Orlando Magic News & Notes: Rumors Heat Up

MACAU, CHINA - JULY 31: Chris Paul #13 of the USA Basketball Men

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Tim Povtak of NBA Fanhouse got into the specifics of a potential Chris Paul-to-Orlando deal.

The Magic, as part of the early discussion, would receive both Paul and small forward James Posey, according to a second NBA source that confirmed the original FanHouse story by Sam Amick involving the two teams.

Although Paul clearly is the best player in the talks, the Hornets are interested in reducing future salary obligations. The team is in the midst of an ownership sale/transfer that has been stalled by the debt obligations that the new owner would incur.

Paul has three years remaining on his contract worth $49 million. The final year, at $17.7 million, is a player’s option.

You can read that story here.

Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk also says the Nets and Knicks have looked into acquiring Paul.

Second, I know what World Wide Wes is saying, but it really makes little sense for the Hornets to part with Chris Paul. Yes, he had some injuries and played just 45 games last year. Yes he makes nearly $15 million this year and $16.3 million next year (with a player option after that), and the Hornets are not a high revenue franchise and the sale talks have stalled. But Paul is the best point guard in the NBA and a guy who is at the heart of the Hornets marketing efforts. Chris Paul sells tickets and wins games. What he makes is a fair price for him (in the inflated NBA-realm of what is fair) and the Hornets would never get real value back.

You can read that story here.

Magic General Manager Otis Smith denied the rumor.

Asked minutes ago by the Orlando Sentinel whether the Magic made such an inquiry, Smith answered flatly, “Nope.”

“It’s the first I’ve heard of it,” Smith said.

Then, Smith corrected himself. He said he had read an e-mail message a little while earlier from another reporter who had asked if the story was accurate.

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel has that story here.

Matt Humphrey of the Orlando Sentinel says this rumor has reopened the Jameer Nelson debate.

George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel wrote we all know – Gilbert Arenas, despite his relationship with Otis Smith, would be a terrible fit.

Here’s what’s percolating: The Magic send Vince Carter, who has one year left on his deal, for Arenas. The Magic get another closer who can score in bunches. The Wizards continue to rebuild by dumping Carter after one year.

The contracts are just about evenly matched, so nobody needs to do any creative math to get the deal done. Carter is set to make $17.3 million. Arenas is at $17.7 mil. The problem is that Arenas still has four years left on his deal, although he has an option in 2012-13. Not good.

Beyond money matters, there are other issues to consider that would make me very, very hesitant to pull off this deal. Arenas isn’t a true off-guard. There are a lot of good things to like about him: He can create shots, is a sound perimeter threat, and can drive to the basket. But he needs the ball in his hands to create shots.

It would be impossible for him to co-exist with Jameer Nelson. And ditching Nelson would be a one heck of a risky makeover for a team that has been in the Final Four mix the last two NBA seasons.

You can read that story here.

Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com touches on the strengths and weaknesses of the six prospects who worked out for the Magic Monday.

Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post thinks Greivis Vazquez is a worthy pick.

He can run the pick-and-roll.

Orlando’s is a pick-and-roll-heavy offense, with that play ending 16.3% of its possessions this season, the highest figure in the league, according to Synergy Sports Technology. Vasquez ran the pick-and-roll on 13.1% of his individual possessions at Maryland, which is minuscule by Magic standards: Jameer Nelson, the starter at the point, used 44.1% of his possessions as a pick-and-roll ballhandler. However, when Vasquez did run the pick-and-roll, he did so effectively. The modest 0.786 points per possession and 34.5% scoring rate may not impress you, but what stands out to me is his ability to take care of the ball. Counting his passes in those situations, in addition to his individual offense, Vasquez turned the ball over on just 8% of his pick-and-roll plays as a senior. That’s good by any standard, but especially when you consider how turnover-prone Vasquez is in general. It suggests that, in a controlled, orderly system, he can take care of the ball and make the right decisions. And receiving screens from Dwight Howard, and having the likes of Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis as passing targets on the perimeter, should improve his efficiency and scoring rate. In short, he shows promise in the heaviest component of Orlando’s offense, a plus for any player, especially a point guard.

You can read that story here.

John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com takes a look at a few Amway Center success stories here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor on the Fansided Front Page. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).

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Tags: Chris Paul Gilbert Arenas Greivis Vazquez Jameer Nelson Orlando Magic Vince Carter

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