Orlando Magic Media Availability: Vince Carter, Otis Smith, Stan Van Gundy, and Bob Vander Weide Speak

[Including Courtney Lee] was a big hang up for both of us that kind of slowed the process down a little bit. It came down to, really, we are trying to win a championship today. We are not trying to wait about it. Then, adding another young piece in Ryan Anderson, that was huge for us to be able to cross that barrier. Those guys went 21 and 22 right in front and behind of each other and we liked him in that [2008] draft as well and we were just able to pick him up a year later. Courtney was a big piece for [the Nets].

-- Otis Smith, Orlando Magic

Ben Q. Rock and I were able to attend the press conference yesterday announcing Vince Carter's arrival in Orlando to join the Magic, who acquired him and Ryan Anderson from the New Jersey Nets in exchange for Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, and Courtney Lee. Speaking for the Orlando Magic were president & CEO Bob Vander Weide, general manager Otis Smith, head coach Stan Van Gundy, and Carter.

 

The Q/A session went for roughly 20 minutes. 

 

Click after the jump for the full transcript. 

 

Otis Smith

opening statement:

Well, first of all, on behalf of the Magic we're excited to have you guys out here. This was a whirlwind day for us. It started a couple of days ago, actually, trying to figure out a way, how do we get our team better, continue to get our team better and keep us in the hunt of a title so I just wanted to welcome back home to Central Florida, someone I met when he was in 11th grade, winning dunk contests over in Daytona [Beach], Vince Carter, so I'll turn it over to him.

talking about the mechanics of the deal:

The hardest part of this deal for everybody in management and coaching staff is who is included. We have a very young piece in Courtney Lee that we liked a lot and that was one of the hardest parts to include into a deal. But the salaries don't match up ... what matches up is sliding Ryan into a trade exception which actually makes it work for us. The reason why the deal works is we have some pieces that they like and some pieces on their side that we like. Giving up a young Courtney Lee only makes sense for us because of getting back a young Ryan Anderson too that we think also has a promising future in this league. 

trying to re-sign Hedo Turkoglu:

Our summer is not done, I will tell you that. We still have a long way to go. Our roster is well a ways from being complete. I will say our ... Stan is very relentless in trying to put a team together that can coach and play the style that he likes. With that said, we still have some work to do with Turk. We'll still sit down and talk to Turk and Turk's people. We still have Marcin who's out there, who we'd like to retain as well, so we're still trying to put the best team on the floor to give us a chance to win a championship. 

getting Vince Carter in response to Cleveland's trade for Shaquille O'Neal, true or false:

When I tell you I really do live in a tunnel, I really do live in a tunnel. I woke up this morning to the Shaq deal, much like most of you guys here. I was concentrating on how do we get our team better, irregardless of what other teams do around the league, we still have to continue to move forward. That's both the personnel, that's both with the individual guys working to continuing to get better so I didn't look at it as, they're getting better, so we have to get better. We have to continue to get better. The individual players and us collectively as a team in order for us to move to reach our goal. We were three wins shy, that's awful close, Bob summed it up earlier when he said ... really, we'd like to have Rich stand up with the trophy. That's huge for me and I was disappointed that that didn't happen and I hated to go and say that I was disappointed that didn't happen. We failed to reach that.

Courtney Lee being a crucial piece to the deal:

It was a big hang up for both of us that kind of slowed the process down a little bit. It came down to, really, we are trying to win a championship today. We are not trying to wait about it. Then, adding another young piece in Ryan Anderson, that was huge for us to be able to cross that barrier. Those guys went 21 and 22 right in front and behind of each other and we liked him in that [2008] draft as well and we were just able to pick him up a year later. Courtney was a big piece for them.

building depth:

It’s just getting pieces around pieces. Make sure we fill out our roster with guys that are able to step in and play when you need them to. We’ve had a solid start to the summer, but we still have some more work to do.

letting Courtney Lee go:

It was hard for everybody. I had to tell my daughter that I traded him, so that was maybe the toughest conversation I had. She finally said she forgave me right before we walked in here. He was one of her favorites, so it was real tough for us to move him.

adding pieces to the team:

I’m fortunate enough to work for a very good owner that does nothing but give us the resources to do our jobs. Second part of it is, when you have pieces that you can build around, in Dwight and Rashard and Jameer, it makes it a little easier to sell guys on Orlando. As coach alluded to earlier, you can’t say you are committed to winning, you’ve got to show guys you are committed to winning and I think that’s what this organization is about from top to bottom.

