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Jodie Meeks Has Surgery on Right Foot, Out Indefinitely

2016 July 19
by Adam Papageorgiou

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It’s bad news for one of Rob Hennigan’s summer acquisitions. Orlando Magic guard Jodie Meeks had surgery on Tuesday to further stabilize the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. He will be ‘out indefinitely’ and his return to action will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation.

The 28-year-old Meeks was acquired on June 29th from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for a future conditional second round pick. By all accounts, it was a low-risk move from the Magic. Not only did they give little in return, but Meeks’ contract is only for the one season at $6.5 million.

It’s not improbable to think that the 41st pick of the 2009 NBA Draft could miss the entire ’16-’17 campaign, and never actually wear an Orlando uniform during a regular season contest. Hopefully we see a mid-season return. That means more potential minutes for players like Mario Hezonja, the recently acquired C.J. Wilcox, and even C.J. Watson should coach Frank Vogel try to give the now third-string point guard some minutes at the SG spot.

Meeks played in only three games with Detroit last season. The University of Kentucky product originally suffered a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot on Oct. 28th against the Utah Jazz, the second game of that 2015-2016 regular season. Meeks played the final game of the regular season for Stan Van Gundy’s club on April 13th, notching 20 points in 26 minutes on 6-of-15 shooting (4-of-9 on 3s) in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. He would play 1:41 in a Game 2 blowout loss against the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.

Losing Meeks certainly is a blow to Orlando’s wing depth. They could absolutely use the abilities of a career 37.3 3PT% shooter. Meeks has played in 418 career NBA regular season games, starting in 194 of them. The 20 career NBA playoff contests is solid experience for the inexperienced core. On December 30, 2014 in Orlando, Meeks connected on a career-high 9 three-point field goals, setting a new Magic record for most three-pointers made by an opponent in a game, as well as a record inside Amway Center.

While I wish Jodie a speedy recovery, his absence from the court will not make or break this squad’s season. This is still a playoff team if all goes as planned. Hopefully Meeks can provide good support for his teammates in the locker room and on the bench as he rehabilitates.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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Penny & Pops Podcast: 2016 Free Agency Has Been Busy for Orlando

2016 July 16
by Adam Papageorgiou

New MBO Facebook Profile Pic

With my return back from vacation, the past few weeks of Orlando Magic trades and 2016 free agency signings get broken down and discussed. Starters and depth charts get sifted through, and why the national media continues to perplex us with its pessimism for what Rob Hennigan and his front office have accomplished this summer. We give Summer League a last mention. Finally, will this Orlando franchise make the playoffs?

We go through the gauntlet of new Magic men: Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Green, D.J. Augustin, even Stephen Zimmerman and C.J. Wilcox. The re-signing of Evan Fournier and the departure of Magic men from the ’15-’16 campaign.

Warning: Adult Language

 

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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Fournier Being Left Off France’s National Team Seems Wrong

2016 July 16
by Adam Papageorgiou

PHOTO BASKET 6

The French national basketball team’s 12-man roster for the 2016 Olympics – that’s taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this August – was revealed this week. One very noticeable name was lacking that from that list…recently re-signed Orlando Magic wing player Evan Fournier.

 

 

Evan Fournier was the NBA’s highest-scoring Frenchman in the ’15-’16 campaign at 15.4 points per contest. Not Nicolas Batum (14.9 ppg). Not Tony Parker (11.9 ppg).

Every French media outlet recognizes the 23-year-old Fournier as the future leader of the national team. At 13 years old, he was in a TV commercial with Boris Diaw. Nando de Colo is already taking responsibilities away from the aging Tony Parker. Nic Batum is still in his prime, but it’s Fournier who brings the scoring versatility and the charisma that fans get attracted to.

Fournier played huge roles in France’s bronze medals at the 2014 FIBA World Cup as well as the 2015 EuroBasket tournaments.

