Basketball News Services
The Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic have been linked in unfulfilled trade talks all season long. Could this summer see some triggers being pulled?
The Magic's core will likely consist of shooting guard Tracy McGrady, small forward Grant Hill, and power forward/center Juwan Howard. There has been some talk of playing Hill at the point but if the Magic were to acquire a solid point guard, they would be able to move Hill to his more natural position, at least for many minutes a night. There has been a lot of talk about moving Drew Gooden.
Gooden is a former Kansas player, just like Paul Pierce, and though the two never overlapped, trying to bring Gooden to Boston would fit with Danny Ainge's moves all season of surrounding Pierce with friends and former teammates. He's already brought in Raef LaFrentz and Ricky Davis to lock-in Pierce emotionally to the Celtics. If Pierce also felt that Gooden could become next season's Carlos Boozer, then Boston might look to pursue him.
What could they offer the Magic? They could give up Chucky Atkins, an excellent veteran point guard who would provide immediate leadership to the Magic just like he has done to the Celtics. Even if Johnny Davis only plays Atkins 20 minutes a night at the point, with Hill getting 10-15 minutes at that position and Tyronne Lue doing 10-15, that's still a solid player at a position the Magic have woeful at since losing Darrell Armstrong.
Everybody wants to see the Magic franchise turn on a dime next season, but we all have to face the possibility that it would be another disappointing season. It's not certain McGrady will stay, especially if the Magic are worst in the division come next season's trade deadline.
So Orlando has to prepare for two possibilities: one is that they're doing well, and McGrady stays and the franchise survives; the other is that McGrady leaves and it's another rebuilding year.
In other words, every player they bring in must bring benefits to both possibilities. Atkins fits the bill.
Atkins would be an excellent point guard on a contending team; he would also be a great expiring contract to have for a rebuilding team.
The Magic can't afford to draft anyone but the most seasoned point guard, as they cannot afford a lengthy experiment. They need immediate help.
Boston-Orlando talks would be one way to do it.
Tracy McGrady slipped from All-NBA first team to All-NBA second team, replaced by Jason Kidd in the starting lineup.
Just because the season is over doesn't mean the players are unreachable. If you want to ask any Magic player a question, you canemailthe Magic. Be sure to include the name of the player you want the ask your question of.
Orlando Magic season tickets are available for purchase by calling 407-89-MAGIC (press 1). Monthly payment plans are available! If you'd like information about season tickets sent to you, click here.
Our own Colin Howard ofHoopsworld.com writes: A fading reminder of what used to be still remains. No one could have envisioned the fall from greatness. He used to be on the court, dominating the league like almost no one before him. 20-10-5 the nightly line. Now, he attends games in a suit and tie. Still part of the game and the team, but forever changed by an injury and a choice. Thus goes the story of Grant Hill.
Deanna Gugel ofThe Orlando Magicwrites: So the season already is over for your favorite NBA team, and you think there is no reason to watch the playoffs. You are so wrong. What unfolds during the next six weeks or so could play a big role in determining who plays where and who the power teams are next season.How well players perform during the postseason could help decide their futures, give tips about how they feel about their current teams -- or help you decide whether you might be interested in them for your favorite team.
Mark Francescutti ofThe Detroit Free Press writes: The Great Ankle Debacle could come to an end next season.The Magic is penciling Hill in at point forward. Disgruntled star Tracy McGrady may be traded, and Orlando expects Hill to help lead the team. Hill, who left Detroit in 2000, has had four operations on his left ankle, limiting him to 47 games since signing a seven-year, $93-million contract with the Magic. Orlando columnist David Whitley wrote last month that maybe Hill should give back some of the money. He wrote: Well, there's Dominik Hasek. After getting injured this season, Detroit's goalie turned down the remaining $3 million he was due. Hasek's sacrifice doesn't mean the other 99.99 percent of pro jocks are greedy. But how many Bentleys does a guy need? Even if it didn't provide cap relief, how about donating your salary to land mine survivors?
Mike Anthony ofThe Hartford Courant writes: [Nykesha] Sales spent the off-season working out with Wayne Hall, who also trains the Orlando Magic's Tracy McGrady.
Fred Kerber ofThe New York Postwrites: But for the Nets, the Bucks have been anything but a cakewalk - or even a series against the Knicks. The Bucks beat the Nets three times in four games this season. So it's not as if the Nets would feel all comfy with Milwaukee, although they would get homecourt advantage. As per team policy, no one would even hint at a preference."I'd rather play the Orlando Magic, but since they're no longer available we'll take whoever comes," said Richard Jefferson.
Jerry Brewer ofThe Orlando Magicwrites: Marquis Daniels hoodwinked convention.You just don't do what he has done, especially in the NBA, one of those leagues that coddles the coveted and condemns the obscure. You don't go from invisible to invaluable in one season. The game isn't played like that. The NBA way usually provides no way for the afterthought. There's always someone who makes more money, has more experience, or exerts more familiarity to a coach trying to make a career out of safety. It takes a while to become a Marquis in the NBA. So this is a special story.