Orlando Magic

Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 2/9/16

The Magic are open to trade offers that would add useful veterans to their roster, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. One player who isn’t currently being shopped is small forward Tobias Harris, though Orlando isn’t discouraging teams from making their best offers for him, Stein relayed. Magic GM Rob Hennigan recently cited the youthfulness of the team’s roster for its recent struggles, though Magic players said before the season that age wouldn’t be used as an excuse. The team has been struggling and is battling to remain on the fringes of the playoff race.

Harris, who’s mere months removed from re-signing with the Magic for four years and $64MM, has seen his role in the offense reduced under new coach Scott Skiles. His scoring is down to 13.7 points a night from his career-high mark of 17.1 last season despite a nearly identical field goal percentage. However, the 23-year-old has seen a dip in his long-range accuracy this season, only connecting on 31.1% of his three-pointers this year after posting a mark of 36.4% a season ago.

This bring me to today’s topic: Should the Magic trade Tobias Harris? 

The Magic could certainly use a roster shakeup, though dealing away a solid two-way talent like Harris is a risky move. Harris’ contract is reasonable and will likely look like a bargain after the free agent frenzy that is likely to occur this summer. It’s unknown just what Harris’ trade market would be, but it’s only reasonable to assume some past suitors may still hold some interest. The Kings reportedly had a max offer sheet lined up for Harris before he re-signed with Orlando. Detroit and Boston were reported to be the leading contenders for him heading into free agency, while his hometown Knicks were also reportedly planning to make a run at him. The Lakers, Sixers and Hawks were all linked to Harris as well.

So take to the comments section to weigh in on whether or not the Magic should look to deal Harris. But don’t stop there. If you think Orlando should make a move, who and/or what would be a reasonable return? Extra brownie points will be given for salary-cap accurate trade proposals. If you don’t think Harris should be dealt, what changes should the franchise look to make by the trade deadline? We look forward to what you have to say.

Pacers Offer George Hill For Jeff Teague

The Pacers have inquired with the Hawks about trading for Jeff Teague, proposing a swap involving George Hill, while the Magic also loom as a potential suitor for Teague, sources told Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. It’s unclear how receptive Atlanta has been to the Pacers idea, nor what the Magic would be willing to give, though Orlando has reportedly become at least somewhat willing to trade Tobias Harris and is on the lookout for veterans. The Hawks wouldn’t be seeking a sell-off if they decide to make moves before the deadline and instead would look for deals that bring back younger players who provide equal value for the present, sources close to the team tell the ESPN scribes. Hill, 29, is two years older than Teague, though Hill has played off the ball in the past, which would ostensibly make him a better fit next to emerging Hawks point guard Dennis Schröder.

The Hawks are meanwhile thinking “long and hard” about their future with Al Horford, who’s poised for unrestricted free agency this summer. The prospect of a five-year max deal, which would pay a 34-year-old Horford an estimated $32.7MM in the final season, is giving the Hawks pause, sources said to Arnovitz and Windhorst. The Celtics have reportedly gauged Atlanta’s interest in trading both Horford and Teague, while the Pistons have been linked to Horford. Arnovitz and Windhorst write that several teams would “potentially” show interest in Horford if the Hawks put him on the block, and in the next sentence they name the Celtics, Nuggets and Magic as the teams that have been the most aggressive in efforts to land a “veteran difference maker.” It’s thus unclear if Denver and Orlando are indeed mulling runs at Horford.

Complicating the idea of a Horford trade is an injury to center Tiago Splitter. The former Spur is considering surgery on a lingering hip ailment and will be out for an “extended period” even if he doesn’t have a procedure, Arnovitz and Windhorst write. Plus, Hawks coach/executive Mike Budenholzer views Horford and Kyle Korver as locker room mainstays, the ESPN scribes note. The Cavs are fond of Korver, as Windhorst said in a radio appearance earlier today, but he isn’t the likeliest among the Hawks to end up in a trade, Arnovitz and Windhorst write.

