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Orlando Magic agree to terms with Peyton Siva

2014 July 29
by Andrew Melnick

siva-summer

The Orlando Magic were on the hunt for another point guard but once they signed veteran Luke Ridnour, it looked like their search was over.

That clearly wasn’t the case.

According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, the Magic have agreed to a deal with free agent point guard Peyton Siva, who was waived by the Detroit Pistons two weeks ago.

Siva helped lead the Louisville Cardinals to the 2013 National Title and then was drafted with the 56th-overall pick in the second round of the draft. Siva averaged 2.3 points and 1.4 assists in 9.3 minutes per game. He shot 31.6% from the field while appearing in 24 games.

Siva played with the Pistons in the Orlando Pro Summer League earlier this month. He had an impressive first two games before he injured his hamstring, but after the Pistons signed veteran point guard D.J. Augustin, they cut ties with Siva – they simply didn’t have the space to keep him.

The Magic now have 16 players on their roster so it is likely one or two of Magic’s current players don’t make into the regular season and could wind up playing for their new D-League affiliate, the Erie Bayhawks.

UPDATE: Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel reports Siva’s contract is non-guaranteed and he will report to Erie following the season.

This is clearly the kind of player the Magic had in mind when they entered into their agreement with Erie. In fact, Siva is actually a more talented player than they likely initially thought they’d have in Erie.

Maurice Harkless’ World Cup Absence Leaves Puerto Ricans Confused

2014 July 29
by Adam Papageorgiou

Moe

Orlando Magic wing player Maurice Harkless will not be playing for Puerto Rico in the FIBA World Cup that takes places in Spain beginning on August 30th, as reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Robbins communicated with Harkless’ agent, Happy Walters, and below is a quote from Walters on why his client won’t be playing for Puerto Rico:

“He is 100 percent focused on getting better every day. He felt that although representing Puerto Rico would be an invaluable experience, it was not realistic to think that he could work on his game within a team atmosphere the way he could by staying here.”

During the 2013-14 Magic season, Harkless averaged 7.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 24.4 minutes per contest. It’s safe to say that Maurice’s responsibilities with the Puerto Rican squad would have risen significantly from what he’s accustomed to in Orlando. Practicing and developing stronger chemistry with Magic teammates is fantastic, but you can’t replace the experience of taking part in international competition. It’s a different brand of basketball, something that teaches you lessons you won’t learn in any other environment. Hopefully it’s not something Maurice regrets in the future. This upcoming season is indeed crucial in determining what the 21-year-old’s future with the franchise will look like.

The Puerto Rican Basketball Federation is confused to say the least in regards to Harkless’ absence. Back in January, Harkless met with Puerto Rican team officials. Maurice from then on was assumed to be a lock to join the roster during the NBA offseason.

The Basketball Federation’s President, Carlos Beltran, was interviewed by PrimeraHora.com on Monday and he doesn’t hide the Puerto Rican team’s frustrations. In the article, Beltran explains how they made a final ditch effort at getting Harkless to agree to join the Puerto Rican team. Beltran says they contacted Harkess’ agent on Monday, but obviously to no avail with Tuesday’s news that Harkless won’t be playing.

The first true sign of distress apparently came a few months ago. Harkless was supposed to fly out to Puerto Rico on May 26th in what was to be a trip that would have lasted a few days. The 6′ 9″ New York Native ended up not going as he declined the reserved plane tickets. Communication between the two parties dropped off significantly since then and the relationship hasn’t repaired itself. Here’s a translated Beltran quote that almost alleges possible Magic team involvement:

“I honestly do not know what happened. Everything was going great and now Harkless canceled the trip and everything is complicated. Since then everything has been more difficult. We do not know if the pressure of the Orlando Magic team or the people around him, but communication has not flowed as before. Was a little frustrating, “Beltran said.

