Orlando Magic

Eastern Notes: Jerebko, McRae, Dedmon, Hornets

Jonas Jerebko said he got several free agency phone calls after the clock struck midnight on July 1st, but he was glad that one of them came from Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Jerebko, who inked a two-year, $10MM contract with the Celtics, wanted to stay in Boston after being acquired from the Pistons in a February trade. “It was like proof that you had a good year,” Jerebko said of the calls from other organizations. “I had other teams interested, but after talking to Danny and the way we worked stuff out, this is where I wanted to be and we worked it out.” Jerebko averaged 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game after the deal, both up from his numbers in Detroit.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

Cavaliers Rumors: Varejao, Dellavedova, Jones

In two years, the Cavaliers’ Anderson Varejao could be a trading chip similar to Brendan Haywood, according to Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer. The frequently injured Varejao received a contract extension last summer partially for that purpose, Pluto reports. His salaries of $9.6MM for next season and $9.3MM for 2016/17 are fully guaranteed, but the $10MM he is scheduled to receive in 2017/18 is not guaranteed, making him an attractive pickup for a team looking to shed salary. Haywood, who had a non-guaranteed salary of $10,522,500 next season was dealt to the Blazers along with Mike Miller for trade exceptions worth $10.5MM and $2.85MM and was subsequently waived by Portland.
There’s more news out of Cleveland:

Heat Rumors: Boozer, Ennis, D-League

Miami could have interest in free agent Carlos Boozer if the Heat deal one of their big men for luxury tax relief, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The Heat cut their tax bill with last week’s trade that sent Shabazz Napier to the Magic, but Chris Andersen and Josh McRoberts remain candidates to be moved to slash the potential payment even further. If that happens, Miami may pursue Boozer on a veteran’s minimum salary to be a replacement, although Winderman isn’t sure how much the veteran free agent has left to offer. Boozer, 34, averaged 11.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in 71 games with the Lakers last season.

There’s more this morning from South Florida:

  • Another team may pounce on James Ennis if he doesn’t make the Heat’s 15-man roster, Winderman speculates in the same piece. The 25-year-old guard got into 62 games with Miami last season, averaging 5.0 points in 17 minutes of playing time. Even with Napier and Zoran Dragic (traded to the Celtics) gone, Ennis faces a crowded backcourt situation. Winderman contends the Heat should carry the maximum of 15 players on their roster to keep as much talent as possible on hand.
  • The Heat have done a good job of taking of advantage of the league rule that lets teams retain the D-League rights to as many as four players cut in training camp, Winderman notes in a separate story. That applies only to players who clear waivers and have agreed to play in the D-League. Last season, Miami offered partial guarantees to Tyler Johnson, Khem Birch and Larry Drew II to get them into camp and establish an affiliation. They later added Andre Dawkins to the list. Players who end up in the D-League in this manner can be signed by other NBA teams during the season, as Drew (Sixers) and Dawkins (Celtics) were last year.
  • Napier was the first player involved in a trade between the Heat and Magic during their 28-year rivalry, Winderman points out in the same story. The teams’ only previous deal sent coach Stan Van Gundy from Miami to Orlando in 2007 for a second-round pick.

Eastern Notes: Sixers, Bucks, MCW, Magic

Jahlil Okafor is preparing himself to be the focal point of the Sixers, and the rookie has already established himself in Philadelphia, Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

“He has brought a whole lot of excitement to this team,” teammate Robert Covington said. “He is a big man who has made his presence known already.”

Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bucks‘ ability to convince Greg Monroe to sign with them over teams in bigger markets such as the Knicks or the Lakers signals that Milwaukee should be considered a major player in free agency and a contender in the years to come, Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders writes. Monroe should bring some needed offense to a team that ranked 25th in the league in offensive efficiency last season.
  • Milwaukee must figure out whether Michael Carter-Williams can be the team’s point guard of the future, Blancarte writes in the same piece. Blancarte acknowledges the point guard’s flaws but believes there is a tendency to overlook the things he does well. MCW has career averages of 15.7 points, 6.5 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game. He will be eligible for a rookie scale extension after the 2015/16 campaign.
  • Amin Elhassan of ESPN.com (Insider only) believes Mario Hezonja can contribute to the Magic right away, but he realizes that the 20-year-old’s basketball IQ and decision-making could be serious hurdles in his development.


