to break it to you, Ray Allen).

One such example of the public mindset slowwwwwly starting to look at the NBA is that has published previews of all of their NBA teams, including their look at the Orlando Magic. The article says a lot of stuff we already know, but have some input into the team's most interesting camp battle:

The team will also look for big things this year from Trevor Ariza and J.J.
Redick, who will rotate at the shooting guard position...

Trevor Ariza and J.J. Redick should see a boost in minutes this year and
will likely rotate as the starter at shooting guard. Ariza and Redick will be
fighting for about 40 minutes between the two of them at the position, with the
starter seeing about 20-25 minutes and the backup getting about 15-20 as well.
Ariza can play some forward due to his size, so he should find some extra
minutes there when the team wants to go small and run.

The article goes on to state that they see Ariza as the starting shooting guard over Redick, and Battie ultimately starting at PF over Hedo Turkoglu. As I've written in the past, these are my picks at the position so good to see things leaning in that direction. also had interviews with all of the Magic players, including Torrell Martin, Kevin Kruger, and Bo Outlaw, about their offseasons. Since it was, they were largely the typical fluff questions like "Did you go on vacation?" and "Do you like your new coach?", but some people had interesting things to say:

Q: What did you do for your off-season workouts?
Trevor Ariza: "Shooting, shooting, and more shooting."

Q: How is the hand?
JJ Redick: "The hand is good. I am still doing rehab and getting it ready
for camp, but I'm resting it now so I will be ready come training camp."

Q: What did you do for your off-season workouts?
Tony Battie: "I did a lot. I changed my diet and slimmed down a little bit.
I lost some weight and did a lot of conditioning. I did abdominal workouts and
some core training. I worked hard this summer because I want to prolong my
career. Keeping my knees and legs strong is going to play a big role in

So come this season, we should expect a healthy Redick, a more lean Battie, and Ariza to have a better jump shot to complement his athleticism. Not bad.

I'll be sure to post more news as it comes in, and hopefully we get some more team previews. With every preview and interview there is something learned, and for now there aren't any red flags going up.

I leave you with this: Is this really the best photo could get of James Augustine? My guess is yes.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The World Wants To Know!...Should We Give Jameer The Extension?

Well, Jameer Nelson is doing what most free agents do: Indicating his interest to stay with his current team.

Jameer said yesterday that he wants to stay with the Magic, and that he is happy with his role here. This would have been all well and good if the inevitable free agent speak didn't pop out afterwards, with him proclaiming that "business is business". I have yet to hear a classier way of saying "Show me the moneyyyyy!" The bottom line is that Nelson wants to be paid like a starting point guard who is also the leader for his team. -The problem is that last year Nelson wasn't exactly stellar in either of those roles, finishing the year with lackluster stats and presiding over a team implosion.

Some players use adversity to their advantage, and Nelson has indicated that the much-publicized death of his father will allow him to have a career year. While this is a neat prospect, one thing that keeps drumming in the back of my mind is the fact that many scouts saw Nelson in college as a player who didn't have much potential for growth and would be a career backup. Right now those scouts are lighting up cigars with how right their assessments seemed to be (Note: I have no idea if scouts live a very plush life, following kid basketball players around, so cigars might be a stretch. Maybe they smoke something more spartan like rolled up newspaper...)

The problem with Nelson's contract negotiations lie in the fact that the Magic still can't properly evaluate his value to the team. There is going to be a new offensive system in place, as well as a second scorer to (hopefully) take the scoring burden off of Nelson's shoulders. In addition, Nelson was up and down all season long and the team has to decide if he is the leader who can be counted on to take the final shot or just a backup who happens to start on a team.

Personally, after last season I am pretty skeptical. I was not a huge fan out of what I saw with Nelson, especially when I watched him play live. He has a penchant for driving to the basket without an idea of what his options are around him. This causes him to drive into the lane and run right back out again, passing wildly for someone to bail him out. It got so bad last year, that my friends and I named the move I described above "The Nelson". Many Magic-Nets games were punctuated with gaggles of cheers, "He's doing The Nelson! He's doing it! Wow, look at Dwight Howard roll his eyes!"