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Orlando Trades Marble and 2nd-Rounder for C.J. Wilcox

2016 July 15
by Adam Papageorgiou

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It was officially announced on Friday that the Orlando Magic have acquired guard C.J. Wilcox and cash considerations from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Devyn Marble and a future second round draft pick. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel was first to report the trade, stating that the second-rounder Orlando is giving up will be in the year 2020, and is coming from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The 25-year-old 6’5″ guard played in 23 games this recent sophomore NBA season he had with the Clippers, averaging 3.0 ppg in 7.3 minutes per contest.

This is all about giving a potentially great 3-point shooter a chance to make a bench impact. The University of Washington product shot a very respectable 39.1 3PT% in ’15-’16.

He tallied a career-high 19 points at Phoenix this past April, and took part in 2 Clippers playoff games. Because of J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford always being in front of him in the rotation, it was tough for the 28th overall pick of the 2014 Draft to get off Doc Rivers‘ bench. Wilcox played in 21 NBA Developmental League games, averaging 18.6 ppg., 3.9 rpg. and 2.8 apg, while shooting 41.7 percent from three-point range.

Wilcox has only notched 44 career games with the Clippers, scoring 111 points in 268 total minutes on 38.1 3PT%. Fun fact: Wilcox made his NBA debut on December 3, 2014 against the Magic (see above photo).

The Utah native finished his college career as Washington’s all-time leader in three-pointers made. He is one of three players in Pac-12 history to record at least 1,700 career points, 275 career three-pointers, and 400 career rebounds.

The end of Devyn Marble’s Magic tenure is unfortunate, but not surprising. Orlando was going to flat out waive him prior to his contract becoming guaranteed this weekend, but then this Clippers opportunity presented itself. It was last reported that L.A. was waiving the Iowa Hawkeyes wing product.

Originally acquired in the Arron AfflaloEvan Fournier deal in the summer of ’14, the 56th overall selection of the 2014 Draft played in 28 games with Orlando last season, averaging 2.1 ppg and 1.4 rpg in 8.9 minutes per contest. Devyn has appeared in 44 career NBA regular season games, including seven starts with the Magic. Though his defense was always decent, Devyn has not been able to find his shooting touch. Marble is hoisting up career 30.4 FG% and 22.2 3PT% marks. The 23-year-old disappointed at the Orlando Summer League too.

Had his contract been guaranteed, Marble was expected to make about $980,000 this upcoming ’16-’17 campaign. Orlando will be paying Wilcox about $1.2 million this season. For 2017-2018, Orlando holds a team option on Wilcox’s $2.18 million estimated salary.

Wilcox actually fractured his hand minutes into this month’s Orlando Summer League. Bad luck. He’s already had surgery though, and should be set for training camp when that takes place in a few months. Wilcox’s name has always been floated around as a possible Orlando target since midway through his rookie year. I’ve always been curious about his abilities myself, and definitely approve of this low-risk transaction. The Magic roster currently stands at 13 signed players.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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Magic 8-Ball: Talk About a Crazy Two Weeks

2016 July 12
by Adam Papageorgiou

Magic8Ball

Back from my 2-week vacation, the Orlando Magic have improved vastly in that span of time thanks to a wide variety of moves. GM Rob Hennigan went the aggressive route this 2016 NBA free agency in a strong attempt to get this franchise back in the playoffs. I think his decisions may pay off.  

 

#1: Show Biyombo the Money

That’s a fun personality, man. I don’t know how he’ll contribute on the court – whether as a starter or as a 25+ minute bench player – but that’s a rare character that you’ll find in the NBA.

I knew Bismack Biyombo was going to get paid a lot for the huge playoff run he had with the Toronto Raptors. I just didn’t picture the Magic being the team to do that, especially after shipping out Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and Domantas Sabonis for Serge Ibaka. The Magic went from no big-time shot blockers to potentially having two top-5 rim protectors.

Don’t get hung up on the contract. Four years at $17 million per season is a lot to give to a player that doesn’t have a long track record of consistent play, but Biyombo doesn’t turn 24 years old until late August. Both Ibaka and Biyombo have plenty of similarities: Grew up in the Congo, had difficult paths to the NBA where it took them getting to Spain before they truly landed on front office radars, French speakers, versatile bigs that can swat anything in sight.