 

 

Vince Carter

opening statement:

I don't know where to start. It's just a wonderful opportunity for me. I've known Otis [Smith] and Nick [Anderson] and Bo [Outlaw] for so long. I think that was a shock for me, being traded. Okay, great. Then I said, okay, where? They told me back home. It's a dream come true so I'm excited and proud and ready to represent my hometown well.

envisioning himself with the Magic while attending playoff games:

Yes and no, that's why I couldn't come to the Finals. It was too much for me. What an opportunity it would be to really come and help that team, with Dwight.

being surprised about the trade:

You can ask anybody. I was at a basketball camp and going through drills. I was surprised, I was shocked. I thought it was a joke, to be honest with you, because my brother called me who was in Jersey and I said, really. But it was a reality. Everybody knew before I knew because I didn't have my phone on. Once I finally hooked up my phone and see everybody call me and say it was a done deal, I couldn't sit still.

hearing trade rumors:

All the time, so it was one of those things like okay ... if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. It was one of those things that I wasn't expecting.

being able to speak with Dwight or anyone else on the team:

I talked to Jameer, briefly. There's just so much going on that I'll probably talk to him later today. I speak with him on the regular anyway, so it's going to feel like old times.

processing the idea of what it would be like to play with Orlando:

I really haven't. Probably, most of the night, that'll probably go through my mind each and every day just because I just want to fit in. They've all accomplished so much, I just want to take this team one step further if I can. 

getting traded to an NBA Finals team:

Absolutely. I was rewarded a wonderful opportunity. Like I said, just helping a great team go to the next level if possible. 

playing with with a great big man like Dwight Howard:

Not like this. I really haven't ... it's new for me but it's another challenge in the chapter of my career, playing with a dominant big man that can draw so much. My job would be just to make it easy for him. If I can knock down open shots and make plays for him and make it easier, now Dwight Howard the All-Star can become that superstar that nobody can stop.

wondering if he would get a chance to play for a title in his career:

I think every player wishes they could get the opportunity just once to play in the Finals, to compete for an NBA championship. I made it to the second round and I understand what it's like but it's a dream come true. It really is. 

people looking at him as the final piece of the puzzle:

I accept it with open arms. I'm not afraid of a challenge and an opportunity. I think this is an opportunity to show what I can do and how I can fit in with a great basketball team and I'm just going to take advantage of it. 

having to sacrifice any part of his game:

Absolutely. I'm just going to play the game. I love the game and I do everything that I have to do to win so we'll just approach it as that.

speaking with New Jersey Nets president Rod Thorn to move to a title contender:

I didn't. I've just been down here enjoying my summer. I spoke with him and he said he wants to give me the opportunity. I've had a great relationship with Rod. I've done everything they've asked me to do ... I've tried to go above and beyond the call of duty just because I wanted to, because I love the game and I love them giving me new life at that time. I think that's why I think it was a shock for me. I didn't know. I had no idea. 

returning home, an overplayed idea or not:

It's a big deal. I've done so much for my community back in Daytona Beach. My high school coach when he heard it, he was ecstatic, and all my friends ... let alone myself, it just blows my mind. It's a great opportunity but business is business and they all understand that.

game changing as he gets older:

Smarter. I've learned how to take advantage of my opportunities. Learn to seize the moment. When you're on a great team like this, it helps.

bringing intangibles to the team:

My willingness to win. My leadership. I talk a lot in huddles, as far as motivating guys. I believe in trying to help guys, succeed and motivate. I'm not afraid to get in a guys face and say hey, be the person that you are. Even guys that are around the league, that I'm friends with, that I have an appreciation for, if I can ever help them, that's my way, that's the way I think, and that's my demeanor. I'm just going to continue it. 

who wins in a dunk contest, him or Dwight Howard:

A couple of summers ago, we had that right in here as a matter of fact so ... I'll still beat him. 