For this reason I hope Otis Smith sticks to his guns and actually sees how Jameer does this upcoming season before giving him an extension and indicating to the team that he will be a vital cog in our future plans. There are just too many question marks to jump the gun in my opinion.
Also, if Nelson winds up snubbing a future offer from us it won't be such huge news. -Not like he went back to coach Florida or anything...

Friday, September 21, 2007


Many of you know him by a common nickname: AK-47.

I know him by a slightly different name: The Scarecrow.

Yes, ladies and gents, with the NBA season only about a month away there are are still rumors of big name players moving. This time, the subject of these rumors is Andrei Kirilenko. Apparently, Kirilenko has been running off at the mouth about how much he wants out of Utah, saying he will take a pay cut and play for a horrible team if need be. This lit up basically every fan in the NBA with the hopes that their team could add him to their roster.

Magic fans were no exception. Faster than you could say, "Hey, let's trade for Shawn Marion!" trades were being batted around that could land Andrei in Orlando. While many people looking on will say "this is way Utah trades AK-47 for nothing", the Magic actually could be contenders for his services should Otis Smith deem it so. The Magic have a lot of expiring deals to dangle, more than most teams can match, and they also have one thing that Utah covets: JJ Redick.

It is no secret that Utah would have taken Redick in the draft had Orlando not gotten there first. Sloan is a sucker for white guys, gobbling up players like Stockton and Hornacek like they were candy (white m&ms perhaps). Also, the Magic could conceivably throw Turkoglu into a deal or, should Utah want a big man, Tony Battie. On TOP of this, Utah needs some cash to toss around to resign Deron there actually would be someone who wants Pat Garrity's expiring deal.

I thought I would never write that last sentence, but there it is.

In return, the Magic would get a player who could really compliment Dwight well and give the team a well rounded presence at PF. Replacing Darko with Kirilenko would be like replacing a dirty diaper with a new one, but with more hair gel. Some say the Magic are one piece away from being a top team in the East, and this would have to be that opportunity.

That being said, there are MANY knocks against Kirilenko. He is injured a lot. He is rail thin so he gets knocked around by more physical players. He is coming off of a year that can only be described as 'a disaster and a half'. He seems to be a bit emotionally unstable, having cried in one interview last year and now by badmouthing his team. There are a lot of things to consider, but ultimately he would be a major upgrade at our PF position over anyone who has been there alongside Dwight.

Going back to that whole 'nickname' thing I mentioned at the beginning of the article, I truly enjoy calling Andrei "The Scarecrow". When I first saw him play, I blurted out "Who is THAT?!" to a party of onlookers watching the game. My friends told me that the guy's name was Kirilenko, and that he was some super skinny shooter from Russia. Seeing as how my favorite character from Batman has always been The Scarecrow, I was amazed to find this perfect casting choice in front of me. "He's thin. His chin is pointy. He is pretty damn creepy looking...Goodness gracious this guy is perfect for the role of Scarecrow from Batman!" To this day, whenever anyone mentions the movie Batman Begins, I shake my head that they went with the casting choice of Cillian Murphy over Kirilenko. What a shame.

Whether the Magic get The Scarecrow or choose to stick with their current team, I like their chances this year. Hopefully Otis inquires about his availability because it could really benefit the team.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fantasy Basketball Time!/Sportswriters Like Magic?

Fantasy basketball is here! Yahoo officially opened up the floodgates to yet another season of tears, cheers, and jeers.

While I usually choke in the playoffs in fantasy football (damn injuries), and really couldn't give a crap about fantasy baseball (I love the you can understand my disinterest), I usually either win or come in second in all of my fantasy basketball leagues. I'd like to brag that it is superior intelligence or some other load of crap that helps me win, but it really just comes down to one thing in the regular season: paying attention to injuries. With so many games over a season, players are constantly in and out of the lineup. If you actally take the 2 seconds to check the status of your players, you'll probably wind up in the playoffs. It sounds boneheaded, but it's just that simple. Once you get into the playoffs, it's all about having players on your team that play a LOT of games in that given week.

There, my secret is out of the bag. I have easily just ushered in a decade of losing seasons now that those people in my leagues have read that.

Ah well, win or lose it is just great. My friends and I have already created a fantasy basketball league for this upcoming season. As many of you know, picking a good team name is always the hardest and most fun part. I decided to stay topical and name it "Adonal Foyle's Poetry", with my smack talk being one of his poems:
"I miss the cocks that shout out loud. Arise, arise you wretched sloth."
I sense good things for this team.