It’s not an accusation that the Magic got involved, but clearly Beltran wants answers from someone. This wouldn’t be the first time that a player was allegedly kept away from fulfilling national team duties. The San Antonio Spurs are currently preventing Manu Ginobili from making the trip to Spain in late August and play for Argentina. Ginobili is coming off another NBA title but is also healing from injury. There have been numerous similar situations over the years in which a player’s club/team has held back or discouraged their paid player from participating in national team duty. It’s been an ongoing tug of war affair for decades. Every owner, coach, player, has a different viewpoint on this issue, and there are appropriate arguments for either side. Hopefully we will see Harkless participating in international competition one day.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Oladipo & Harris Begin Team USA Basketball Week

2014 July 29
by Adam Papageorgiou

DurantTobias

Monday marked the first time that both Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris got to wear a Team USA jersey. Although both Orlando Magic players are only on the USA Select team, that didn’t stop them from cherishing the moment. An opportunity to represent your country by practicing and interacting with some of the best ballers on the planet. All quotes and videos are courtesy of OrlandoMagic.com’s John Denton. Here’s an interview of Tobias as well as one of Victor following the conclusion of Day 1.

“No question about it, this will always be special for me,’’ Oladipo said of his first session with Team USA. “Being able to be a part of something bigger than yourself, it’s always a great story. I’m looking forward to the rest of this week and I’m keeping my focus on getting better.’’

Added Harris: “It was definitely a great experience being in this type of organization and with these types of players. I’m just taking advantage of it.’’

Tobias and Victor will have a few more days to make an impression as they’ll continue to help prepare Team USA in Las Vegas. There is a small chance that one of these Magic men could make the Team USA final 12-man roster that will be heading to Spain for the FIBA World Cup in late August, but it’s highly unlikely. Being on the Select squad is an important stepping stone in Tobias and Victor eventually playing in a tournament for Team USA. At minimum, this experience is building even more chemistry between two of Orlando’s most promising players.

“It’s fun having him out here. He works hard just like me. For him to get recognized, it just shows how hard he works,’’ Oladipo said of Harris. “This is only going to better us and build our chemistry for the season. We just have to continue to keep growing as players and people.’’

“I used to watch this on TV when I was younger, so to be out here and in it now, it’s kind of surreal and humbling,’’ Oladipo said. “I’m just flying around and playing D. I’m trying to help my team and get those guys ready for the World Games. So I’m just going to keep playing hard and getting better.’’


Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Magic Fans Can Attend Dance Team’s Final Auditions

2014 July 28
by Adam Papageorgiou

DancerAuditions

The Orlando Magic basketball team are the not the only ones making roster changes this summer. The Magic Dancers are getting set to complete their squad cuts as they have to go from 30 women down to twenty. Magic fans have the opportunity to see the final audition live this Thursday July 31st at the Disney Atrium inside Amway Center from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The dancers will show off their last routines in front of a panel of judges. Victor Oladipo will be the special guest host.  The audition will be streamed live online at OrlandoMagic.com as well.

If you would like to attend the event that will conclude with the introduction of the new 2014-2015 Magic Dancers presented by Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, click here to claim and download your ticket(s). The ticket also grants shoppers 20% off at the Orlando Magic Team Shop. A great chance to stock up on new gear and apparel.

There is currently an online voting page on the Orlando Magic’s official website where you can vote for which Magic Dancer(s) you want to see make the squad. There doesn’t appear to be a limit at all on how many women you can vote for or the amount of times you can vote. So for those individuals who care strongly about the dance team, this is your best opportunity to voice your opinion. Polls will remain open until the last dance routine.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Comparing Summer League Performances of ’14 Draft Picks

2014 July 28
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The Orlando Summer League breakdowns and analysis for Magic rookies Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton have already been done, but what about comparing the #4 and #10 selections with other first round selections? Before examining other performances, it was of the common basketball media’s opinion that Elfrid impressed while Aaron left a lot to be desired.

Aaron notched 7.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, and 1.2 apg on 35.0 FG% and 47.8 FT%. Elfrid averaged 9.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 7.0 apg, and 1.4 spg on 59.3 FG% with 4 turnovers per contest. But what do those statistics really mean when stacking up the 15-highest selected Draft prospects? Let’s take a look.

2014 Summer League Players

Red means ‘worst’ and green means ‘best’ in regards to the statistical categories. We can see that both Elfrid’s 7.0 assists per game and his 59.3 FG% were superior to all of his competitors listed. It does need to be said that Elfrid’s 27 field goal attempts were the least out of the bunch. So the 20-year-old is an efficient shooter and a pass-first guard. The 4 turnovers per contest are not a big worry when Elfrid is dishing constantly and keeping defenses honest. Embrace change, Magic fans, this is fun.

