Orlando has been busy this offseason, but did they make some front office/financial mistakes (regardless of the talent they brought in)?
- Hedo Turkoglu opted out of his final year with the Magic and signed with Toronto.
- The Magic traded away Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, and Courtney Lee to the Nets for Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson.
- The Magic signed Dallas Forward, Brandon Bass to a four year deal.
- The Dallas Mavericks signed Restricted Free Agent, back up Center, Marcin Gortat five years and 34 million dollars, which the Orlando Magic matched, thus keeping in him in Orlando.
- The Magic signed Phoenix guard/forward Matt Barnes to a two year deal.
- Jameer Nelson is back from injury and will return to his position as starting PG (and was selected to the all star game but couldn't play due to injury).
- Vince Carter: Owed $16.3 million for 2009/2010, $17.3 million in 10/11, and team option $18 million for 11/12. Carter is a 32 year old going Guard/Forward into his 12th NBA season.
- Ryan Anderson: Owed $1.3 million for 2009/2010, team option $1.4 million in 10/11. Anderson is a 21 year old Forward/Center going into his 2nd NBA season.
- Brandon Bass: Owed $4 million for 2009/2010, and $4 million for two seasons after that, with a player option for $4 million in 12/13. Bass is a 24 year old Forward going into his 5th NBA season.
- Marcin Gortat: Owed $5.8 million for 2009/2010, $6.3 mil in 10/11, following years: $6.7 mil, $7.2 mil, $7.7 mil. Gortat is a 25 year old Forward/Center going into his 3rd NBA season.
- Matt Barnes: Terms not yet listed but is signed for 2 years. Barnes is a 29 year old Guard/Forward going into his 7th NBA season.
First things first: Why didn't the Magic re-sign Turkoglu? Turkoglu signed for 5 years and $53 million with Toronto. Instead, Orlando decided they want to pay at least $33 million for two guaranteed years for Carter. With Turkoglu in the lineup, the Magic got to the NBA Finals. Granted the Celtics probably would have beaten them in the playoffs had they been healthy (Kevin Garnett was out), but the Magic had a steady rotation and a game plan. Now they have Vince Carter, which could not work out at all. With Turkoglu, they for sure knew they would make a deep playoff run. Now without Turk and Courtney Lee (who started at SG) they have Vince Carter.
Second things second: The Brandon Bass signing makes sense. Bass will get some significant playing time at SF and had two successful seasons in Dallas. Last year he averaged 8.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in only 19 minutes a game. He's a banger who should fit in well with Dwight Howard playing alongside him. He's undersized at 6'8", but he's a physical player who can do some good things against some of the better PFs in the Eastern Conference.
Third things third: Matching Dallas' offer to Marcin Gortat makes absolutely no sense. It is of course, due to the long playoff run and extra exposure that Gortat received. Announcers were raving about how he's a great back up Center for Dwight. And he got to cash in with a a hefty $34 million and 5 years and a chance to start in Dallas. Now he'll ride the bench for 5 more years behind Dwight Howard. Here are some facts: Gortat for the season averaged 3.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 12 minutes per game for 63 games. In the playoffs, he scored in double figures ONCE against Philadelphia in a game where Dwight Howard was suspended, forcing Gortat to start. Against the Lakers in the Finals, he scored 4 points in 4 out of 5 games. In the fifth game (game 3 - the only Orlando win), he scored ZERO points in 4 minutes.
You just don't pay 34 million dollars for someone who produces so little and will only stay a bench player (aka not get any more minutes than he did last season). At least in Dallas, he had a chance to START or get A LOT more playing time. Even Gortat was upset about Orlando matching the offer! This is not to take anything away from Gortat who may have all the talent in the world. But what good is that talent if it's going to ride the bench and only play 12 minutes a game? That's a lot of money for little production. But so goes the extra exposure that a deep playoff run gets you where, if you're in a contract year, you are almost bound to get a big raise. It happened to Sasha Vujacic last year. But he at least averaged some solid numbers for the season. Anyways...
Fourth things fourth: The Barnes signing is a solid pickup. He's a good athlete and can spread the floor with his 3pt shooting. Something they lost when Hedo left.
When it comes down to it, the Magic really bolstered their lineup this year, perhaps with the intent to keep up with the other top teams making moves (Spurs/Richard Jefferson, Lakers/Ron Artest, Celtics/Rasheed Wallace, Cavaliers/Shaquille O'Neal). The main questionable front office move is the retaining of Marcin Gortat for such a steep price for someone who didn't prove that much worth during the season or the playoffs, and will continue to produce at such a pace, thus making him continue to not really prove that worth. In Dallas he had a chance to prove that worth, but Orlando freaked out and matched their deal.
Please watch this video and listen to how the announcers speak so highly of Gortat after he gets some stats by getting some VERY easy rebounds and playing some solid defense. By the way, this is pretty much all he did for the entire game 1: 3 minutes of some easy rebounds and a nice dunk off a pick and roll with Jameer Nelson, something any pick up basketball player at a park can do.
Probable starting lineup for the 2009/2010 season:
PG: Jameer Nelson
SG: Vince Carter
SF: Mickael Pietrus/Matt Barnes/Brandon Bass
PF: Rashard Lewis/Brandon Bass/Ryan Anderson
C: Dwight Howard/Marcin Gortat
Those are the facts. And that's one way to read between the [base]lines.