In other news, it looks like the sports analysts are actually starting to like the Magic now that the NBA season nears. "Ball Junkie" on the Orlando Magic Message Boards presented us with the news that David Thorpe on ESPN likes our chances:

MagicDonJuan ( Mia,FL): Long time Orlando fan living in Miami...How strong
do you think Orlando will be, and do you think we have have done enough to give
us a chance at taking the Southeast division and finishing in the top 4....

David Thorpe: Pretty strong, mostly due to SVG. Yes, and yes. But it won't
be easy. The east is deep and lots of parity. Health will be a major factor.

And Ball Junkie also points out that John Hollinger, the guy who has been bashing the Magic all summer long after they acquired Rashard Lewis, had good things to say for once on Chad Ford's Daily Dish. Chad asked which team had improved the most after all of the summer moves and Hollinger actually said the Orlando Magic. He went on to say Orlando was young, had a lot of players coming into their prime, and that Adonal Foyle is really gonna help the team win. More than anything, Hollinger seems to really like Stan Van Gundy and thinks his defensive-minded approach will help the team succeed.

This turnaround doesn't really surprise me. Although a lot of teams did get better in the Eastern Conference, it is STILL the EAST and any team can really win it. The Cavs won it last year and every sportswriter had written them off as a team that was too one-dimensional to go anywhere. The Magic fortified their team in a few positions and got a really great coach, so ignoring that wouldn't be logical. On top of this, it would appear that the initial hatred over Rashard Lewis' hefty contract has subsided and people are actually starting to objectively scrutize the roster. While the team's lineup isn't perfect, it certainly is full of players that are capable of becoming something special if coached correctly.

Hopefully the good vibes continue. Orlando doesn't get as much press as other teams, so I fully expect the NBA season previews to be pretty harsh on them due to a lack of homework. As long as the team's players and organization have their chins up and stay optimistic, it should be clear sailing to the playoffs.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Magic Promotions Announced

The Magic released their list of giveaways and theme nights for next season. Topping the list of neat giveaways is a figure of Dwight Howard doing the sticker dunk from last season's All Star game and a Trevor Ariza autograph night. Rounding out the bottom of the list is a "Stuff Soap Dispenser". I love our demented-looking mascot as much as anyone, but this is just a horrible idea. Adults are the only people really to get excited by the prospect of a soap dispenser, and most of them would not want a Stuff one in their home. As for kids, they like Stuff the Magic Dragon, but it is not such a fun thing to play with a soap dispenser. Couple in the fact that this "toy" will cause little kids to chug soap and you have a bona fide failure (or success, if the Orlando Magic organization's objective is to murder children).

If I had to pick one night to attend, it would have to be the game on March 15th. This, dear readers, is "Gospel Night/Bahamas Night". I have NO idea how in the world they are going to marry these two things into one night, but it most definitely will be worth checking out. Maybe a rastafarian Jesus mascot? Perhaps a gospel choir dressed only in bathing suits? -Or maybe they go the safe route and will let you in for free if you have a crucifix and can sing the 4 opening lines of Bob Marley's "Get up, stand up" (I know Bob Marley is Jamaican, but this is nothing but a technicality to Magic brass). Either way, whomever approved the schedule with that on it had something in mind and it's killing me to find out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Three Choices For The Final Magic Roster Spot

Bo Outlaw will not die. He is like a cockroach after a nuclear holocaust, fighting for every last breath to keep his species alive.

Okay, that metaphor was sort of a long shot, but you get the hint.

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting today that the Magic have finalized their three to bring to camp to fight for the last roster spot: Torrell Martin from Winthrop (we already knew about him from hearing his name yesterday...I guess he ISN'T signed after all), Kevin Kruger from UNLV, and Bo "The Cockroach" Outlaw.

