Free agency is here! Everybody freak out!
- Free-agency coverage abounds in the Sentinel today.
- Tim Povtak lists Golden State Warriors swingman Mickael Pietrus (more on him below), Chicago Bulls point guard Chris Duhon, and Los Angeles Clippers swingman Corey Maggette as the Magic's primary targets.
- Povtak also has a list of the NBA's top free agents, which includes Clippers forward Elton Brand, Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas, and Warriors guard Baron Davis. Most of the guys on this list are either out of the Magic's price range or off their radar completely. If Kwame Brown ever plays for Orlando, I might throw up.
- Brian Schmitz received word from Bill McCandless, who represents Pietrus, that he expects the Magic to contact him regarding his client. Pietrus' calling cards are defense and three-point shooting, so it's easy to see why Stan Van Gundy and Magic management would be interested in him. If the Magic's top priority is to replace Maurice Evans in the starting lineup, Pietrus is probably the best option. For more on Pietrus, check out...
- this ridiculous weakside block of the Kings' Kevin Martin, which made waves in the basketblogosphere.
this criticism of Pietrus' work ethic from 3QC fave Tim Kawakami:
When Pietrus is hurt, he usually takes about 2 or 3 games longer than any other Warrior mainstay would in a similar circumstance. He's right at 3 games longer right now, by the way.
He has now missed 11 games this season for various reasons -- all valid enough -- but that's 2 more than Stephen Jackson has missed, and that includes Jackson's 7-game suspension to start the campaign.
Pietrus has missed 5 more games than Andris Biedrins has missed, and, yes, Biedrins had an appendectomy in the middle of the season.
That's not a good stat. That's about normal for Pietrus' career, too.
Those facts should raise some red-flags for the Magic
- In less exciting news, Schmitz reports that the Magic have told free-agent forward Pat Garrity that they will not offer him a contract until later this summer, if at all. It's a wise move on their part to hold-off, yeah. If they make a splash in free-agency -- unlikely -- they might need a cheap 15th man, and Pat might be that man. But if the team signs him, even for a year at the smallest possible salary, Magic fans will revolt. Of that I am sure. Despite Garrity's long stay in Orlando, he hasn't drawn a large fan following, largely due to his lack of productivity. He should have ended his playing days long ago.
- As expected, Magic draftee Courtney Lee signed a four-year, $6 million deal.
- Yesterday, I speculated that the source Tim Povtak cited as saying Corey Maggette could return to Orlando was none other than Maggette's agent, Rob Pelinka. User "Orltragic07" at Denton's board speculates the source could be Bo Outlaw, a former Maggette teammate and current Magic Community Ambassador. You'll have to scroll down to find his post; I can't seem to find a way to link it directly.
- The annual Pepsi Pro Summer League, which the Magic hosts, starts next Monday. The Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets, and Seattle SuperSonics will all send teams filled with players hoping to make the opening-day roster. Click here for the summer-league roster page for all teams. A few notes from Orlando's squad:
- James Augustine, Marcin Gortat, and Courtney Lee are the three "real" Magic players on the team. Lee will wear uniform no. 32, the same one he wore at Western Kentucky. If he chooses to wear that number in the regular-season, he'll be only the third Magic player in 20 years to do so. The others were Otis Smith and Shaquille O'Neal.
- Kevin Kruger, who played on last year's summer-league team, will also play on this year's.
- Temple guard Mark Tyndale, who went undrafted last Thursday, also made the Magic's summer-league team. He was among the five shooting guards the Magic worked-out before the draft. The week before the draft, stat guru Ed Weiland, of HOOPSANALYST, ranked Tyndale the third-best shooting guard in the entire 2008 draft class, behind O.J. Mayo and Chris Douglas-Roberts; he rates Lee, whom the Magic selected 22nd overall, to be the 6th-best.
- Like last year, you can watch each game online free.
That's all for today. Leave your free-agency suggestions in the comments or the FanPosts.