Quick free-agency notes before I head to bed. Freaking bombshell leads us off:
- Adrian Wojnarowski has the upsetting news that the San Antonio Spurs are the "front-runners" to sign Corey Maggette. The most the Spurs can offer is the mid-level exception, which happens to be what the Magic can offer. Maybe Maggette will become the first-ever star-caliber player to take a paycut to play on a contending team. Every team in the league will look silly if Maggette indeed signs with the Spurs, but especially the Magic, who are both title-contenders (or would be, if Maggette took the mid-level with them) and play where he started his career.
- Just another reason to hate the Spurs. As if we needed any more. I feel like vomiting.
- And another reason for some people to hate Otis Smith, who hasn't showed much gumption lately, what with staying-pat at the trading deadline and on draft night. Thing is, Otis has displayed aggression before: last summer, he landed two great coaching candidates (Billy Donovan and Stan Van Gundy) and won the services of the best-available free agent (Rashard Lewis). So it's possible he could change Corey's mind... but I doubt it.
- Sean Deveney of The Sporting News says free-agent point guard Chris Duhon will meet with Magic officials today after spending yesterday in New York with Knicks brass. I imagine he's Orlando's safety valve at backup point guard, a contingency in case incumbent backup Keyon Dooling bolts for more money. For what it's worth, Dooling told John Denton that Orlando is "first choice if all the stars align, but in free agency you have a duty to see what value is out there."
- Brian Schmitz, who spoke to Magic GM Otis Smith, says the team will likely divide the midlevel exception in two:
Smith said the club likely will split the $6 million-per-year midlevel exception, meaning they will spend about $3 million apiece on two role players instead of giving it all to one.