Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reading between the baselines of Orlando's off season moves

(Photo from NachoFoto)
Orlando has been busy this offseason, but did they make some front office/financial mistakes (regardless of the talent they brought in)?

Contracts and ages/seasons for these new players:
  • 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.
Read between the baselines:

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.


Mario said...

Man! that sucks for Gortat, Im sure he was more than disappointed when the Magic match the offer sheet. One moment he is the starting center for the Mavericks next thing he's a back up again. Oh well! good article.

KneeJerkNBA said...

Gortat can cry himself to sleep on a bed of hundred dollar bills every night.

KneeJerkNBA said...

While listening to this Polish rap classic:

mrm3x1can said...

In the 2009-2010 probable lineup, shouldn't Matt Barnes be the guy behind Pietrus and not Brandon Bass

FarFromFL said...

Are you serious? Carter fills the role that Hedo had, except he can create his own shot, which is a nice feature to have in a go to guy. Turk was money with the ball in his hands in the 4th, but it's not because he could reliably get to the hoop. He just made some ridiculous long balls with people draped all over him.

As to Marcin Gortat, he's a starting quality center. If you look at the production he's managed over his short spurts, which is verified whenever he gets decent minutes, he's up there with Paul Millsap when it comes to quality young bigs. The Magic have no intention of letting Gortat ride the pine for that paycheck. Houston and Dallas are still dying for a center. If you don't think the Magic will find a way to Move Gortat, you're stupid. He's got value, even with the new contract, and they're smart for retaining him. Better to have a decent backup center, in a year when quality centers are few and far between, as a bargaining chip, than to have nothing at all.

Do some analysis next time instead of relying on your impressions from watching the finals.

mrm3x1can said...

Jerome James. That is all.

Travis said...

Come on, man, everyone knows Toronto overpaid for Hedo. I know, I know, they made the finals with that starting 5, but signing Hedo to a contract like that is nothing short of crazy. Can't believe the Blazers were dumb enough to try it even. I really think Smith has made some great moves with the Magic this season. The East will be more competitive, but the Magic have really positioned themselves well.

Side note: I don't think Bass plays SF at all. Pure PF, even if he's only 6'8".

ReadBetweenTheBaselines said...

Travis, I'm not doubting the talent at all of Orlando. If you read closely, the post was meant to analyze the worth of the moves. Personally, I feel they made some good moves but overpaid for Gortat.

Regarding Turk: Like you said, they made the finals with that lineup and lost a good defender in Courtney Lee, and Hedo who fit in well with their offense. He only signed for about 3 million more per year with Toronto than what he was making in Orlando. I don't see why they wouldn't try and keep it together while adding the pieces they did with Bass and Barnes and maybe someone other than Gortat with that huge contract.

I agree that the Blazers made the wrong move by trying to sign Hedo, I don't think him in his 30s playing with guys in their early 20s would work out well in the long run.

You and MRM are right about him probably not getting time at SF, as I wrote in the post, he's undersized for PF but is a banger. He'll back up Rashard at PF.

ReadBetweenTheBaselines said...

Mario, it sucks he'll have to play 12 minutes a game again, he could have shown his real worth in Dallas.

KneeJerk, no doubt he's getting his money either way, I can just picture him being upset about staying a reserve.

MRM, I'm sure Barnes will get SF time, I have no way of knowing how Stan Van Gundy will use his bench, but him coming in for Pietrus is a good way to boost the bench scoring.

FarFromFL, never in that article did I doubt Vince Carter's abilities. I didn't even go into it, that's not really what this blog is about. Could they make the Finals again? Sure.

