NBA trade season: 10 names for whom the trade buzz is getting louder
ESPN Insider Chad Ford echoes comments he made in a chat earlier this week when he writes that the Magic have put Vince Carter on the trading block, although "there's not a huge market" for him. Ford reports "there have been rumblings" that Orlando would be amenable to trading Carter to Houston for Tracy McGrady. What makes this development particularly juicy is that Tim Povtak reported, mere hours before Orlando traded for Carter this summer, that GM Otis Smith had narrowed his search for a scoring/playmaking wing to Carter and McGrady, which indicates a history of Smith's interest in McGrady.
Jameer Nelson sits out Orlando Magic practice for routine rest
Josh Robbins reports that Jameer Nelson missed practice today to rest his surgically repaired left knee. Nelson will play tomorrow night against Sacramento. Said Nelson, "It was just a routine day off. Nothing to worry about."
Thunder, Grizzlies, Hawks get high marks in NBA midseason grades
Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated grades the Magic's season a "C-" so far. He points out that the Magic's worst shooters get a lion's share of field goal attempts, which partially explains their underwhelming offense.
[E]ven with all his free-throw misses, [Dwight] Howard owns the team's top true shooting percentage (which factors in the value of three-pointers and free throws), yet is getting three fewer shots per game than last year. Meanwhile, the team's two worst performers in TS%, Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson, are first and third on the team in shots per minute, respectively.
Fixing what is actually wrong with the Orlando Magic
Khandor has a thoughtful, detailed explanation of how he'd fix the Magic. Here's how he'd change the rotation: Matt Barnes and Jason Williams move to the bench, Rashard Lewis shifts from power forward to small forward, Ryan Anderson starts at power forward, Brandon Bass becomes the backup power forward, and Anthony Johnson becomes the backup point guard.
As always, make the jump for more news.
Cartoonist puts Vince Carter shooting slump on ink and paper
Click through for a look at Dana Summers' cartoon about Vince Carter's season-long slump, which will run in tomorrow's Orlando Sentinel.
BREAKING: Vince Carter Still Comes Off As A Jerkbag
Believe it or not, there's yet another link portraying Carter in a negative light. Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm takes issue with the way Carter responded to a question about his willingness to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest if the proceeds went to earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti, as proposed by Shaquille O'Neal.
Orlando Magic jump on Indiana Pacers 109-98
Zach McCann urges Magic fans upset that Orlando let Indiana back into last night's game to keep perspective.
Some Magic fans are perturbed that Orlando allowed Indiana to come back and make a game of it — to which I say, are you crazy? When your team has dropped seven of 10 including losses to Washington, Toronto and Indiana, you take a fast start and a comfortable victory with a smile and a pepsi.
NBA Talking Points: Where Posey Is The Prototype
Andrew Sharp of SB Nation argues that each team needs to support its superstar with a network of role-players, with New Orleans' James Posey being the ideal model.
Every good team has a superstar. But guys like Posey, Roger Mason in San Antonio, Mikael [sic] Pietrus in Orlando, and a handful of other indispensable role players are what sets the great teams apart from the good teams.
After Kobe vs. LeBron: The NBA’s 5 best 1-on-1 matchups
Dime Magazine takes a look at the top head-to-head battles in the NBA.
5. Dwight Howard vs. Chris Bosh
Their coaches would prefer Dwight and Bosh not guard each other, but the truth is, nobody on either supporting cast is able to physically matchup with said superstar. For his career, Bosh averages 23 points and 10 boards against Orlando (higher than his overall career numbers), while Dwight has been good for 20 and 11 per against Toronto. Bosh has one 35-and-16 stat line on the books against Dwight earlier this season, while Dwight dropped 39 points on Bosh one time last season. The contrast in styles is what makes this matchup interesting: Bosh can operate on the perimeter or with quick, crafty moves on the block, while Dwight is straight power, a dunk waiting to happen.
Kobe Bryant leads MVP race at midpoint of NBA season
Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated chooses, in his eyes, the Defensive Player of the Year at the midway point in the regular season.
The Magic aren't quite as strong defensively as last year, when Howard won this award, but he is positioned to repeat by leading the league in shot-blocking (2.4 per game) and rebounding (13.0).