 

 

Bob Vander Weide

 

speaking about this trade being a bold step to win a championship:

I think it's another step, for sure. We were telling you all in that last round of the playoffs we weren't going to move backwards and I think it's another statement by the organization and the family that we're going to do everything we can to hopefully get Rich DeVos to hold up the gold trophy sometime soon. That's a real goal of this organization, whether it's going into tax, adding another very important piece in Vince, adding a young piece in Ryan, we're going to move this forward.

how far in the tax can the team go:

I haven't posed that question, yet. I just know that we're there. Obviously we want to improve this club. 

going deep into the luxury tax:

You know ... at this point, we really don't know where Turk is. Obviously until he gets rolling into free agency, we'll cross that bridge when we have to. 

 

 

Stan Van Gundy

 

commenting on the starting five:

I think it's tremendous. I think, first of all, Otis and Bob ... Mr. DeVos made a big statement, not only to the rest of the league and to our fanbase about how serious we are about winning but to our own group of players. I think it's obvious to Vince coming in and to all of the guys that are returning. This is obvious the organization is committed to winning and I think a lot of times you're asking for a commitment from your players but they look around and say, wait a minute, you want us to make a full commitment but it's pretty clear you're not fully committed. Our guys know that the organization is fully committed and I think it's a proactive move because if you can get Turk back, great, but now ... you've gone out and improved your roster and not having to sit and wait and then three weeks from now say, well, we didn't get Turk, look we did everything we could. We're out there trying to explain ourselves to everybody, we got a very good team heading into next season right now and like Otis said, they'll continue to work and try to make it even better. This is a very good, very talented team.

changing team dynamics:

Well, the team dynamic always changes. Otis and I talked about this ... even when you bring back the same group, the team dynamic always changes because guys are in different situations, contract years, everything else. I think that as a coach, you have to understand it and the players have to understand it. You can't come back, assuming just because we've added a great player in Vince Carter, well, okay, we're automatically back to the Finals. No. You have to go step-by-step. The chemistry has to develop, everybody's got to be able to make sacrifices, and we got a team of very good offensive players who have to be willing to make the commitment on the defensive end of the floor. The dynamic always change and they'll certainly will now. But it starts with this, if you want to win, you have to have a level of talent in this league to do that. I think players become motivated when they look around and know they got a chance. Vince hasn't had that chance really in this league. I think for players and coaches, you're not scared of expectations. Just like Vince said, what you want is a chance then you don't mind the expectations. A lot of times in this business you have the expectations and you don't have a chance. So the expectations are always there, what you want is a chance. I think management is doing everything they possibly can do to give us as players and coaches a chance, now we got to go do it.

needing a guy that could create and could score:

I think there’s no question. I think that two things that Vince brings to the table from an offensive standpoint that we really didn’t have before is, we really didn’t have a guy who you could give him the ball up top, on the wing, at the elbow, one-on-one and go get a shot or draw a second defender. We had to do it out of pick-and-rolls or out of post-ups. I think with Vince, you can give him the ball anywhere on the floor and he can isolate and create a shot either for himself or a teammate on his own. Plus, if you look at the numbers like we do all the time and I don’t think that he’s got enough credit for this, Vince has been throughout his career, one of the best fourth quarter and end-of-game guys in this league, in terms of production. He’s been a guy that has always come through down the stretch in games. I think that’s huge.

style of play remaining the same:

I think so. I don’t think that will change a whole lot. I think another part of this deal with Ryan Anderson was crucial. I think what we had, and you guys watched it this year, was when Rashard came out of the game and we went to the bench, we really had to play a different way because we then could not spread the floor out. And when we tried to move Rashard back to the three, you couldn’t stretch the floor with your four, so he couldn’t get any room and now you get another guy that can really stretch the floor, and I think it gives us even more flexibility to both swing Rashard back to the three or when Rashard is back on the bench getting a rest, which he didn’t get much of, we can play the same way. So I think that’s crucial as well.

 

Questions in italics are ones that I asked during the press conference.

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