This crew isn't exactly buzz-worthy, considering the fact that many fans were holding out hope that the Magic would get someone to sign another veteran deal at the 11th hour. For those of us who are sane, it is a miracle we found one servicable person to sign for peanuts (Adonal Foyle), so asking for more is asking a little too much.
As for this crew, obviously one would have to think that Bo Outlaw has the edge going in. He has proven himself to be a player who hustles constantly and can provide a spark off of the bench. On top of that, he is a crowd favorite and was on the team last year...always bonuses. The fact that the Magic need veteran leadership if they hope to go deep in the playoffs spells an even greater case for Outlaw.
Kevin Kruger (right) is a Travis Diener-esque player, short and looking like he is 12. With Dooling, Arroyo, and Nelson shoring up the PG spot, I don't know if my heart can take another Diener player sitting on the's just too sad. With the way the Magic treated Travis Diener, I'd say most would be surprised if Kruger is given a serious look. You never know though...maybe it was just Brian Hill who hated Diener and Otis will overcompensate for that loss with Kruger.
I can't read that last sentence with a straight face. Long story short: Kruger needs the camp of his life to make the team.

As much as I like Bo Outlaw, if you want my pick for that last roster spot I wouldn't mind Torrell Martin stepping in there. Martin would give us another (longshot) option at SG, and did decently well in the summer league. Furthermore, if you read any interviews out there with him, he sounds like a guy who REEEEEALLY wants to succeed. Couple that with a mean streak (he said that if you had to compare him to any current NBA player, everyone says Lattrell Spreewell...uh oh), and you have a guy who could really carve himself a niche in the league. It would be nice to see a guy come out of the woodwork and surprise us, and Martin could be just that guy.

Overall, I guess we will just have to wait and see. While there will be many fans clamouring for their pick for that last roster spot, our options are not bad. Hopefully the team will make the right choice.

Monday, September 17, 2007

More Threats To Venues By Evil Empire/Foyle Is A Poet!/New Shooting Coach

The quest for the Orlando venues is looking more and more annoying. In addition to Darth Rosen's campaign to get voters to overturn the council vote, a Supreme Court ruling might potentially force the Performing Arts Center to go to a vote. This is all highlighted in an enlightening and well written article by Orlando Sentinel writers. This whole situation sucks and really is not worth discussing in length on a Monday...Mondays suck enough as it is. If there are any updates I will be sure to write about them, but its best to sweep this one under the rug until we've all had our coffee.

On to happier news, Adonal Foyle has a website! In it Adonal writes about how excited he is to play for the Magic, and talks in depth about how the Magic were one of the first teams to call him when he got news that he would be available. The fact that the site is called "Foyle's Corner" and has a bunch of different non-NBA related sections is amazing. Check out the latest entry in "Poetry Corner":

"I miss the cocks that shout out loud
Arise, arise you wretched sloth.
The day has dawned and passeth by
Dragging night's drape across the cloud.
I miss the beach, the sand that's pure.
The water that makes the land secure.
Its reef, a quilt with blinding hews,
Adorns the painted mystic view.
I miss the pain I ever hate
Whips and ropes, my haunting fate.
One does not only love the good,
But grows in disdain, misunderstood.
I miss the face of those trusted few.
Whose love was but a weakness too.
Home, illusion of bucolic paradise,
The rosy dew, and stinging lies."

JJ Redick, previous Orlando Magic Poetry Poster Child, just shat his pants.

The prospect of a running blog by Ole Easter Island Head is a great one, as Gilbert Arenas' blog is a source of constant entertainment and having something similar, but Magic themed, would appeal to fans. Waiiiiiiiit a second......(just realized that I just described my OWN website).

And in more sane news, Orlando appears to have a new shooting coach. It would appear that literally every person on the planet has a website, because I actually confirmed it by finding the Official Site of Coach Charles Richardson. Don't be fooled, this site is actually not much more than an online resume, but still nice to check out his credentials. Only when Charles Richardson adds a poetry corner will his site TRULY score big.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Magic Marion? Get Real/Harris Deal Could Impact Nelson Negotiations

Update: JJ Redick just announced he broke his hand, but should be ready for training camp. My blog entry yesterday about being thankful the Magic were healthy was just too perfectly timed. A week from now I predict doctors will determine that Redick's entire body is in fact composed of breakable glass and bits of puppy chow.
Update: The Magic have just signed a SG named Torrell Martin from Winthrop College. Camp fodder? SG insurance? I guess training camp will tell his tale. For now we just gotta wait and wonder how the millions upon millions of Wintrop basketball fans will carry on without him.
Wow, when will this NBA offseason end? The end of October can't come quickly enough, especially since the Magic seem to be set with their roster and as a result there is no news.

