Josh Robbins of Orlando Sentinel hands out his final grade – Magic General Manager Otis Smith received an A-.
The trade for Vince Carter will be debated all summer long. Carter didn’t put the team over the hump. But it seems unlikely that Smith could have pulled off a trade for anybody better. The decision to match Marcin Gortat’s five-year, $34 million offer sheet took guts; Gortat’s presence was critical during the first round sweep over Charlotte, but that’s no guarantee Gortat will be back for 2010-11. The signing of Brandon Bass to a four-year, $18 million deal did not pay dividends in 2009-10. Bass still has plenty of time to become a productive player, and he certainly has the work ethic to do so, but he appeared in only 50 regular-season games this past season. In the short term, would the Magic have been better served to spend that money on another big man?
You can read that story here.
Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post evaluates Mickael Pietrus.
Not terribly, as it turns out. Pietrus is eerily consistent, especially offensively. You can make a case for his having the worst shot selection on the team–how many times did he pass up an open the so he could pump fake, step in to the close-out defender, then step back to take a fadeaway three instead?–yet he actually isn’t such a bad offensive player, converting at a solid 55.5% True Shooting rate (the second-best mark of his career) and only turning the ball over on 10.5% of his possessions.
Indeed, Pietrus epitomizes the “three-and-D” small forward role that Bruce Bowen made famous for the San Antonio Spurs in the early part of the last decade. He attempted 56.7% of his shots from three-point range, a split which became even more pronounced in the playoffs, when he launched 61 of his 80 shots (76.3%) from beyond the arc.
You can find that story here.
Bethlehem Shoals of NBA Fanhouse briefly mentions Dwight Howard, saying Howard regrets not signing a “mini-max” deal like this year’s free agent class did.
It’s the mini-max effort of 2006, where James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh coordinated shorter deals exactly so their teams would have to do right by them (and so they could sneak in under the upcoming CBA). Was the goal solidarity down the road? Or just smart business they all suggested to each other? Either way, it was such a good idea that Chris Paul and Deron Williams followed suit two seasons later.
No longer could a superstar be paid off and taken for granted — or, if you want to be glum about it, invested in heavily and find themselves an albatross down the road. This was a power-grab, but in a much-deserved way.
You see other stars regretting, however implicitly, their more traditional contracts. Dwight Howard calls for change to the Magic, but is locked in through 2012. Carmelo Anthony, who at the time was in no position to hold the franchise hostage, now has an extra year of uncertainty with the Nuggets before deciding if that team will ever be able to keep its head on straight through the postseason.
You can read that story here.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and on Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).