The 2009/2010 Orlando Magic Dancers
Photo by Fernando Medina, the Orlando Magic; used with permission
The Orlando Magic have announced their dance-team roster for the coming season. From the press release:
After a long and strenuous audition process, the 2009-10 Magic Dancers team was unveiled after the final audition Friday, August 21 inside The Groove at Universal City Walk. Out of 145 total dancers to start the audition process, the field was narrowed to 30 finalists to perform for a panel of judges. 20 dancers, including 12 veterans and eight rookies, were then selected to the 2009-10 Magic Dancers. Currently in their 21st season heading into 2009-10, team members perform at all home Orlando Magic games and appear at a combined total of over 250 events in and outside of Central Florida such as entertaining our U.S. Troops overseas, community events and much more.
Creative Financing In The NBA
In what Kelly Dwyer praised as possibly "the best thing written by anyone on the NBA during this offseason," ShamSports takes an in-depth look at instances of NBA teams coming up with creative ways to clear cap space in order to sign free agents. The Magic figure prominently in this list. Sham concludes that while GM Otis Smith indeed deserves credit for making good moves this summer, the real hero for Magic fans is team owner Rich DeVos:
Otis Smith's job became far easier and far more secure when the Magic's NBA Finals appearance prompted the aptly named Rich DeVos to start stumping up luxury tax dollars. Imagine what would have happened, though, if that hadn't happened. There'd be no Marcin Gortat. There'd be no Brandon Bass. There might not have been any Vince Carter trade, and there might not have been any Matt Barnes signing. The Magic would be relying on the man who coined the term "creative financing" to do that exact thing. And it's hardly something he's renowned for.
The top 10 value-for-money deals of the last decade
The aforementioned Dwyer continues his series of top-ten lists with a look at the best NBA bargains in the last decade. It should come as no surprise that the contract Ben Wallace signed with the Detroit Pistons after his one-year stint in Orlando made the cut. If for nothing else, click through for a great photo of Wallace, in a Magic uniform, swatting Jamal Mashburn's weak layup attempt.
NBA offseason: Worst newcomer - ESPN
A panel of ESPN experts got together and voted, deciding that Vince Carter could turn out to be among the worst players to change addresses this summer (he rated 6th). An earlier survey said he could turn out to be the best.
Adding an eight-time All-Star to an already successful lineup should make the reigning East champs even better. There is a certain amount of risk here, though. Carter will turn 33 in January, and Orlando will owe him $33 million in salary the next two years. Plus, some say Carter brings potential chemistry issues and could have a negative effect on Orlando's vaunted defense.
As Orlando Magic Daily notes, ESPN's panelists seem about as divided on the Carter acquisition as the team's fans are.
Twitter / Dwight Howard: Hey Stan. Hope u read this ...
Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard wishes coach Stan Van Gundy a happy 50th birthday via his Twitter account. Of course, he couldn't resist doing an impression of his animated coach:
Hey Stan. Hope u read this. happy birthday from ur fav player lol. And all us on the twitterverse. Now ruuunnn moove, make a freethrow lol
X’s & O’s of Basketball: Billy Donovan on Utilizing the 3-point Shot
Billy Donovan, the University of Florida coach whom the Magic initially hired instead of Van Gundy two years ago, dispenses advice on how to properly use the three-pointer. An interesting read from a great coach... but his decision to back out of his contract with Orlando might prove to be a watershed moment in franchise history--and for the right reasons--if Van Gundy can guide the team to a title.
At Florida, we try to gain an advantage at the three point line by creating situations offensively by using it and by taking it away defensively. What is the best way to do this offensively? At my level, get better shooters. At the high school level, get your shooters better. Having a big man that can shoot creates so many offensive opportunities for your team.
Jason Williams seeks to revive career with Orlando Magic
Donovan booted Magic point guard Jason Williams off the Florida basketball team during his first season as its coach, which brings us to our next item. Scott Howard-Cooper writes that Williams' signing with the Magic could have league-wide ramifications.
This could turn out to be a nice story -- Williams back after a year off, back with the team in his adopted hometown, back with a chance to pursue another championship to go with the title he won as a Heat starter in 2006.
More than that, it will be an important moment toward any outcome, with a major part of the Magic season -- and by extension the East and the entire league -- potentially riding on Williams' ability to not play like a soon-to-be 34-year-old who has been dogged by injuries and absent from an NBA court for about a year and a half.
By the way, I received word from the Magic's communications department that Williams has selected no. 44. If that seems odd to you, it should. Williams has never worn 44 in his career, donning no. 55 in Sacramento and in Miami, and no. 2 in Memphis. Additionally, he'll become the first player in Magic history to wear no. 44.
Finally, Rick Kamla and Steve Smith of NBA TV recently conducted a telephone interview with Williams. Check it out at NBA.com.