As Gooden As Gone?

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

Is there really a chance Drew Gooden will stay in Orlando? His latest comments toThe Orlando Sentinelhave him wanting to stay and make another go of it, even if it means playing alongside Juwan Howard again. But with Orlando likely drafting high, where all the big power forwards lurk, and with the Magic already saying they might want to trade their draft pick for a big man, Gooden may fall to the third-string. Jerry West and the Memphis Grizzlies gave up on him; will the Magic follow suit?

He's a young guy and can easily be next year's Carlos Boozer or Zach Randolph -- a breakout player who's a monster on the boards and a low-post scoring threat. The power forward is the glory position in today's NBA, with the likes of Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett at the spot. Gooden has tried playing both center and small forward this season but it doesn't fit his skill-set.

He's a power forward and there's nothing he can do about it.

In the long run, he can develop into a poor man's Kenyon Martin. He doesn't have the emotional edge that Martin carries nightly (who does?) but he can be as athletic on the break and as gritty defensively, if he puts his mind to it.

Gooden would be best served on an up-tempo team where he is far from the first option. If he has good position, he can work his magic, but he ought to focus on getting rebounding position and sneaking in around the defense for easy passes from the guards.

In other words, he'd be a great fit in Boston. The Celtics are looking to build an up-tempo team, and they're looking to surround Paul Pierce with some versatile big men who can rebound and score in the post. With Pierce around, the low post tends not to get double-teamed, for the simple reason that once the ball gets back to Pierce, it would be almost impossible to double-team him.

Nothing is for certain, of course, and Gooden may well stay. But if the Magic are looking to move at least one power forward, wouldn't it make more sense for them to move the guy that head coach Johnny Davis plays less?

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Tim Povtak ofThe Orlando Sentinel writes: As much as he hated the losing last season, Drew Gooden would hate leaving Orlando this summer.Like everyone else, Gooden has heard the trade rumors - that almost everyone on the roster is vulnerable after such a horrific season - but wants another chance at winning here.

Robert MacLeod ofThe Globe and Mail writes: But the Raptors remain cool to the prospect, pointing out Erving has never really had a hand in running a club since retiring as a player after the 1986-87 season. Erving was the executive vice-president of the Orlando Magic for six years, primarily in the role of a basketball consultant.He resigned last June. As of yesterday afternoon, the Raptors had not had any contact with Erving, one club source said.

Doug Smith ofThe Toronto Starwrites: Julius Erving is on the Raptors' radar. Minority owner Larry Tanenbaum confirmed last night that the team will contact the hall of famer about a vacant front-office position, a move that would immediately boost the profile of the sagging franchise around the NBA.Erving, a former executive vice-president of the Orlando Magic, has been keenly interested in a position with the Raptors since the end of the regular season, when the search for somebody to replace fired general manager Glen Grunwald began in earnest.

Mike Bianchi ofThe Orlando Sentinel writes: Meanwhile in Orlando, the Magic are begging for a new arena, and Mayor Buddy Dyer still is trying to scrape together enough cash to renovate aging Tinker Field in hopes of luring a minor-league baseball team back to town. It's pretty bleak when your minor-league franchise, the Orlando Rays, leaves for Alabama last year and changes its name to -- are you ready for this? -- the Montgomery Biscuits. Jacksonville is stealing from us, Montgomery is stealing from us, who's next -- Pocatello or Paducah?