Moments after the Orlando Magic made Connecticut forward Stanley Robinson the penultimate pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, GM Otis Smith left the team's war room to address the media, ostensibly about Robinson. What wound up happening was a humorous, enlightening exchange between Smith and assembled reporters--the ones who hadn't left after the Magic selected Daniel Orton in the first round, anyway--in which Smith touched on a variety of topics after touching on Robinson briefly. To give you an idea of the atmosphere, consider that the first thing Smith did when taking a seat on the podium in the Magic's media room was compliment Josh Robbins' "summer beard."
The big surprise came moments later, when he casually mentioned he and the Toronto Raptors had discussed a trade that would bring Hedo Turkoglu, who won the 2007/08 Most Improved Player Award with the Magic, back to Orlando, so I'll start there, and work my way back. Tim Povtak filed this report about the Turkoglu talks here.
It started when one reporter asked Smith, quite directly, if he'd ever considered bringing Turkoglu back.
"We've had conversations with Toronto, but nothing transpired."
And then Robbins asked about Chris Paul. Maybe the conversation shifted so quickly because we were so confused about that Turkoglu statement. The Magic have had trade discussions involving Hedo Turkgolu? Otis Smith gave a direct answer to a question? Is this real life?
(Smith, incidentally, joked with Robbins for playing "word games" in his question, and responded by saying, "[If] I don't have the conversation, it probably ain't gonna happen!" with a hearty chuckle)
"As long as we're getting wild here," another reporter asked, "what... you've had conversations with Toronto about Turk?"
"I've had conversations with them."
"About Turk? Or about the other guy? [Chris] Bosh?"
Smith met this question with a blank stare. The only sounds in the room for the next 10 seconds were some awkward laughs from the media. Another reporter spoke up:
"You want Turk at that money? I mean, that was obviously a..."
"I said I've had conversations, alright?"
More silence, before I asked Smith if he expected Robinson to join the Magic's summer-league team. "Yes, I do," was his response. But that last line wasn't the last we heard about Turkoglu. I'll explain more after the jump, and then touch on some of the other topics Smith addressed, including the Magic's system and need for backup point guards.
Minutes later, one writer asked Smith to clarify his earlier comments about speaking with the Raptors.
"We've had conversations."
Did those talks center around Turkoglu or Bosh?
Several minutes later, the reporter spoke up again: "Who did Toronto like off your roster? When you..."
"I'm not sure. I had a conversation regarding Turk. And that was... obviously, the conversation never got anywhere. But it was had."
Another writer asked Smith to specify when that conversation happened.
"The last time I had it? Or the first time I had it? Which one do you want?"
"How about both?"
"A long time ago and a couple hours ago."
"Is that them calling you or is that Turk calling you?
"I had a conversation."
And with that, Smith departed.
And now, Smith on some of the other topics that came up. I know I've kinda buried them here, but keep reading. There's a lot to go over. There's a reason I dedicated my time to recapping this presser instead of analyzing the players Orlando selected, you know?
On his offseason outlook, in general:
"I really don't anticipate doing much. I don't think you have to. It's still the same plan we've been on for the last three-and-a-half years or so, and I think that plan is working."
"I really do like our team. I think our team has a chance to win. I don't think we need to revamp the system because it's broken, because it's not broken."
And once again:
"We like our team the way it sits. I really do. We have to make some tweaks here and there. We still need backup point guards because we don't have any and we need to shore up the wings. Other than that, there's really no need to go out and rewrite the roster. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense."
At this point, I asked, "So you're still committed to four-around-one, as opposed to three-around-two, in terms of offense? With the perimeter shooting four [power foward]?" It was a hazy, poorly worded question with which Smith, understandably, had a bit trouble.
"Who's the two?"
"A 'traditional' power forward," I replied, making air quotes with my fingers when I said "traditional." I swear, this is an actual conversation we had, in front of other people, and not a hideous Abbott and Costello routine. Smith responded, liberally employing air quotes himself:
"Yeah, I like our team the way it is. So we have the ability to play different ways if we want to. If we want to play with a 'traditional' power forward, we can play with a 'traditional' power forward. If we want to play with a 'stretch' power forward, we can play with a 'stretch' power forward. So I don't think that piece is missing at all"
On J.J. Redick's pending free agency:
"I'm a J.J. fan. He's one of those guys that you can say done it the way it was supposed to be done. He came into this league and worked his tail off and got an opportunity to play and took advantage of the opportunity. So it's going to be interesting to see what the market holds for him."
On if there was a point guard in this draft he preferred to Orton:
"At 29, there wasn't one to have."
On if he's concerned about the team's point guard depth:
"I worry about depth at the point guard position because we don't have any backups right now. So of course there are a lot of areas that we need to address during the offseason, but they're little things."
"I have not. Well, I've exchanged a few text messages with A.J. I have not spoken to Jason at all. That's neither here nor there, though, with Jason. I wouldn't read too much into it because I didn't exchange texts... didn't text him."
On Jameer Nelson:
"We're better when he's on the floor."
I'll conclude this post with some levity. After Smith flatly denied discussing any trades with the Chicago Bulls today, a reporter asked, "Why are these [rumors] so far off all the time?"
An intrigued, boisterous Smith responded, "You want my personal opinion?"
Magic spokesman Joel Glass, standing to Smith's right, cut Smith off before he could say anything else. "No, no," Glass said, shaking his head. Smith, though, clearly wanted to answer.
"Why not?! This is family!" he said, and the media in the room broke into laughter.
"Go ahead," said Glass.
Smith said nothing, but merely pointed the index finger on his right hand and rotated it in a circle around the room, indicating the assembled reporters.