I’m excited. Don’t get me wrong though, this doesn’t mean Nikola Vucevic‘s job or future is in danger. On the contrary. Orlando now has 3 awesome bigs.

Rob Hennigan and Frank Vogel sharing some jokes and laughs during their press conferences should have Magic fans confident.

 

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Dentmon’s Late Three Leads Orlando Magic White to Summer League Championship

2016 July 8

 

ORLANDO, FL - JULY 8:  of the Orlando Magic-White against the Detroit Pistons during the game on July 8, 2016 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

                (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

With the Orlando Summer League championship on the line and the game tied in overtime, Justin Dentmon dug deep into his bag of tricks and threw up a one-foot step back three-pointer that led the Orlando Magic White team to a 87-84 Championship Friday victory over Stanley Johnson and the Detroit Pistons.

While Dentmon’s shot looked like a trick shot to the majority of the people in the gym, it wasn’t a surprise to any of his teammates.

“Well actually, that’s his go-to shot so none of us were surprised,” said Arinze Onuaku, who had another strong performance Friday. “But I mean, it’s hard for the defense to adjust to that. He’s been shooting that shot all week in practice so we’ve all seen it.”

Coach Bill Peterson went on to joke that he was glad that Dentmon went to his bag of tricks since he was 2-for-9 from three before hitting the championship-clinching shot.

“I just looked at the stat sheet, and I thought, ‘well I’m glad he didn’t shoot it normal, I’m glad he’s trying something different.'”

With Dentmon’s shot sealing the win, the Orlando Magic White finished off an undefeated in, capping it with a Summer League title on Friday.

“It feels good,” said Dentmon, who was one assist shy of a double-double to go along his 16 points Friday. “A championship is still a championship and we beat a really good team in the Pistons. They played us very tough. It came down to the wire and just credit to them, they played an unbelievable game.”

Onuaku said after the game that even though this was a Summer League game, the goal was always to win a championship.

“From day one when we started two-a-days we knew that the goal was to win a championship,” said Onuaku. “We were able to do that.”

The Magic White, with no first or second-round picks on their roster, bought in to what coach Bill Peterson preached to them, and that was to play together.

“It’s a credit to the coach,” said Dentmon. “He brought us together. We had never played with each other in our lives, and for us to come together and bond like that is unbelievable.”

For Coach Peterson, winning the Summer League was a very cool moment for him, especially to do it with a group he grew very fond of.

“It’s really pleasing,” said Peterson after the game. “It has to do a lot with their spirit, their fight and the kinds of individuals we had on our team. I told them all week that I was really proud, even guys that weren’t playing were up off the bench and the bench was engaged and, you know, we’re not just a group that’s been together at all.”

Peterson also mentioned that he couldn’t pick an MVP because a different player stepped up every day for the Magic. On Friday, every Magic starter scored in double-figures, led by Kevin Murphy’s 19 points.

Murphy led the Magic with 19 points on 6-for-12 shooting Friday, and gave them a much-needed lift early in the game, knocking in 12 of his 19 points in the first quarter.

Onuaku capped off a strong week with another double-double, finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds against Detroit. The 28-year old big man averaged 14.8 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game in 5 games for the Magic.

For Detroit, Stanley Johnson scored 21 points on 8-for-19 shooting, while the Pistons’ first-round draft pick, Henry Ellenson, had a game-high 22 points while hauling in 11 rebounds.

 

Augustin Looking Forward to Stability, Playing With Payton

2016 July 8
by Juan Toribio

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Having played for five NBA franchises in the past three seasons, finding a long-term home was the most important part during free agency for point guard D.J. Augustin.

Augustin, 28, who just welcomed his third child, was looking for long-term insurance. When the Orlando Magic gave offered him a reported four-year, $29 million dollar contract, Augustin was quick to jump on the offer.

“It was very important,” Augustin said on the importance of signing a long-term contract. “I have a family, I have three kids now so just being somewhere where is stable, basically a long-term place was very important to me this summer. I’m excited, man.”

One of the areas where the front office wanted to improve this offseason was outside shooting, and Augustin has been one of the best outside shooting back-up point guards in the NBA.

