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Orlando Magic News for October 9th: Otis Smith Leaves the Team to Scout Other Ones

  • Otis Smith is taking off for the next nine days to scout NBA teams in nine different cities, says John Denton.


    There are two kinds of scouting: the kind in which you look at your opponent's strategy in advance of playing them, and the kind in which you look at specific players to see gauge your interest in acquiring them. The former job is reserved for, uh, scouts and assistant coaches, so I can only assume Otis is doing the latter. Brian Schmitz thinks Otis might be looking for a power forward.

  • The previously linked Denton post says the Magic may choose to start the season with only 13 players under contract, which would mean not signing camp invitees Dwayne Jones, Jeremy Richardson, or Mike Wilks. I had been under the impression that Wilks had signed for the entire season. As it turns out, his salary is only guaranteed if he's still on the roster on January 10th, 2009.
  • Schmitz also says Keith Bogans "accepts his apparent predicament [of being out of the rotation] with a laugh." At the same time, though, Bogans wants to play because he's in a contract year.

  • The reason Bogans is out of the rotation is due to the sudden emergence of J.J. Redick. Mike Bianchi, cynical as ever, thinks the move has less to do with on-court results and more to do with cashing-in on the former Duke star's popularity:

    As the months and years pass with J.J. sitting on the bench, you keep thinking the obsession might fade, but it just keeps getting stronger. It was fueled once again this week when the Magic picked up the option on J.J.'s contract and [Stan] Van Gundy said that if the season started now J.J. would be in the rotation.

    Translation: "Hey, Magic fans, get your season tickets today!"

    Jerry Greene, Bianchi's colleague, takes him to task.

  • Former Magic guard Maurice Evans, now with the Atlanta Hawks, told everyone who would listen, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Sekou Smith and the Orlando Sentinel's Kyle Hightower, that he wanted to return to the Magic and was disappointed in the way they handled his free-agency. Here's Mo, in a q-and-a with Hightower:

    "They gave me the impression that I wanted to be back and I gave them the impression that I wanted to be here. For whatever reason I guess it just wasn't meant to [be]. I don't know. It wasn't just me I guess, because they didn't sign any of those players back that contributed with Keyon and Carlos. I guess it's just business is business in the NBA."

    Evans is the third former Magic player in the past two summers who feels the team treated him unfairly. Darko Milicic, whom the Magic didn't even call when free-agency started in 2007, is the most obvious example. More recently, Keyon Dooling was insulted when the Magic offered him only the bi-annual exception, well below his market value. But neither Dooling nor Evans harbor ill-will; the Magic accommodated Dooling by signing-and-trading him to the New Jersey Nets, and Evans told Hightower, "I don't hold any grudges or anything." Still, it's disconcerting to hear so many stories about negotiations between the Magic and their players falling apart like that.