With the deadline for NBA teams to sign fourth-year players to contract extensions looming, the Orlando Magic may offer starting power forward Ryan Anderson one in the days ahead, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Anderson is among "the most likely candidates to receive" an extension offer before the January 25th deadline, along with Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers, Danilo Gallinari of the Denver Nuggets, and Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Anderson has blossomed in his fourth professional season, emerging as Orlando's second-leading scorer (17.8 points per game) and rebounder (7.2 per game) next to Dwight Howard. His accurate (41.4 percent), high-volume three-point shooting has helped return the Magic to the league's elite on the offensive side of the ball.
However, Orlando must decide what Anderson's play might be worth if he weren't playing alongside Howard, who draws defensive attention away from Anderson to free the former California Golden Bear for open three-pointers. Is Anderson a go-to offensive weapon on a Howard-less Magic team, or would he need to share the floor with another double-team-commanding offensive presence in order to be effective? Andrew Greif of Dime Magazine grapples with that question--with Orlando Pinstriped Post's help--in a story published Thursday.
The New Jersey Nets made Anderson, the 2008 Pac-10 Player of the Year, the 21st pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. After one season, they traded him to the Magic, along with Vince Carter, for Courtney Lee and the expiring contracts of Rafer Alston and Tony Battie. Initially considered a throw-in, Anderson has proven to be the best player involved in that trade and stands as one of the few of Otis Smith's recent acquisitions to pan out in Orlando.