Eastern Notes: Bulls, Knicks, Magic, Pacers

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has drawn criticism from his players at times, but his job is safe, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, adding that GM Gar Forman has been acting as though his own job might not be as secure. Forman has been working to distance himself from the team’s shortcomings lately in an effort to polish his resume for his next job, knowing that he wouldn’t win a power struggle with executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson if it came to it, Cowley wrote in an earlier piece. Former coach Tom Thibodeau, who notoriously feuded with management, had more respect for Paxson than Forman, feeling as though Paxson was more up front with him, Cowley hears. Still, both Forman and Paxson appear safe for the time being, Cowley adds. See more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Thibodeau has long had his heart set on the Knicks head coaching job, a source close to him tells Ian O’Connor of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link), as we passed along amid much more news in the wake of the team’s decision to fire coach Derek Fisher.
  • Carmelo Anthony has had not one but two MRIs in the past three weeks as his surgically repaired left knee continues to bother him, a team source tells Isola, but Anthony said Sunday that doctors have assured him the lingering soreness is simply part of the recovery process, notes Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.
  • Thanasis Antetokounmpo‘s 10-day contract with the Knicks and Keith Appling second 10-day deal with the Magic expired overnight, making them free agents. New York can re-sign Antetokounmpo to another 10-day pact, but that’s not the case with Appling. Orlando can’t ink him to any more contracts this season without signing him for the balance of 2015/16.
  • Pacers coach Frank Vogel has been impressed with lottery pick Myles Turner, who’s tamped down fears over his running style and come a long way from a disappointing season at the University of Texas last year, as Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com examines.

Magic Open To Trading Tobias Harris

The Magic aren’t shopping Tobias Harris, but they aren’t discouraging teams for making offers for the combo forward either, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Executives from other teams believe the Magic are open to any offers that would help add veterans, Stein adds (on Twitter). That apparently includes entertaining the notion of trading Harris, who’s just months removed from re-signing for four years and $64MM.

Magic GM Rob Hennigan recently cited the youthfulness of the team’s roster for its struggles of late, though Magic players said before the season that it wouldn’t be an excuse. Sunday’s win over the Hawks came at the end of a 2-15 stretch that’s knocked the team to the fringes of the playoff race. Orlando is four games back of the eighth-place Pistons in the Eastern Conference standings.

Harris has seen his role in the offense shrink under new coach Scott Skiles, as he’s attempted three fewer shots per game than he did last year. His scoring is thus down to 13.7 points a night from his career-high mark of 17.1 last season despite a nearly identical field goal percentage. Harris is shooting much worse from 3-point range, however. The former 19th overall pick showed vast improvement in that category last season, when he nailed 36.4% of his attempts from behind the arc, but this season he’s only shooting 31.1% on 3-pointers, close to his career percentage.

Harris spent his first season and a half in the NBA playing under Skiles on the Bucks, but Harris hasn’t raised any sort of fuss about the coach this season, at least not publicly, and Skiles spoke over the summer of a strong relationship with the 23-year-old.

The Kings reportedly had a max offer sheet lined up for Harris before he re-signed with Orlando on a deal that’s worth about $6MM less than the max over the life of the contract. The Magic would apparently have been unwilling to match a max offer. Detroit and Boston were reportedly the leading contenders for him heading into free agency, with his hometown Knicks having apparently planned a run and the Lakers, Sixers and Hawks linked to him, too.

What should the Magic demand in return for Harris? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Eastern Notes: Johnson, Cavs, Raptors

Tyler Johnson, who had surgery Wednesday to a repair a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder and is expected to miss at least two months, told of the Miami Herald that there is no guarantee he will return at all this season. As Navarro points out, the Heat‘s regular season ends April 13th and the playoffs begin the weekend of April 16th. Johnson would be 10 weeks into his recovery by then.

“The doctors said it’s going to be two to three months before I can resume contact,” Johnson said. “It’s a possibility [I could be back for the playoffs]. But we’ve just got to see. Again, we’re not trying to rush it back. If it feels healthy by then, and I’m actually able to contribute and not just be out there trying to figure it out during the playoffs, [then I’ll play]. [The playoffs are] not the time to try and figure out if you can go. If there’s a couple practices before it, I’ll try and practice and figure out what I can do.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

Eastern Notes: DeRozan, Young, Vucevic

DeMar DeRozan has improved in every facet of his game this season, Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders contends in a piece that breaks down the shooting guard’s season to date. DeRozan’s ability to drive to the rim has been remarkable this season. Blancarte notes that he leads the league in drives to the rim this season with 11.8 per game and he is generating .99 points per possession, which is the seventh most in the league. DeRozan holds a player option for the 2016/17 season, but he will reportedly turn down his option and become an unrestricted free agent.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Nets combo forward Thaddeus Young dismissed the rumors about being traded to Detroit, which he first heard about from his wife, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “She don’t want to go to Detroit, I know that,” Young said. Pistons president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy shot down those trade rumors earlier this week.
  • Center Nikola Vucevic believes the Magic shouldn’t make any trades before the deadline this year, Brian Schmitz or The Orlando Sentinel writes. “That’s no reason to think we need to change anything. We have to find a way within each other to get back to what we were doing early in the year,” Vucevic said. The Magic are 21-28 on the season, going 1-9 over their last 10 contests.
  • The Heat own a record of 29-22, but Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM believes the team is underachieving. With Hassan Whiteside and Dwyane Wade set to enter free agency this summer, Miami doesn’t have much time to figure out if this is the core it should invest in for the long term, Tjarks adds.

