With summer coming to a close and training camp just under two months away, the Orlando Magic have been relatively quiet since their Eastern Conference Finals exit in 6 games at the hands of the Boston Celtics. It can be said that the Magic are not a team that needed to do a lot of tweaking, but rather build on the chemistry of a team that has been one of the Eastern Conference best for the past 3 seasons. So how has the summer treated this 50 plus win perennial title contender?
Chris Paul talks aside, the biggest moves the team made this summer involved the promotions of Alex Martins to Team President and Otis Smith to President of Basketball Operations, along with the contract extension handed out to Head Coach Stan Van Gundy. Sure, they added Chris Duhon to backup Jameer Nelson. The well traveled Quentin Richardson was also added to provide what would seem to be overkill in the three point shooting area. J.J. Redick was retained when the Magic matched the 3 year $19 million offer Redick received from the Chicago Bulls. A move that the team didn’t think it would have to pay such a high price for. Finally the team selected Daniel Orton (Kentucky) with the 29th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft followed by Stanley Robinson (UConn) with the 59th pick in the 2nd round. With the aforementioned moves the Magic now have a payroll nearing $90 million and a new arena opening this season which they hope will help them balance the books.
The transactions the Magic have made are not comparable to those of their in-state rivals in Miami, nor were they in the position for such a makeover. The interesting thing is that it would seem the Magic have absolutely no pressure or expectations of a championship from anyone but themselves. Basketball “experts” have already predicted a Heat Laker NBA Finals next June. All the talk of the “Three Kings” in South Beach is suitable locker room motivation for the Magic who will now likely be considered underdogs to win their 4th consecutive Southeast Division title.
“Ignite” was the Magic playoff slogan last season and although they fizzled out in the Eastern Conference finals this is still a championship contending team going into the 2010-2011 season. The NBA is fickle league and although the Magic have not ignited any excitement with the moves they made this summer, this team is still ready to compete. The lack of attention should help build team chemistry as they return to their more comfortable role as underdogs and potentially make a run similar to that of the 2008-2009 season when they reached the NBA Finals.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com