The offseason is quickly approaching. It seems as though Dwight Howard is locked up — just for this year — and everyone seems to recognize some type of change is needed. The suggestions have been pouring into my inbox through Twitter (and feel free to keep sending me trade ideas through Twitter on @omagicdaily or in the comments below, I try to respond to as many as I can) on what the Magic should do.
There is certainly a lot Orlando is going to try and do. And eventually it all may end with some change at the top — do not think that is out of the question.
Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM answered several common questions about the Magic that many fans have been asking, including introducing a few new rumors and reports to the general discussion. It is going to be a very interesting and critical offseason and as the Finals start winding to a close, we are going to begin getting some answers.
Little trickles of information and news is going to be squeezing through the cracks until something happens — which will make the potentially long lockout even more gut-wrenching. That is what I read into Rudolph’s report from Friday.
New information is new information and, as always with unnamed sources, you take it all with a grain of salt no matter how good the reporter (or how bad). As Rudolph said: “You never quite know what to make of rumors, until a deal goes down nobody knows if it’s true or not. But the Magic seem to be involved in a lot of talk, which means Otis Smith is doing his job.” And, as Rudolph likes to remind everybody, no deal is done until it is fully completed.
By all accounts, the Magic have been pretty active in the trade market. The names that appear to be very available include Portland’s Brandon Roy, Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala and Golden State’s Monta Ellis.
All three of those players would fill the Magic’s need for a perimeter go-to scorer and offense creator … at least to some extent. The Magic know for sure they have to upgrade their perimeter play on both sides of the floor. This makes the nearly year-long wish for Iguodala go into something resembling overdrive. If Philadelphia has any interest in trading him, Orlando was to be in the discussion.
The difference with Iguodala is his sheer size. He is a big, physical guy who just has not been able to shoulder the load on his own.
Of course, like with Ellis and Roy, Iguodala comes with his caveats. He scored 14.1 points per game this year, his worst since 2006, and he has shot better than 35 percent from 3-point range just once in his career. But over Ellis, with his height and defense concerns and Roy, with his injury concerns, Iguodala is probably the best player the Magic are after.
As Rudolph reports, the Magic have asked about Iguodala and have apparently had some success offering Hedo Turkoglu. Yeah, crazy I know.
But according to Rudolph, it makes sense financially because Turkoglu would save the 76ers $22 million over the long run. How? I am not sure, since Turkoglu is owed approximately $34 million over the next four years and Iguodala is due $44 million over the next three.
If Roy is healthy — a big if for sure after the so-far failed Arenas experiment and with the ghost of Grant Hill dancing around the hallways — he could be another guy Orlando looks to add. There is hope that Portland still has interest in Hedo Turkoglu to get conversations started.
One thing is for sure, Orlando is going to be connected to a lot of rumors as this need MUST be filled for the team to sniff its championship dream.
Free agency is not going to provide much for Orlando to work with — especially since the team would only have the mid-level exception to offer at the current collective bargaining agreement.
Dwight Howard has reportedly asked the Magic to make a run at Celtics power forward Glen Davis, who might be looking to go somewhere he can start. The Magic could also make a run at Hawks guard and thorn in their side Jamal Crawford.
The intriguing suggestion from Rudolph is Mavericks forward Caron Butler.
Butler missed the last three quarters of the season after undergoing knee surgery in January. He has toyed with the idea of returning for the NBA Finals, although he has yet to play. Butler has had a more than solid career, averaging more than 15 points per game in every season of his career except 2004 (his second in the league). He even shoots decently for someone that is a high-volume shooter, although he is not an incredibly proficient or willing 3-point shooter and does not get to the line too often. Butler is not exactly the type of player Stan Van Gundy favors.
If Butler is willing to take the mid-level and he is healthy, Orlando could do much worse. Thus why the idea is so intriguing.
But as you can see each player the Magic seem to be targeting comes with a caveat. Each player comes with a warning or an asterisk. If they are healthy (that goes for Iguodala and Ellis too). Or if they can be a secondary player and be more efficient.
Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy have their work cut out for them in rebuilding this team.
It seems both have their jobs on the line.
It was reported earlier this week that Dwight Howard said he and Otis Smith have not even spoken with each other since the season ended. But that does not mean Howard has not been in contact with the team. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld along with Rudolph reported Howard has been in touch with ownership about making changes. He then asks his followers to “Do the math.”
This paired with Rudolph’s report that Howard has in the past presented the team with a list of players he would like the team to go after, which included Glen Davis, Charlotte’s Stephen Jackson and Atlanta forward and childhood friend Josh Smith, that have been consistently ignored for one reason or another, show the kind of pressure put on Smith to make things right.
Stan Van Gundy is not even free from the scrutiny. I have fielded a ton of complaints about Van Gundy’s coaching style and his methods as I am sure everyone with the Magic has thought about them too. I believe Van Gundy has some shortcomings, but he has had success and deserves at least a training camp to get things right.
But Rudolph is the first person I have seen to report Van Gundy may have lost his locker room.
“Sources say that several key players are fed up with Van Gundy’s perceived negativity, over coaching and an end of the world attitude. Players feel like Van Gundy makes big issues of minor things, such as their playful pre-game routine, asking his players at times to name other championship teams that do those types of silly things.
“It’s also been said that Van Gundy doesn’t allow players, particularly those on the perimeter, to play with any fluidity, which has everyone not named Howard looking over their shoulder for a quick hook if they get outside of his offense for a millisecond.”
Van Gundy pledged to be more positive with his players at the beginning of the season. He appeared to do that, but he just might be wired a certain way. If players are no longer responding to that… then, well… you know what that means.
Training camp should do him and the team some good.
Change is definitely coming to Orlando this summer, one way or another. What that change is, we are only beginning to find out.
Photos via DayLife.com.