Along with the Magic men, Boston’s Marcus Smart was the only other player on that chart who played in Orlando while everyone else participated in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League. Smart shot a gawdy 29.4 FG%. Chicago’s Tyler Ennis was the worst at 21.9 FG%. Denver’s combo guard Gary Harris scored the most of the group at 18.6 ppg. However, Gary was hot one game and freezing cold the next as he balanced out to a subpar 32.1 FG%. His 2.6 blocks per game are a nice balance buffer though.

Then there’s Dante Exum. The Aussie I begged Orlando to take, but was passed up in favor of Aaron Gordon. Utah’s experiment of playing Dante at shooting guard with Trey Burke having the on-the-ball role didn’t translate well. Dante shot 30.8 FG% and still coughed up 3 turnovers per game. Smart, Ennis, Harris, and Exum. All guards who can handle the ball, all guys Magic GM Rob Hennigan could have preferred over Elfrid but obviously didn’t. That trade with Philly to move up to grab Payton is looking decent so far.

The top two picks – Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker – averaged about fifteen and a half points and shot in the low-40s. Similar steals, similar free throw shooting, similar terrible 3-point shooting. There were some stark differences. Parker rebounded at a much better rate while Wiggins was more active defensively and protected the ball. Jabari’s 5 turnovers per game are inexcusable.

Aaron Gordon’s 35.0 FG% doesn’t look so awful when there are five other guys with lower percentages. Especially when the Arizona Wildcat was 0-for-10 from 3-point range, a shot we knew he’d struggle with but one he’s going to have to improve if he wants to see extra court minutes. Considering he was selected to be a defensive machine, the 18-year-old not recording a single steal in 5 games is perplexing though.

Julius Randle may eventually be a steal for the Lakers, but he didn’t prove it in Vegas. His stat lines were very Brandon Bass-like. Nik Stauskas and Doug McDermott – both would have been valuable perimeter additions for the Magic – should have Kings and Bulls fans thrilled with their potent shooting abilities. Zach LaVine, Adreian Payne, and T.J. Warren all appear to be serviceable at a minimum.

Remember how many ‘experts’ rated Noah Vonleh over both Randle and Gordon? Well, the Indiana Hoosier shot 28.4 FG%. At least Vonleh rebounded well, but Noah couldn’t avoid foul trouble and appeared very lost and confused for large stints on both ends of the floor.

Summer League historically is just the beginning for these guys. A great or awful showing doesn’t mean that’s how it’ll always be. Andre Drummond was horrendous in his first Summer League. Can’t say too many bad things about Detroit’s big man now. Victor Oladipo had similar early Summer League jitters as Elfrid did, but both improved on a daily basis when dealing with guard pressure and are accustomed to handling a press. Michael Carter-Williams couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean last summer, but he improved enough to take home Rookie of the Year. Kevin Durant couldn’t shoot or rebound back in 2007, yet he went on to win ROY as well.

My point being that all professional athletes can hone their craft when given enough time and the proper guidance to tweak what needs to be fixed. It’s all about the player’s work ethic and ability to adjust that can determine whether or not a Summer League’s worth of statistics means anything or not. Whatever we’ve seen out of Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon, and even Devyn Marble is no where near the final product of what they can be in the future.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Andrew Nicholson Leads Canada in Win Over Georgia

2014 July 26
by Adam Papageorgiou

GeorgiaCanada

The Canadian senior national basketball team defeated Georgia (the country, not the state) 83-66 on the final day of the Pokal Adecco exhibition tournament in Slovenia. Orlando Magic big man Andrew Nicholson ended up coming off the bench as Head Coach Jay Triano preferred to go with Kelly Olynyk and Dwight Powell in the frontcourt. That didn’t prevent ‘Drew from having his best game in Slovenia as the 24-year-old from Mississauga, Ontario tallied 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists in 19 minutes. Only Brady Heslip had more points with fourteen.  The victory concludes Canada’s 3-game mini-tourney with a 2-1 record.

