In the wake of Orlando Magic’s embarrassing loss last night at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, John Hollinger of ESPN.com provides his take (via ESPN Insider) on the current state of the Magic and attempts to conjure up a solution to the team's current point guard dilemma.
Let's connect two dots here: 1) The Orlando Magic scored 73 points in a home loss to Denver last night, and got nine points on 3-of-11 shooting and one measly assist from point guards Anthony Johnson and Tyronn Lue combined; and 2) the team appears to be nearing a decision to have Jameer Nelson undergo season-ending shoulder surgery.
The next dot in the progression would be the Magic trading for a more credible answer at the point that would allow them to maintain contact with Cleveland and Boston in the East and, the hope would be, outlast one or both in the playoffs.
With the list of available talent growing by the minute as teams look to slash costs, one wonders whom the Magic might be able to procure with the expiring deals of Johnson and Brian Cook and the lure of J.J. Redick. Raymond Felton? Probably. Ramon Sessions? Maybe. Steve Nash? Only in their dreams.
The point is, Orlando's stated strategy of standing pat doesn't seem as plausible when you look at the opportunity it has this season, and the glaring weakness it has at the point in Nelson's absence. As we head to ward the trade deadline, the Magic will be one of the most interesting contenders to watch.
It's worth noting that I've been preaching Felton's name ad nauseum around here for the past week or two. The Charlotte Bobcats have not been shy about making him available as the trade deadline creeps closer and I feel, given Orlando's current point guard situation, he would be a better option right now compared to either Johnson or Lue. Acquiring Felton would not be fairly difficult and the fact that he has an expiring contract (technically, he's going to be a Restricted Free Agent) would bode well for the Magic since general manager Otis Smith has been adamant about maintaining payroll flexibility to re-sign Hedo during the off-season. However, don't expect Otis to pull the trigger on a deal.
With Sessions, it's highly unlikely that the Milwaukee Bucks will move him. He's been playing extremely well as a starter and his presence is sorely needed right now for the Bucks at point guard. Due to Ridnour's recent injury, Milwaukee is lacking depth at that position at the moment.
As for Nash, I'd be shocked if he were traded. I don't expect the Phoenix Suns and general manager Steve Kerr to dish him away, even though it would seem wise for them to do so. Nash is currently one of the elder statesmen on the Suns roster (he's 35) and it's likely that he'll become a free agent in 2010. You'd think that Kerr would attempt to get value for Nash right now, but I digress.
All that being said, the only player that could be realistically acquired by Orlando is Felton. But again, it doesn't seem likely that Otis will make a move.
- David Whitley states that the absence of All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson is affecting the Magic's play on the court. No surprise there.
- In lieu of last night's matinee, it appears that the game against Orlando for the Denver Nuggets was more than business, it was personal (cue in The Godfather). Brian Schmitz explains why.
- Don't forget, in case you haven't already, to check out Part I of my interview with ESPN's & IMG Academies' David Thorpe.