NBA trade season: 10 teams most likely to make a deal
Chad Ford of ESPN Insider takes a look at the 10 teams in the NBA most likely to make a deal, a list which includes the Orlando Magic.
The Magic were a preseason pick of many, including me, to make it to the Eastern Conference finals and perhaps beyond. Vince Carter was supposed to be an upgrade over Hedo Turkoglu. The addition of Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson was supposed to give them depth inside. And a healthy Jameer Nelson was going to put them over the top.
It hasn't happened yet. The Magic have been shaky, playing roughly .500 ball for the past couple of months. Several GMs have told ESPN that the Magic have been aggressive in their efforts to shake up the roster and regain their swagger.
They have a number of assets. They could find takers for several of their reserve bigs, including Marcin Gortat and Bass. Rashard Lewis would also garner interest if he were available. And while they would be interested in moving Carter, sources around the league say that the market for VC is lukewarm at best.
NBA: Checking in with NBA scouts
Marc Stein of ESPN.com speaks with five scouts, two from the Eastern Conference and three from the Western Conference, on a variety of topics. Here's what they said about the Magic's bipolar play:
"Athletically they've improved. Defensively they've improved because [Matt] Barnes and [Mickael] Pietrus can really cover a lot of ground. Everyone talks about how much they've missed Hedo [Turkoglu] and I think that's true. They miss his ballhandling and playmaking. He did so much off the dribble and in pick-and-rolls and was such a willing passer. But they look a little bored sometimes. That's it as much as anything.
"It's a long season and they have so much talent on that roster. They just look stale to me at times. I've been to a few of their games lately and it really looked to me like Stan [Van Gundy] is making an effort to not be as vocal as he usually is. Maybe he's trying to be conscious of not wearing them out.
A few months ago in a practice report I logged at Orlando Pinstriped Post, I was able to speak with a source associated with the team's plans and similar rhetoric was used to describe the Magic sometimes "being bored" in games.
More on Gilbert Arenas, by the way.
[...] Orlando continues to be mentioned more prominently than any other potential destination, thanks largely to Arenas' close relationship with Magic general manager Otis Smith. I was assured earlier this month that the Magic will give the matter legit consideration this summer, even if Arenas figures to be the party pushing hardest for it.
More after the jump.
Is Dwight Howard making any progress?
Austin Burton of Dime Magazine notes Dwight Howard's progression on offense and wonders whether or not people are asking for too much from him, at times.
On the other hand, maybe Dwight is being asked to do too much. Fans and analysts want superstars to be able to do everything, but if a guy is going to lead the League in rebounding and blocks every year for the next decade, are you really gonna be mad at him for not being an artist on the low-block? Not everybody has Jordan or Oscar DNA: Jason Kidd never got that jumper to be deadly; Steve Nash never learned to lock anybody down; Dennis Rodman never decided to play offense. So if Dwight can get me 14 boards and three blocks and some momentum-changing dunks and that’s all he’s capable of, that’s fine by me.
MAGIC: 'Hammering' Down the Opposition
John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com reveals that head coach Stan Van Gundy might consider giving the lineup which sparked the Magic's comeback against the Boston Celtics in the fourth quarter - involving Rashard Lewis, Marcin Gortat, and Dwight Howard - additional playing time.
``It is a lineup that we need to give more thought to at times, but it’s strictly situational,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said Friday following practice. ``I’ve never had my doubts that that can be a really good defensive lineup for us because we have great size and a better chance at protecting the basket. The question is whether or not we can be efficient offensively and get the spacing that we need. But (against Boston) we had a very good offensive fourth quarter with those guys together. It allows us against big teams to matchup better. It’s got some real positives.’’
Will Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat play together more often?
Josh Robbins, more or less, provides a similar report about the trio.