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Magic Free Agency Update

By Chevall Kanhai
July 22, 2010

Here we are nearing the end of July and not even the first month of NBA Free Agency is over. Miami’s assembling an empire right in the backyard of Orlando yet; the minimal changes are being made by Otis Smith. The first splash into free agency for Orlando was signing back-up Point Guard Chris Duhon then, Quentin Richardson and finally, matching J.J. Redick’s offer from Chicago. All three moves are the only moves Smith feels are necessary to stay in contention for an NBA Championship. In the whirlpool of trade rumors Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson appeared to be headed to New Orleans in exchange for All-Star guard Chris Paul around the draft. Carter wasn’t immune to further trade rumors as he was supposedly headed to Washington D.C. for another All-Star Point Guard Gilbert Arenas. Obviously, both didn’t happen and Vince remains in Orlando’s plan for another run at the title in 2010-2011. Hearing from Magic fans across the web and in person, some believe that they team isn’t fit enough to beat Miami however, some believe they are just as good if not….better.

The New Guys
So, how does Duhon, Richardson and Redick make the Magic better than Lebron, Wade, and Bosh? Have Orlando fans forgotten about Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson? It seems so after the Magic struck out landing a big named free agent they had no money for. I like the signings of Duhon and Richardson and glad Redick is back. Duhon is a solid young back-up point guard. With the history of Jameer Nelson’s mid-season injuries he’s one that can fill the starting role well for a short period. Filling out the back-up Point Guard spot was one of Orlando’s main priorities coming into the off-season. Anthony Johnson and Jason Williams were both expiring and older. While Duhon is solid my only concern is his shooting on an above average Magic team. He’s a 40-percent shooter in his career and 36-percent from three point land. With many open looks he may get in the offense, knocking down shots is a must from him. Next, the Magic also needed to rejuvenate the swingman spot. Matt Barnes went on the market with Redick (restricted) and neither was assured back at the start of the off-season. Otis Smith brought in Quentin Richardson to ultimately replace Matt Barnes. This signing helps the Magic offensively, as Q-Rich shoots the three-ball well. He’ll definitely be a role player likewise Barnes in the offense but defensively is where I question him. I’d like to compare how they did against Paul Pierce in the playoffs this year. Both took shots at guarding Pierce and let the Truth win. So, I’m content on the fact that he might be as good as Barnes until he proves me wrong or right here. Finally, I’d like to welcome and congratulate J.J. Redick. He’s a newlywed and new to a three year 20-mill contract. I’m glad to have Redick back in a Magic uniform and open the possibility of him being Orlando’s start Shooting Guard in the near-future.

Better the Core
We can’t let Dwight, Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter off the hook. This was the “fantastic four” of All-Stars Orlando brought into last season that underachieved and because, according them they did not complete their goal of an NBA Championship. These are the players that are responsible for putting this team beyond the competition. Now I’m not knocking them here but as a die- hard Magic fan I’m hoping that they improve their game and come into to this focused like never before. The role players of this team feed off of the looks they create and the leadership from this core. Dwight Howard working with Hakeem Olajuwon is a great sign of bettering his overall game. Honestly, I would have like to see Dwight suit for Team USA in August for the FIBA Championships however; I don’t mind him taking time off to come into next season fresh as ever. Remember Magic fans this core lead us to 59 wins last season which was good enough for the second best record in the NBA. Of course disappointment shook in the Eastern Conference Finals however, the Magic didn’t fold in when down 0-3. Even with a “dream team” being built a little down south of Florida the Magic aren’t in fear as they still have the crown of the division to defend.


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