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Magic practice notebook: Solomon Jones makes team on "merit," Rob Hennigan says

Saturday's notebook delves into the Magic general manager's decision to keep Jones instead of Romero Osby.

Solomon Jones
Solomon Jones
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic held their first post-preseason practice Saturday morning, the first of three straight days of preparation before Tuesday's regular-season opener against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis. Below are some of the stories that emerged when the Magic met the media prior to Saturday's practice.

Jones fills a role

Following Friday's exhibition finale, Magic general manager Rob Hennigan informed training-camp invitee Solomon Jones that he made Orlando's final roster cut, giving him the last spot on the team's opening-night roster. Jones said he was nervous about that meeting.

"I was like, 'oh, here it comes,'" Jones said of his reaction when he was informed that Hennigan wished to meet with him. "'Who knows?' But it [the news] ended up being on the good side."

Jones, a seven-year NBA veteran, made the team because he fulfilled the roles the Magic asked him to. "I know my role is to come out here and bring energy to this team," he said. Hennigan agreed.

In our view, he earned the opportunity, and we wanna make sure that we reward merit. Rob Hennigan on Solomon Jones

"When we were talking to Solomon before training camp, we told him, 'you have a legitimate chance to make the team if you come in and focus on X, Y, and Z,'" Hennigan said. "To his credit, he did that. In our view, he earned the opportunity, and we wanna make sure that we reward merit. Solomon certainly came in and worked his butt off and earned a spot."

During Magic Media Day, Jones told a gaggle of reporters that felt he sure he would make the team. And he made good on that promise, although his work isn't over yet: Jones said his contract is not fully guaranteed. "I can't look forward to January 10th," he said, referencing the date at which all unguaranteed or partially guaranteed NBA contracts become fully guaranteed. "I just take it one day at a time."

The Mount Dora native and childhood Magic fan averaged 4.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in the preseason.

Numbers game works against Osby

The Magic kept Jones at the expense of Romero Osby, the team's second-round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Hennigan offered an assessment of Osby and that situation on Saturday.

"We've been evaluating Romero all summer," Hennigan said. "We really believe in him, believe in what he's about. We think he has a chance to be an NBA player going forward.

"This was a matter of circumstance and a matter of making a decision that we felt was best for the team. We'll always do that, always use that philosophy. We'll continue to stay close with Romero and follow him closely throughout the next several months and beyond."

Osby said after Friday's game, but before the team had informed him of its decision, that he was hoping to hear "ASAP" so he could weigh his options. "I got a wife and a daughter, so I'm just trying to figure out what's next for us as a family," he said. "Hopefully it's here in Orlando, but if it's not, at the same time, I'll still be grateful for the opportunity."

After hearing the news Friday night, Osby tweeted messages of thanks to the Magic and the city of Orlando.

At Media Day, Osby said he had considered playing overseas instead of coming to camp with the Magic, but ultimately felt that staying stateside was best for his family. We'll have to wait to see what his next move is.

Davis progressing in foot rehab

Magic big man Glen Davis, who has yet to play since breaking the fifth metatarsal in his left foot in January, is recovering well, Hennigan said.

"He's getting better," Hennigan said. "He's getting closer. He's going to be practicing here in the next week or two, with full contact. We're looking forward to getting him out on the court and playing with the guys."

The Magic will assess Davis upon his return to full-contact work to see if he could play in a game, Hennigan said.

Davis, 27, averaged 15.1 points and 7.2 rebounds for Orlando in 34 appearances before breaking that bone in his foot. In the 2013/14 season, Orlando went 13-21 with him in the lineup and 7-41 with him sidelined.

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