Southeast Notes: Stoudemire, Magic, Hardaway Jr.

After appearing in just four of the Hawks‘ first 35 contests this season, Tim Hardaway Jr. is now a regular in Mike Budenholzer‘s rotation, a development that coincides with the swingman’s improvement defensively, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. “I keep saying how happy we are with his defense,” Budenholzer said of Hardaway. “I think he’s really improved and really committed to that end of the court, whether it be fighting through screens in pick-and-roll situations, fighting through screens in off-the-ball situations, sprinting back in transition. There is a focus, an effort, on the defensive end.

I think people don’t appreciate his athleticism,” the coach continued. “And so you are seeing it on the defensive end of the court and now you are seeing it on the offensive end of the court. That is the thing that we’ve learned and grown the most together, I think he can really attack the basket, do things off the dribble, get to the paint and I think he’s passing it pretty well too. Obviously he can make shots, but he’s got a lot more to offer. He’s just doing all of those things in positive ways.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Offseason signee Amar’e Stoudemire delivered strong performances during Hassan Whiteside‘s recent absence, and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra admits he has to stop himself from turning to the 33-year-old more often so that his oft-injured body stays intact, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press examines. Stoudemire, who is again poised to hit free agency this summer, played in only three games through Christmas Day but has seen much more extensive action since.
  • The Magic lack outside shooting, though the team’s brass believes it’s a problem that will improve over time as the young players on the roster improve, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel in a piece that examines the Magic’s assets and needs as the trade deadline approaches.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Southeast Notes: Frye, Skiles, Pargo, Whiteside

The Magic have fielded multiple inquiries on Channing Frye, league sources tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Interest in the 32-year-old big man is high, an executive from a rival team told Deveney, adding that it looks like Orlando is moving on from him. The 11th-year veteran, who’s making $8.193MM this season, is averaging 17.5 minutes per game, his fewest since the 2008/09 season, save for 2012/13, which he missed entirely due to a heart condition. Coach Scott Skiles recently removed him from the starting lineup, and Frye didn’t appear in Sunday’s win over the Celtics. Sources told Zach Lowe of ESPN.com before the season that Frye, whose contract runs through 2017/18, was available for little in return, but Magic officials denied that. See more on the Magic and other teams from the Southeast Division:

  • Skiles admitted that he wasn’t effectively conveying his messages to Magic players as they struggled through 12 losses in 13 games before Sunday’s win, observes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. “This is my responsibility,” Skiles said before the game Sunday. “I’ve got to get these guys to understand what it takes to consistently win in the NBA, and I haven’t gotten that done in the last five weeks. For whatever reason, it hasn’t happened. So I’ve got to find a way to get that done.”
  • Former Hornets point guard Jannero Pargo has signed to play in the D-League, reports Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor (Twitter link). Pargo has been out of the NBA since Charlotte released him nearly a year ago, midway through his 12th season in the league, while he dealt with a back injury. The 36-year-old has never played in the D-League before, so he’ll go through D-League waivers before landing with a team.
  • The success of the Heat and backup big man Amar’e Stoudemire during the recent absence of Hassan Whiteside raises further questions about whether the soon-to-be free agent Whiteside is a truly a fit for Miami, argues Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel.

Eastern Notes: Mickey, Dudley, Hezonja

Celtics coach Brad Stevens is enamored with the potential of power forward Jordan Mickey, who was the No. 33 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com writes. “I think really highly of Jordan,” Stevens said. “I was disappointed that he came down with the ankle sprain because I think he’s got a lot of good things going for him and has been really consistent up [in Maine] every single night. I think the biggest thing about Jordan that you’ll all see more of down the road is he is a consistent personality. He works the same way and he doesn’t change his demeanor. He’s going to play the same way in Sioux Falls in a D-League as he will when he gets his opportunity in the NBA.”