Regarding Gortat, Paul Millsap? Really? Gortat's season high was 16 points in a game he started against the Golden State Warriors. Dwight Howard did not play in that game. How many games do you think Dwight is gonna sit out next year? How many minutes do you think Gortat is going to get? "The Magic have no intention of letting Gortat ride the pine for that paycheck." Did you call Stan Van Gundy and ask him how he was going to use Gortat? Look, I provide the facts, and like I post, "ONE way to read between the [base]lines. FACT: Dwight Howard is still going to get big minutes. FACT: Dwight Howard and Gortat rarely, if at all play together. FACT: Gortat's situation has barely changed since last year. I think it's fair to assume that his role is going to stay relatively the same. And at that price? I think they could have gotten someone who did as little for half that contract.

I will give you the argument that they could use him as a bargaining chip for a trade. But Houston is not DYING for a center. They have a center in Yao Ming. He just won't play next year and I highly doubt Gortat will produce as much as Yao did when Yao returns. Dallas is not DYING for a center. They have Erick Dampier for 2 more years and with the move for Shawn Marion along with the offensive power of Howard, Terry, Dirk and Kidd. They don't need Gortat that much anymore.

mrm, Jerome James is a good comparison to Gorat's stats. I think Gorat has more potential than double J. haha

the greek adonis said...

The fact is that come crunch time in the playoffs teams will be looking for ways to get Dwight fouled out, and when that happens, Magic fans will be happy that Orlando paid for Gortat to be his replacement.

Sure Gortat doesn't score like Howard, but his defense and rebounding make him a valuable replacement. He stops the other team going on a run when Dwight's off the court. Don't kid yourselves thinking it's easy to just pick up a big man who can rebound and play good D, they are few and far between.

Krissy said...

If Houston's not dying for a center, why was their gm literally knocking on Gortat's door one minute after midnight the day free agency started? Houston does a good job of judging players by their adjusted production, and they undersand the potential in Gortat. Dallas offered Gortat the contract he's got to start in place of Damp. Center is their weak position. Who have they got behind Damp? For a team that was getting ready to position themselves for a finals run with the Lakers and S.A., losing Gortat hurt them big time. Gortat and Damp is a huge improvement over Damp and nothing.

JEDI said...

I am laughing my ass of at the comparison of Gortat to Millsap THAT'S A GOOD JOKE FARFROMFL

Oh Yeah said...

Nice blog, you've put up some quality posts already.

Starting off, I agree with your opinion on Bass/Barnes. Disagree with your Hedo/Gortat takes.

- Let's be real - the driver of the Magic's success is Dwight. No big man dominates at the end of games, so the ballhandler (Turkoglu) in the clutch gets a disproportionate amount of credit (similarly to the QB in football).

- Turkoglu was a poorer performer in the playoffs than regular season for the Magic. Fortunately for him, he was able to massage the ball for long stretches of the Magic's successful playoff run (all of which was broadcast nationally). This was enough to trick my Raptors into offering him way too much dough (BC is overly generous).

- Vince is not quite as expensive as he seems when you consider the 11m of dead salary (Alston, Battie) they gave up to acquire him. This puts Vince's cost at 22m/2yrs. Losing Lee hurts, but Alston is unnecessary with a healthy Nelson and AJ. The 3-headed PG (or 2-headed as AJ didn't play) ruined Orlando's championship round anyway.

- Vince had a FG% of .500 plus 3P% of .500 in the clutch last year (34.3 pts/48). Turkoglu had a FG% of .357, 3P% .200. It will be a shame to lose such a clutch scorer. Not!!! (Not looking forward to 5 years of below average prime time play from the Turk).

- Vince is willing to give the ball up and gets a bad rap at times. Turkoglu has a glaring tendency to overhandle, can be just as soft or worse, yet escapes criticism. Watching Hedo in the playoffs, he cost the Magic several games by refusing to give up the ball in screen/roll situations, or not running the ball through Howard and his .600FG% in the low post for long stretches of close games (though making up for it by rimming out/turning the ball over). It's also funny to see a guy single-handedly take the ball out of Alston's hands. Why would he be on the court if you didn't want him to handle the ball?

Anyway, keep up the good work. Looking forward to more.