Yes, I said that the Magic roster appears for the most part set, mostly for those Magic fans who have been discussing possible trades for Shawn Marion. This stems from the rumors that the Suns need contract relief to avoid the luxury tax, they appear frustrated with Marion's ego, and have been talking to the Jazz about a swap with him for Kirilenko. Magic fans, ever the eager party to discuss any deal involving Pat Garrity's contract, have hopped on to this news and are speculating about whether the Magic can somehow package their expiring deals and Hedo Turkoglu. For these fans, I have a few words of caution:

Watch out for the rainbow waterfalls and don't let the pixie dust that's in the air get in your eyes while you are running wildly through your fantasy land.

Shawn Marion on the Magic would instantly give the team an enormous boost and propel them to one of the top teams in the East. The problem is that we don't have enough to give Phoenix in return and the Suns would be hard-pressed to make any substantial changes to a team that came so close to winning it all last year. For those of you still clinging to this hope, realize that the luxury tax isn't as big a deal as most make it out to be (the Knicks have been over it since the year 1930), and Steve Kerr...the man who has gone out of his way to criticize the talent on the Magic roster for years and years (and looks sorta like he could be Jon Gruden's brother) the GM of the Suns. These components spell the fate of this rumor: D-O-O-M-E-D.

Something else being discussed that has way more validity is the status of Jameer Nelson's contract extension, or lack therof. As poster "reddog4720" astutely pointed out on the RealGM message board, Devin Harris signed an extension with the Mavericks that was 5years for 44Mil. Since Jameer is seemingly a better offensive player and leader than Harris(although DEFINITEY not a better defensive player), he would require a bump up from this to appease his contract wishes. That most likely won't be in the Magic's plans right now, so it would appear the Magic will take the gamble (that they lost with Darko) that Nelson will play this season and still be within their price range next summer.

I am all for waiting on paying Nelson. While I wanted our team to sew up Darko long term last summer, with Nelson I am much more nonchalant. In Darko's case, you could always say, "How many young, experienced big men are there in the league with his type of potential?" The answer would inevitably be, "Not many". In Jameer's case, if you ask "How many short, dribble-happy point guards with bad defensive skills, who have leadership qualities, are there in the league?" I would say there are tons. The bottom line is that Jameer Nelson's play last season didn't offer anything near assurance that he would get an extension. Heck, some could argue he didn't even earn his salary last season.

It sounds as if the Magic and Nelson's agent were a ways apart from reaching an agreement on an extension. Devin Harris' contract just pushed them further apart. Every year there is one contract that is pretty stupid and pushes the remaining unsigned players to get all testy. In past offseasons it was Nene's deal, and this year for point guards it might be the Harris deal. Either way, we are better off waiting to see how Nelson does.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oden Done For Season With Knee Injury/Magic...Stay Healthy

There is no Magic news today, but that wouldn't matter anyways as the top story in the NBA is a doozy: Top draft pick Greg Oden is expected to be lost for the season after exploratory knee surgery. Just when you thought the Blazers had really turned it around this happens. While sportswriters and commentators around the country will be bemoaning this as if Oden died, it truly IS a blow to a franchise that had high hopes for this season. During the NBA draft, I watched as the Blazers picked Oden and had visions of Tim Duncan going to the Spurs as that one key missing piece. For those of you who don't think that the Blazers were one step away from something special, take a look at this roster:

C-Oden, Przybilla
PF-Aldridge, Channing Frye
SF-Martell Webster, Travis Outlaw
SG-Brandon Roy, James Jones
PG-Steve Blake, Sergio Rodriguez

The reason I listed both the starters and backups is that this is a deceptively deep team. Przybilla, Frye, and Outlaw could be starters on many teams in the league, and the combo of young talent in Oden, Aldridge, and Roy could mature into a dynasty.

I'm not saying that this won't take place in time, but Oden's injury takes him largely out of development and meshing with his team for a season. With the grind of the NBA, especially on big men, a good career might last 12 seasons. That may sound like a lot of years, but considering the fact that those seasons constitute someone's entire career, losing 1/12th of them in a flash is agony. In the grander scheme of things, knee injuries are the equivalent of a warning label in the NBA and the Blazers now have to hope and pray this problem doesn't come back. For those who watched Chris Webber's apocalyptic fall from superstar to 'almost useless', you know what toll a bad injury can take over the long term.

With Grant Hill off of the Magic's roster, I find myself happy that I am unable to draw a comparison between the injury woes of the Blazers and the current Magic squad. For now, all of Orlando's players are healthy going into the year (not including Jameer Nelson's mental health after the sudden loss of his father). JJ Redick's back seems to be okay, Hedo's phantom flu thing doesn't appear to be around anymore, and Mario Kasun's presence won't cause fans to injure themselves (most notably by clawing their eyes out when he gets his 4th foul in 2 minutes). If you are reading this, I suggest you take the time out of your busy day to knock on some wood in the hopes that Dwight Howard stays healthy. If he is out for any extended period of time, the Magic are doomed with a capital D. No pressure, Dwight!

For now, let's just hope our guys stay healthy, and take some solace in the fact that playing Portland next season is no longer a (big) worry. Stan Van Gundy should now take this time to enclose his players in a soft, padded room with a sign outside saying, "Do Not Open Until 2007-8 Season". You can never be too safe.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How Will Ewing Do As Magic Big Man Coach?

No real news to mention to mention today so I scanned the message boards for interesting discussion threads. There were the usual ones about who will be our starting shooting guard and who our overall starters should be, but one message board discussion stuck out at me on the Orlando Magic boards: How do you think Patrick Ewing will do as our big man coach?

This topic is actually more interesting than it sounds. While Ewing had a spectacular career as a pro for the Knicks, not much is really known about how good of a coach he is. Patrick Ewing was not asked back by the Rockets to work with Yao Ming, and much of the underlying sentiment was that he didn't help out Yao enough. For these people, I must defer to an article that is PROOF that Ewing is a good coach...the 2005 Sports Illustrated article "Dinner At Yaos". The article is Yao and Ewing sitting down to dinner, with Dikembe Mutombo there for the ride. This had to be one of the weirdest get-togethers in history. My favorite excerpt:
EWING: Hey, I may be 6'9", but I'm a bad 6'9". And what about you? When I first
met you, you told me you were from Zaire.
MUTOMBO: No, Congo. [Zaire was
renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997.]
EWING: How many languages
do you speak, seven?
MUTOMBO: I speak Ebonics now, so eight. Yao, do you
speak Ebonics? [Yao shrugs.]
Mutombo's cellphone rings. The ring tone is 50
Cent's In Da Club. He answers and starts speaking one of his eight languages --
not English.
EWING: Man, every time I go over to Dikembe's, he's on the
phone. [Ewing picks up his cellphone and starts mocking Mutombo.] 'Doobleedoo
doobloodoo doobleedoo. ...' I'm like, 'What the hell is he saying?'
The food
comes, and the three dig in.

There you have it. Priceless work with his big men right there.

OBVIOUSLY Ewing won't be a role model to Dwight off the court (at least I hope not). The Magic have "braced themselves for a headache" when they got Ewing because of his involvement in a strip club case. For those of you who have been waiting for the day to read about a sordid Patrick Ewing sexual encounter, there ya go. I also remember Ewing getting in trouble with Dan Aykroyd, of all people, at a strip club before so it sounds like he knows where his second home is.

On a side note, Dan Aykroyd lives on my block in New York. Not really sure why I felt the need to mention that, but he does.

Back to the reality of Ewing coaching Howard and the Magic, I think that he has the capability of actually doing a good job. Ewing's son has played pretty well in college ball, and he had a pretty well rounded game when he was in the league. He won't have the bizarre language barrier problems he had with Yao, and provides personal experience to a young squad who actually considers Adonal Foyle the veteran face of the team. The one thing I hope he doesn't bring with him is his penchant for hitting that spot between the backboard and the rim at crucial junctures of the playoffs. I remember watching games with my father, a Knicks fan, and seeing his head drop when Ewing would inevitably miss a make-or-break 2 footer with the game on the line. If Dwight does this even once, count on me to be the first to call for Ewing's head.

The bottom line? After tossing Clifford Ray out during the Brian Hill Apocalyptic saga, there aren't many spectacular names out there. Ray turned Howard into a star and completely revamped what was looking like a doomed career by Al Jefferson so there is no way Boston would part with him. At least in Ewing, there is a guy that the players know to shut up and listen to, and in the end that could provide dividends.