After being in and out the rotation in Oklahoma City, Augustin was then traded to the Denver Nuggets in the deal that sent Randy Foye to OKC. Following the trade, Augustin showed what he was capable of, shooting 41% from behind-the-arc.

“That just didn’t work out,” Augustin said on his situation with Oklahoma City. “Obviously they had Russell [Westbrook] playing the majority of the minutes over there. They drafted a young kid, that situation just didn’t work out. It was just a matter of time with that situation ..  But I’ve been doing what I did the last few games in Denver for the last four years. Guys getting injured, stepping up, playing starter minutes, playing whatever type of minutes the coach needs me to do. I’m confident in my game, I know what I can do, and I think most of the NBA knows also.”

Besides his shooting ability, the Magic are looking to solidify their back-up point guard spot, which was a problem for them last season.

The 28-year old point guard knows that he was brought on to be the back-up point guard, but he’s ready to help Elfrid Payton take the next step in his development.

“Elfrid is actually from New Orleans, and so am I, so we’ve already been talking and stuff,” said Augustin on his relationship with Payton. “Just being there, you know, whatever he needs me to do to help him, know things off the court, what not to do, what to do, how to handle certain things, especially on the court. I usually lead by example so in practice and just spending time together off the court. I’m just trying to be the best example I can be for him, and at the same time we’re going to compete in practice and just try and make each other better, make the team better and that’s what point guards do.”

Despite being brought in to help on the offensive end, Augustin knows just how good this team can be on the defensive end of the court.

“I think we have a chance to be a really good defensive team and that’s what wins games, that’s what wins championships,” said Augustin. “ That’s why I know that we have a good chance of being a playoff team this year because of that. Offense usually comes from defense so that’s going to be a big key for us this year, playing great defense.”

 

Marble, Graham Lead Respective Magic Teams to Victories Thursday

2016 July 7

Thursday turned out to be a very good day for both Orlando Magic Summer League teams.

With Championship Friday just a day away, both the Orlando Magic Blue and White team had something to play for on Thursday.

The Orlando Blue team was looking for their first victory of the week, while also trying to avoid playing in the last place game, and they did just that with a hard-fought 96-94 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Devyn Marble, who struggled in the first couple of games, had his best game by far, knocking in 21 points on 50% shooting and also adding 6 assists and 5 steals for the Magic. Marble has been fighting for a roster spot, and could possibly be one of the Magic’s Training Camp invitees.

While Marble was the star for the Magic team, Nick Johnson also continued his solid play, filling up the stat sheet with 19 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds. Johnson also knocked down a huge three-pointer with under a minute left to give the Magic some breathing room against the Mavericks.

Orlando’s second-round pick, who was signed to a deal Thursday, continued his solid play with 12 points and 5 blocks on Thursday. The one negative for the rookie was that he committed seven fouls against the Mavs.

For Dallas, Vander Blue had a team-high 17 points, but he did most of his damage at the free-throw line as he shot 4-for-12 on Thursday. A lot of that had to do with Marble’s defense.

While the Magic Blue avoided playing in the last place game, the Magic White squad looked to stay undefeated and move on to the championship game, which will be played Friday at Noon.

The Magic White have been very efficient distributing the ball this week, and that continued on Thursday, having four guys reach double-figures in their 79-69 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The win secured the Magic White playing in the Championship game on Friday against either Detroit or Miami.

Treveon Graham was the star yet again for the White team, pouring in 24 points on 7-for-11 shooting. The former VCU standout appears to be playing his way into a training camp invite with the Magic, or perhaps another team. Graham is averaging 17.3 points per game for the Magic, which is among the leaders this week.

Graham did a lot of the damage, but Arinze Onuaku also continued his strong play with 15 points, while hauling in 7 rebounds. Justin Dentmon also added 15 for the Magic.

Friday will be the last day of the 2016 Summer League team and the Magic White, will once again, have an opportunity to win the tournament. On the other hand, Stephen Zimmerman and Marble will try to keep impressing when the Magic Blue team plays at 2 p.m. Friday.

