It's been pretty quiet since the Magic traded for Vince Carter. They managed to pick up a couple good players in Matt Barnes and Brandon Bass. Hedo Turkoglu took off for new riches and play for the Toronto Raptors (snicker). The Magic matched the offer Dallas gave to Gortat, although I'm not sure they needed to spend that much on a backup center. But the biggest news of the summer, Rashard Lewis fails a drug test. You never truly know the character of an pro athlete unless you know them personally. But I'd have to say this sounds as fishy as Grant Hill holding up an Orlando 7-11. That's pretty much the extent of the summer. I'd expect a couple late additions right around training camp - but I wouldn't expect anything too major until closer to the December-February timeframe. I'm sure the Magic will be looking to shore up any problems with minor deals near the trade deadline.
Draft Day Deals: Shaq to the Cavs, $21 million. Clearing up your point guard controversy, dumping an aging center and not giving up any core players in return, priceless. The Magic acquired Vince Carter this afternoon for Rafer Alston, Tony Battie and Courtney Lee. I hate to see Lee go, but let's face that facts here people. The Magic needed to get rid of Alston or Jameer, check. The Magic needed to clear up their big man rotation and dump Battie's $6.2 million contract, check. The Magic would have to give up an asset in order to dump those players and pick up Carter. The goal here is to not give up a core player. Lee is not a core player - at least not at this point in his career. The move also allows the Magic to go into the luxury tax to resign Gortat and Hedo.
Good luck Magic! I hope the team we know shows up tonight against the Lakers. I've been saying for weeks that the Magic can beat any team and they've proven it game after game. But this is the finals, baby! You can't just show up. You have to go in there and take it from them. It's time to show everyone the mental and physical toughness we know this team can have. So, everyone cheer as hard as you can for the Magic - that includes the 3 million new bandwagon fans. We'll let you into our little club. Here's to the Magic and hopefully, a game 1 steal!
Can someone explain to me how a player can catch the ball, come down, bring the ball to his knees and still manage to get a shot off in 1.0 seconds? Remember Howard's dunk over the Spurs - 1.2 seconds that shot took. If the NBA does not review the last play of Game 2 - the game is fixed. You can clearly watch the reply and see that Lebron catches the ball and brings the ball down to his knees before the clock even starts. If you watch in slow motion - you should be able to rattle off about 40 some odd frames before the ball even leaves his hands. Hopefully someone in the Magic organization is bringing this to the attention of the NBA. While it might not change the outcome of the game - this is definitely something that needs to be addressed. This and the non-technical foul that Williams deserved for throwing the basketball at Howard in the first half.
I'm not one to agree with players calling out the coaches for lack of getting the ball - but in this case, Howard is right. In an Orlando Sentinel article today, Howard let it be known he's not happy with 10 shots per game. I agree. Orlando has a strong post game; Howard needs more shots. The second part - Howard is spot on. There was a lineup late in the game that was working for the team. The lead was building with Battie and Johnson on the floor. In the playoffs, you got to stick with what's working and go until someone breaks an arm or passes out. That particular unit had the score up to 14 when Alston and Redick came back. I like Redick and Alston and all - but they have done jack schit so far in the playoffs. So, yes I absolutely agree with Howard. Stan - I hope you're listening - because the coaching has been suspect the last 2 games. But Howard, you're not off the hook buddy. We need more from you than just a few more touches in the paint. We need more activity on the defensive end of the floor and more movement on offense. Let's get it together guys!
Just saw a link to Dwight Howard's website over at Orlando Sentinel. It's pretty decent - some good stuff on there. Graphics are a bit lame for a superstar of Howard's caliber - but, nonetheless, check it out. http://www.dwighthoward.com/ I don't know about you, but watching the top 10 Howard Dunks of all time - brings a tear to my eye. He ours. All ours.
Mike Bianchi has a good article up on the Orlando Sentinel about the after game ass grabbin' and hand holdin' (as my dad would say). This is something I completely agree with Bianchi on, which rarely happens. Seriously, I can understand teaching good sportsmanship on your county recreation teams. But anything above that, I can't think of a time I ever liked my opponent enough to hug or hold hands. I'm all for playing fair, clean and even - but leave the huggin for the wife and the hippies.
For all the mouthing off that Shaq did leading up to last night's game against the Magic, he still hasn't learned anything from his 17 years in the NBA. Just keep your mouth shut. He complains about flopping, so he flops. He complains about double-teaming a 37 year old, so the Suns triple-team Howard. Instead of passing the torch to "The Big Show" as I like to call Howard, "The Big Flop" tries to hold on to his last minutes of fame. Van Gundy summed everything up in the post game news conference, ""...very disappointed cause he knows what it's like. Lets stand up and play like men, and I think our guy did that tonight.''
Jameer Nelson underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on Thursday. Rehab is expected to take 4-6 months. So we will not be seeing Nelson on the court until sometime next season. With the trade for Alston, the Magic have shored up the point guard spot and possibly created a scenario for an interesting training camp.
The Magic have aquired Rafer 'Skip to My Lou' Alston from the Rockets in a trade that sent a low 1st rounder to the Grizzlies and parted ways with Brian Cook. This trade is perfect for the Magic as Alston is a decent starting PG and will help this team immediately at the position. I'd expect Alston to be the starting PG after 3-5 games with the Magic. The trade still has to go through the front office as it barely made the 3pm deadline.