The 21-year-old has only played a total of six minutes for the Celtics this season, but is averaging 17.1 points and 10.4 rebounds in 21 appearances for the Maine Red Claws in the NBA D-League. The rookie isn’t upset about his lack of NBA minutes and embraces the opportunity the D-League provides, Forsberg adds. “Coming in, I figured I wasn’t going to get a lot of playing time, and I was going to have to go into the D-League and work anyways,” said Mickey. “Hard work is nothing new to me. I’ll go work to get better, listen to what the coaches tell me [in Boston], and implement it [in Maine].

Here’s what else is happening in the Eastern Conference:

  • The Wizards are a team struggling to find their identity on a nightly basis, a trend that is wearing on swingman Jared Dudley, who believes Washington needs to take a more modern approach to its offense, Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic.com notes. “I keep hearing, what’s our identity, what’s our identity,” forward Jared Dudley said.”Basically our identity for us on this team is to space the floor, put pressure on the defense. We’re a 3-point shooting team that can go in to Nene. We have to be aggressive defensively. Those are our strengths.”
  • Magic coach Scott Skiles envisions rookie Mario Hezonja evolving into a force on both ends of the court, which is a major reason the swingman’s minutes have been limited thus far, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel writes. Skiles wants Hezonja to build a solid base on the defensive end of the floor, and believes that holding the rookie accountable, even if it means him sitting on the bench as a result, is the best way to instill this mindset, Robbins adds. “We picked him with the goal of him being a two-way player,” Skiles said. “The reality is there aren’t that many of those in the NBA. Teams can be a good defensive team without having great defensive players if they have a good defensive system and the players marry themselves to it. But, then, you have the Klay Thompsons, the Jimmy Butlers, and there’s more than that — the guys that are legit two-way players. They can lock you up. Our goal for is for [Mario] to at some point be that type of player, and so we’re trying to help him build a foundation on the other end of the floor.

Southeast Notes: Porzingis, Wade, Wizards, Magic

The Magic were determined to land Kristaps Porzingis in the 2014 draft and GM Rob Hennigan promised to take him with the No. 10 pick if he stayed in the draft that year, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Instead, he withdrew, and as he prepared for the 2015 draft, the Magic realized he wouldn’t slip past fourth, even though the Knicks had talks about swapping the No. 4 pick for a wing player and another first-rounder up until the day of the draft, Wojnarowski adds.

“Rob had a thorough, comprehensive plan,” Miller said to Wojnarowski. “He had invested as much, or more time, into Kristaps as anyone in the league. He really studied him. They had a plan for supplemental training, development. It wasn’t just, ‘Let’s just draft him and see what happens.’ This was a plan. Kristaps knew the plan and just wasn’t ready.”

Porzingis would have had the Magic’s blessing to remain overseas for a year had they drafted him in 2014, but as the 2015 draft approached, Porzingis’ camp wanted him to end up with the Knicks, as the Yahoo scribe details. Agent Andy Miller withheld him from working out or taking a physical for the Sixers, who had pick No. 3, Wojnarowski notes. The Magic wound up drafting Mario Hezonja with the fifth pick. See more from the Southeast Division.

  • Pat Riley said LeBron James never asked him to fire Erik Spoelstra, as previously rumored, as Ethan Skolnick of the Miami Herald relays, rounding up comments the Heat team president made Thursday. Riley also said he’s proud of Dwyane Wade for “how he has come back and changed the narrative about himself and worked on his body,” Skolnick notes. Wade hits free agency again this summer.
  • A third straight loss that dropped the Wizards to 20-24 prompted a players-only meeting Thursday, as J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic details. Jared Dudley, referring to himself as the spokesperson for the team, implicated the coaching staff in his comments following the meeting, as well as a return to a lineup featuring both Marcin Gortat and soon-to-be free agent Nene, who’s been marginalized most of this season. “The flow has been terrible for us these last couple games. That’s something that players and coaches have to do a better job,” Dudley said. “At times it’s good to play Nene and Gortat together. … What team are we trying to be here? We can’t keep coming into this locker room talking about inconsistency because April 15 [when the regular season ends] we’ll all be back at the crib.”
  • Hennigan last week cited the youthfulness of the Magic roster for the team’s struggles of late, but the team’s players said before the season that wouldn’t be an excuse, observes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. The Magic, tied with the Wizards at 20-24, have evoked memories of last season’s 25-57 disappointment as they’ve lost 11 of their last 12 games, and it indicates little progress under new coach Scott Skiles, who faces a challenge to turn the season around, Schmitz writes.

Get the hottest NBA news and rumors before anyone else! Follow us on Twitter to stay updated: