What They're Saying Before the Orlando Magic Face Off Against the Dallas Mavericks

  • Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy says Dwight Howard is overshadowed because "it’s a perimeter league."
    Brian Schmitz notes that general manager Otis Smith did speak with other teams around the NBA before the trade deadline came and went.

    Magic GM Otis Smith said he spoke to about "eight to 12 teams" before the NBA trade deadline on Thursday, and most were interested in little-used big men Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass.

    Smith wasn't buying what teams were selling, so he did what he said he would do — stand pat.

    "Nothing made me look twice," he said. "There was nothing that was going to greatly improve our team. I wasn't aggressively pursuing anything."
  • SF Matt Barnes, a former high school football star, hopes his taste for physical play is rubbing off on teammates.
    Matt Barnes talks about the Magic becoming more physical.

    Barnes is encouraged that his physical nature has rubbed off on the Magic.

    "It's something I've said in team meetings," he said. "You can't be afraid. You never want to be dirty. But if somebody fouls hard and hits you, go back at them. And if they try to take on your superstar [in this case, Howard], we got to band together.

    "I try to bring just an edge and a toughness and it's starting to carry over, definitely."

    Barnes concedes that the Magic have an image as a 3-point shooting finesse team.

    "I think so. Not to be negative, but it's just something that's out there," he said. "I think we're making a conscious effort to change that, that no 3-point team can really be physical."
  • Dallas Mavericks now appear victorious in duel with Orlando Magic over Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass
    Tim McMahon of ESPN Dallas writes that the Orlando Magic "outsmarted" themselves when they signed free-agent power forward Brandon Bass from the Dallas Mavericks this summer, in addition to matching Dallas' offer for center Marcin Gortat. Neither player has made an impact this season, says McMahon, while the Mavs' big men have been more productive.

More after the jump.

  • Ex-Mav Josh Howard's Top 10 Trippy Quotes From Washington
    Mike Fisher of Dallas Basketball notes Josh Howard's amicable departure from the Mavericks.

  • Night of partying might have led to Josh Howard's exit
    Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News reveals that a night of partying may have been the straw that broke the camel's back for Howard.

    The juicy piece of irony is that Howard ended up in Washington, which may well have been the site where he had the beginning of the end, according to several Maverick sources.

    They say Howard had a long night of partying on Jan. 19, the night after the Mavericks had won in Boston and less than 24 hours before playing the Wizards.

    The team officially said he missed the game against Washington on Jan. 20 with a stomach illness. But sources said team officials could not deny that it was a self-inflicted game off.
  • Mavericks' Kidd hoping to close the deal
    A look at where the Mavericks have been since acquiring Jason Kidd.

    It was two years ago today that Kidd officially came to the Mavericks. The trade was made to give the Mavericks a veteran leader at point guard who could maximize Nowitzki's talents and keep the window of opportunity propped open as long as possible.

    Two years later, it's still open. How much so is subject to debate.
  • Trade made Dallas Mavericks better, but not to Lakers level
    Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram feels that Mavs' acquisition of Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood makes the team better, but not at the level of the Los Angeles Lakers.

    This makes Butler and Haywood the new pieces around Dirk, and they join 31-year-old Shawn Marion from last summer. Butler will be 30 next month. Haywood is 30. The original thought was that in dumping Howard, the Mavs needed to get younger. Instead, the tradeoff is the oldest team in the NBA got better on paper.

    It was a deal that drew applause around the league for the Mavs, and had most of the local media in a state of gushing.

    But even in gush-mode, no one was crazy enough to say the Mavericks just pulled even with the Lakers. Well, president of Mavs basketball operations Donnie Nelson did, but Donnie had been nonstop on the phone for a week, so excuse him for a delusional state.
  • Haywood Factors Quickly Into Mavs' Run At Lakers
    UPDATE: Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse elaborates on the new setting Butler and Haywood are in.

    They've gone from a sinking ship and the chaos that surrounded Gilbert Arenas, to a team that now thinks it legitimately can challenge the defending NBA champion Lakers.

    "Can we compete with the Lakers now?'' Haywood asked. "Yes we can. And I think it will be a very entertaining series. We'll definitely have a shot to win it, too.'' [...]

    "That (beating the Lakers) is the plan. That's why the moves were made, to compete with the Lakers,'' Butler said. "They are the team to beat, and I'm looking forward to that challenge.''
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