Orlando Magic News & Notes: Building Magic, Kentucky Players Return

HtD’s Brian Serra reported Jameer Nelson will likely cancel his “Building Magic” campaign, a trip back home he makes annually with his teammates:

In what has become the annual offseason bro-building event, Jameer Nelson’s “Building Magic” is likely to be cancelled this year. In a conversation with Jameer’s agent, Steve Mountain, Magic Basketball Online has learned that there are currently no plans to hold this event. The lockout was cited as the primary reason.

Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari is inviting former players back to Kentucky to train during the lockout:

And on the surface, it’s a nice move by Coach Cal. Sure, fly right in, use our courts to train on your own time (if I’m not mistaken, they’ll be mostly free because NCAA bylaws prohibit teams from practicing the college kids too much during the summer), and Coach Cal will even help set up some coursework for those former UK players that want to work toward earning their degree.

Orlando has two former Kentucky players – last year’s first round pick, big man Daniel Orton and this year’s 53rd overall pick, wing DeAndre Liggins.

Philip Rossman-Reich of Orlando Magic Daily says Gilbert Arenas wants to be worth his contract:

“So if someone wants to give me 85 mil but im only worth 50, the 29 other owners should pull out their rolled upnewspapers and say ‘BAD DOG’ lol and start hitting. But they don’t. So they want to make it seem like we’re walking in there and taking their checkbooks and signing our own deals. Rich people can’t control rich people so they attack the workers. If they come together and stop over spending on players then we wouldn’t need a lockout. If i offered you guys 100 mil right now, 100 percent of you would say ‘Hell yeah.'”

Arenas, often politically incorrect and horribly blunt, nails the lockout pretty clearly. This lockout is very much an issue of the owners trying to control themselves. Yes, players are overpaid in a lot of ways, but like Arenas said they are just going after what the market says they can make.

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel says the lockout hurts Orlando’s young players most:

Orton was the 29th overall pick in last year’s draft, but although he played in last year’s summer league, he did not appear in a single Magic preseason or regular-season game in 2010-11. He spent the time strengthening the muscles around his left knee and rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery on that knee in December.

This was going to be a critical summer for him. It was going to be a chance to show the Magic that he can play, perhaps well enough to spell Dwight Howard at times in the season ahead.

Now, however, Magic officials cannot have any contact with Harper, Liggins and Orton or the players’ agents until the labor dispute is resolved. The players also are not permitted to use the team practice facilities.

Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel wonders what will happen if there is no 2012 All-Star game:

The all-star weekend, which pumps millions of dollars into its host city’s economy, is set for Feb. 24-26. The exhibition game is Feb. 26, about two weeks later than usual. The later date may have been set with a lockout in mind, although the league office said the later date is to work around other big events in early February, such as the Super Bowl and the Oscars. The Daytona 500 is also set for Feb. 26 about 45 minutes East, but NASCAR set that date after the NBA all-star game’s date was announced.

It’s unlikely Central Florida will simply host the next all-star game in 2013 if the 2012 game is canceled.

The NBA hasn’t committed to a host city for the 2013 all-star game, but they usually make the announcement more than year in advance. So the NBA would have to announce the location of the 2013 all-star game before it would decide to cancel the 2012 all-star game.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com) and is the co-host of the ESPN1080.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).

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Tags: 2012 All Star Game Daniel Orton Deandre Liggins Gilbert Arenas Jameer Nelson John Calipari Justin Harper Kentucky Orlando Magic

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