Orlando Magic News for October 13th: John Denton Speculates that Brian Cook Will Be the First Player Traded

  • Two notes from John Denton...

    • Brian Cook and Stan Van Gundy do not get along well, which is why Denton speculates the Orlando Magic have put trading Cook on top of their "to-do" list. About the only thing Cook provides the Magic is three-point shooting; he's not much of a rebounder, shot-blocker, or defender for his position, and he's not exactly a willing passer. Given those traits, as well as his history of alienating coaches, it seems unlikely the Magic could get much in return for Cook if they dealt him on his own. My theory is that the Magic will try to use Cook as a throw-in if/when they trade Hedo Turkoglu this season.
    • Stan Van Gundy isn't pleased with Jameer Nelson's preseason play. Emphasis added:

      "He was fantastic in training camp but I don't think he's played up to his capabilities in the exhibition games," Van Gundy said [after Monday's practice]. "I think when Jameer is attacking and penetrating he's a very hard guy to guard, but he hasn't played much like that in the preseason. He hasn't been as aggressive as I'd like. The same thing on the defensive end, I think he's one of the stronger, tougher guards and he has rebounded well, but other than short spurts he hasn't taken the defensive challenge.

      "He's practiced well, he knows what we're doing and he's a helluva player, which he showed everybody in the playoffs. But he's got to play like that on a consistent basis and I don't think he's done that yet. Our expectations of him are very high and he hasn't been very good. He hasn't been bad, but I'd like to see him be better."

      Oy. Jameer counters:

      "Mentally, it weighs on you, but it's just something that you have to get through," he said. "I'll work through this and do a better job of keeping my energy level up."

      Jameer's content to coast through the preseason, it seems. I'm confident he'll get it going once the season starts, but I wish he'd put a bit more effort into the preseason. Stay aggressive, man. We need you this year.

  • And one from the Brian Schmitz/Kyle Hightower duo:

    • Tony Battie didn't practice yesterday as a precaution.

      Battie sustained a fractured ring finger on his left hand in Friday morning's shoot-around.

      [....]

      He said he doesn't expect to miss any regular-season games and must wear a splint for up to two months.

      Gosh. Speaking of "We need you this year." Battie is the only "traditional" power forward on the roster, and figures to play a significant role off the bench in relief of Rashard Lewis. He'll be able to play with that splint on, but I wonder how it'll affect his shooting. Not that he's a high-usage guy anyway, but there are times when he's going to spring open at the top of the key and have a shot too open to pass up. We need to count on him to make those.

      But if Cook's gone and Battie's less-than-100% healthy, it may mean Marcin Gortat could shift to power forward and play alongside Dwight Howard for a while. That's a lineup I'd like to see.

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