Jeff Green Ready to Mentor, Help Magic Reach Playoffs

2016 July 7

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For the first time in his NBA career, Jeff Green, 29, was a free agent, but it didn’t take long for him to sign a reported one-year, 15-million deal with the Orlando Magic hours after free agents were allowed to talk to teams.

“When you’re a free agent .. when the team wants you, when you want to be part of the organization and the team, it makes it easier to make the decision,” said Green in his introductory press conference Thursday. “When the time came and Orlando called, I was ready to say yes right then and there.”

The 29-year old said during his introductory press conference Thursday, that he has a lot of things to prove on the court, but he is also ready to embrace a new leadership role for a young team, given that he experienced something similar in his time with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“Most definitely because I’ve been where they’re trying to get, and that’s the playoffs,” he said. “You know, I’m looking to get further from where I have been with this team that we have and it starts with communication and chemistry.

“I’ve talked to a bunch of guys on the team already and they’re all eager to get started, all eager to try and get it to the next level. With myself and Serge being there, we can give our experience and we know what it takes, so by them watching how we come into the gym every day, work, and to get better and to try and accomplish that, they’ll just follow our lead.”

One player, in particular, that Green believes he can have a big impact on is talented swingman, Aaron Gordon.

Gordon is entering his third year with the Magic and improved in every major category last season for the Magic. Green has been impressed with Gordon’s growth, and he believes he can help Gordon elevate his game.

“Just by my actions, coming into the gym everything and working,” Green said Thursday. “You can only say so much, but I know Aaron is a hard worker. Seeing his growth through the couple of years that he’s been in the league, and you know, I watched him in college, so I know he’s going to work hard to be the best player he could be and to help this team. My job is just to lead by example and that’s to come in and work, and work, and work to get better.”

Frank Vogel and the Magic were looking to get more versatile this offense. The three biggest moves for the team this offseason were the signings of Green, Bizmack Biyombo and Serge Ibaka. All three of those players are expected to play a big role next season, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Green has already started to think about how good this Magic team can be defensively, but he knows there is still work to do.

“When you think about it, it’s scary. It’s scary,” said Green. “But it’s all about transferring, it starts day one when we enter the gym altogether and we start practice and then transfer that into the games. It’s going to take time.

“Putting together a team, great things aren’t going to happen overnight, so you know, it’s going to take time, we just have to come into the gym and get better each day, and just trust the process.”

Going into yet another contract season, Green believes that taking on this challenge was the right move for himself.

“I think it’s a great fit for myself,” said Green. “With the team we have, I think we can do some damage in the Eastern Conference, I’m looking forward to it.”

Orlando Magic White Stays Undefeated With 95-90 Win Over New York

2016 July 6

The Orlando Magic White squad continues their impressive play in the 2016 Summer League, staying undefeated after a 95-90 win over the New York Knicks’ Summer League team.

One of the reasons that the White team has had success this week is because of a balanced scoring attack. The Magic had five players reach double-figures on Wednesday, led by Treveon Graham’s 19.

The Orlando White defense has been inconsistent in the tournament, and wasn’t good today, allowing the Knicks — who have been awful offensively — to shoot 45% and score 90 points, but the Magic have shown great continuity on offense for the second straight summer.

Magic shot just under 50% from the floor on Wednesday and despite never taking a huge lead over the Knicks, the Magic were in control for the most part.

Arinze Onuaku continued his strong week with a double-double Wednesday, scoring 16 points and hauling in 13 rebounds for the now 3-0 Orlando Magic White team. Brandon Fields continued with 18 points, while Patricio Garino chipped in with 14 of his own.

For the Knicks, Ron Baker caught fire in the second half, finishing with a game-high 22 points on 8-for-15 shooting. Chasson Randle finished with 17 for New York.

With just one game left before Championship Friday, the Magic are in third place, just one point behind the Detroit Pistons for second place, and two points behind the leader Miami Heat, which stand at 22 points through three games.

The Magic are back at it on Thursday at 3 p.m. against a Los Angeles Clippers Summer League team that has yet to win a game.