Former Magic player Zaza Pachulia finished with 11 points and 5 rebounds for Georgia as he was plagued by foul trouble for the entire contest. Andrew poured in nine points in the third period as his back-to-back 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the quarter pushed his team’s advantage up from seven to 11 points. Over the course of the 3 games in Slovenia, Andrew averaged 10.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, and 1.0 apg on 9-of-15 (60%) on 2-pointers and 2-of-8 from 3-point range. Both 3-point makes obviously occurring today.

Canada is done competing in Slovenia, but will stay in the country for several more days to rest up and practice before heading to Zlavoski Grad, Croatia. There they’ll continue their European tour by taking on the Croatian national team twice on August 1st and 2nd.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Luke Ridnour Orlando Magic Introductory Interview

2014 July 25
by Adam Papageorgiou

RidnourDive

New Orlando Magic member Luke Ridnour was introduced today and he had very kind words to say about his new situation.

Originally selected by Seattle in the first round (14th overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft, Ridnour has appeared in 783 career NBA regular season games (493 starts) during his 11-year career with Seattle, Minnesota, Milwaukee and Charlotte, averaging 9.6 ppg., 4.6 apg., 2.3 rpg. and 1.0 spg. in 26.7 minutes per contest., while shooting .862 (1,272-1,475) from the free throw line. He also played in 22 career playoff games (11 starts), averaging 7.9 ppg., 3.3 apg. and 2.4 rpg. in 24.3 minpg. Ridnour ranks eighth among active players and 28th in NBA history in career free throw percentage. He finished seventh in the NBA in total assists (550) in 2005-06.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

 

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Magic Officially Announce Luke Ridnour Signing

2014 July 25
by Adam Papageorgiou

RidnourMagic

The Orlando Magic have officially announced the signing of Luke Ridnour. Following the signing of Devyn Marble, Orlando’s roster is now at 15 players with active contracts. Based on previous reports from TNT’s David Aldridge, the deal is expected to be for 2 years at a total of $5.5 million. The second year is non-guaranteed. As per team policy, the Magic haven’t released official contract terms.

GM Rob Hennigan released a statement on the new acquisition:

“We’re extremely excited to welcome Luke (Ridnour) and his family to Orlando,” said Hennigan. “Luke is a proven player in this league who is well-respected as a teammate and competitor. The depth and veteran experience he will provide to our backcourt will help our team continue to grow.”

The former Oregon Duck made $4.32 million last season, so the 33-year-old is taking a cut in pay. The 6′ 2″ combo guard spent his time in ’13-’14 with the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte. Ridnour was traded by the Bucks along with Gary Neal on February 20th to Charlotte in exchange for Jeff Adrien and Ramon Sessions. Combining his stints with both teams last season, Luke played in 61 games – started 14 of them – and averaged 5.0 ppg, 2.9 apg, and 1.6 rpg on 38.5 FG% and 34.3 3PT% at 18.7 minutes per contest.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

VIDEO: Aaron Gordon Crosses Over Young Child, Shuts Down Gym

2014 July 25
by Adam Papageorgiou

Because there’s no better way for a child to get NBA FIT than to get crossed up by a professional basketball player as Orlando Magic rookie Aaron Gordon demonstrates.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

 

Canada Survives Ukraine in Overtime, Andrew Nicholson with 7 Points

2014 July 25
by Adam Papageorgiou

canukraine

In the second game of their 2014 Pokal Adecco exhibition tournament in Slovenia, the senior Canada men’s basketball team managed to hold off Coach Mike Fratello’s Ukraine squad to prevail in overtime 80-75. Orlando Magic big man Andrew Nicholson did indeed start in this contest. In 17 minutes, the St. Bonaventure product tallied 7 points and 4 rebounds on 3-of-5 two-point shooting and 0-for-3 from 3-point range.

Canada was up 59-44…and then Andrew fouled out with 7:14 remaining in regulation. Dwight Powell and Kelly Olynyk were clearly not defensive upgrades over the 24-year-old, as Ukraine utilized a 24-12 4th quarter to tie the contest at 68-68 and send the game to overtime. In the extra period, Olynyk, Melvin Ejim, and NBA champion Cory Joseph did enough to help earn Canada the victory. Andrew is shooting 54.5% from inside the 3-point line after two contests. Canada continues their tourney by facing Georgia on Saturday.

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

 

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