George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel gives props to Dwight Howard...","articleSection":"","author":{"@type":"Person","name":"Andrew Melnick","url":""}}

Orlando Magic News & Notes: Offseason Grades, The Dream, Penny


George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel gives props to Dwight Howard.

"Howard has been working with Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon to improve his game this off-season in Houston. He even posted a photo of himself and the Dream on his Twitter account.Great move. As noted here before, if you develop any kind of outside touch, a little drop-step here and there, and it’s Game Over for the rest of the league.Frankly, Dwight needs a pick-me up to improve his game. His game really hasn’t improved exponentially since Patrick Ewing replaced Clifford Ray as the big-man coach with the Magic. An outside voice and influence would be useful, especially from a center noted for his strong outside touch."

You can read that story here.

Danny Savitzky of Saving the Skyhook took a look at Orlando’s offseason.

"Orlando Magic (59-23, Lost Eastern Conference Finals): CThe Orlando Magic will still compete deep into this year’s playoffs, but now that the Heat have bulked up, the Magic should have made some move to make the team better. Instead, they lost out on Matt Barnes, a tough defender and good shooter in the system. Good thing they matched the offer on J.J. Redick, or he would have been a substantial loss. Drafting a project center in Daniel Orton who won’t even break the second unit with all the 4s and 5s on the team was not a good idea for a team that needs more immediate role players to enhance the chances of winning a title."

You can see his complete Southeast Division grades here.

Daniel Marks of Dime Magazine explains why one Eastern Conference team had an underrated offseason.

You can find more after the jump.

Fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers have a message for the Magic: Beat the Heat.

J.J. Redick played the waiting game and it paid off.

"“I was literally getting up every 10 minutes and pacing around this square” in Florence, Italy, Redick recalled Monday, describing how his new contract terms had been discussed on the phone.The Magic had to match the three-year, $20 million offer of the Chicago Bulls in order to bring back the 6-foot-4 Redick, who played his first four seasons here.The Redicks’ wedding plans happened to bump into the NBA’s free-agency period, and they left for Europe two weeks ago not knowing where their home would be when they came back. Once the Bulls extended their offer, the Redicks knew they were in for a big raise, but they didn’t know whether the the Magic would match it.“My gut feeling changed about seven times during that week,” Redick said. “I saw some of the stuff that (general manager) Otis (Smith) said during the week, that it was ownership’s decision. Toward the end of the week I realized that I was most likely going to be back here.”"

Dick Scanlon has that story here.

Is premature twittering becoming a problem?

Are there problems in Orlando’s locker room?

Despite the rumors, Penny Hardaway is not returning to the NBA.

"But Hardaway, who celebrated his 39th birthday Sunday, told the Orlando Sentinel he is not trying to make a grand return to the NBA.“That was something that I felt in my heart that I felt my talent would match well with those guys. I wasn’t trying to come back to the league, just that I could help in that role,” Penny Hardaway told the Orlando Sentinel Monday. “If it doesn’t work out, I’m going to stay retired.”Hardaway, a former all-star guard with the Orlando Magic, said he was taken aback by the amount of attention his announcement made saying “I didn’t think it was going to go that deep.”"

Shannon Owens of the Orlando Sentinel has that story here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page, and co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days ( Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here.)