Southeast Notes: Scott, Ennis, Napier

Hawks power forward Mike Scott is facing felony drug charges following an arrest this morning, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Police say they found Scott and his brother in possession of marijuana and MDMA, aka ecstasy or Molly. Scott’s salary of more than $3.333MM is fully guaranteed for this season, with a similar figure non-guaranteed for 2016/17. Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:
  • James Ennis feels confident that he’ll earn his way onto the Heat‘s regular season roster, agent Scott Nichols told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, explaining why he and the Heat decided to nix the clause in Ennis’ contract that would have triggered a 50% partial guarantee on his minimum salary if he remained on the team through Saturday. The move keeps the Heat from having to decide on a $422,530 chunk of salary this weekend, a prospect that may well have spurred the team to cut him, and it also moves up the date on which Ennis’ salary becomes fully guaranteed from December 1st to opening night, Jackson notes.
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel still doesn’t see Miami’s 2014 draft-night acquisition of Shabazz Napier as a mistake, even after the Heat traded Napier to the Magic following a so-so rookie year, as Winderman writes in his mailbag column. He heard from one scout that Napier nearly was one of the first 15 picks in the draft. This summer, the Heat had luxury tax concerns and better options at point guard, and that’s what led to the trade with Orlando, Winderman argues. That casts a different light on Napier than that from when an NBA GM told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that the Heat had simply concluded prior to the trade that the point guard “was not good enough”
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist leads a list of intriguing second-tier 2016 free agents that Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com compiles in an Insider-only piece. The elite defense of the 21-year-old Hornets small forward makes it such that he’ll be a valuable starter for years to come if he can merely become an average offensive player, Pelton argues.

Florida Notes: Napier, Johnson, Richardson

This past spring was the first without either the Heat or the Magic in the playoffs since 1993. Florida figures to have at least one postseason representative this coming season, with Chris Bosh set to return from the blood clot ailment that prematurely ended last season, and Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade, each of whom signed new deals, will be back, too. The outlook is murkier for the Magic, but they added No. 5 overall pick Mario Hezonja and re-signed Tobias Harris. Here’s the latest from the Sunshine State, where both teams hooked up on a trade earlier this week:

Southeast Notes: Magic, Napier, Hornets, Williams

The Magic have amassed just 68 wins in the 246 games that they’ve played since Dwight Howard last suited up for Orlando, but the player and personnel additions made by the team this offseason are providing a sense of hope throughout the organization, as Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders details. Even with a weak Eastern Conference, it’ll be tough the Magic to sneak into the playoffs next season, but a look at all the young talent on the club gives fans plenty to be excited about. Orlando is currently rostering 10 players under 25 years old, including the newly acquired Shabazz Napierwhose recent trade we detail further in tonight’s look at the Southeast Division:

  • The 2016 second-round pick going from the Magic to the Heat in the Napier trade is Orlando’s own, and it’s top-55 protected, as RealGM shows. In the likely event that the pick doesn’t convey to the Heat this year, the Magic don’t owe Miami anything.
  • The Heat sent their own unprotected 2020 second-round pick to the Celtics in the Zoran Dragic trade, and the 2019 top-55 protected second-rounder going to Miami in the deal is Boston’s own, according to RealGM. The Celtics skip out on their debt if that pick falls within the protected range.
  • Elliot Williams is no certainty to make the Hornets’ regular season team after signing a deal to join the team for training camp, but he feels a little more comfortable about his chances of sticking with the organization because GM Rich Cho and assistant GM Chad Buchanan were both with the Blazers when Williams played there, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer notes.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Magic Acquire Shabazz Napier

NBA: Preseason-Orlando Magic at Miami Heat

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

MONDAY, 11:46am: The trade is official, both teams announced via press release. It’s a 2016 second-rounder going to Miami. Orlando receives cash in addition to Napier.

2:52pm: The deal is expected to be formally announced Monday, tweets Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The second-round pick is heavily protected, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link). The Magic will keep the pick unless they have a top five record next season.

SUNDAY, 12:23pm: The Magic will acquire Shabazz Napier from the Heat, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports tweets. The Heat will receive a protected future second-round pick, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter link).

Miami was aggressively trying to deal Napier in addition to Mario Chalmers because of luxury tax concerns, according to previous reports. Napier set to make roughly $1.3MM this season and has a team option on his salary for the 2016/17 season. Thus, the deal as reported will allow the Heat to create a trade exception worth $1,294,440, the precise value of Napier’s salary this season.

Orlando will now have 10 players on its roster who were drafted since 2011  with four players coming via trade, as former Nets executive Bobby Marks notes (Twitter link). Napier will presumably be the team’s third string point guard behind 2015 rookie of the year candidate Elfrid Payton and new addition C.J. Watson.

Napier was reportedly a favorite of LeBron James, and his addition to the Heat last summer seemed like a play to retain the four-time MVP, who instead returned to Cleveland. Miami came away with Napier’s rights in a 2014 draft-night deal with Charlotte, which used the No. 24 pick to take the point guard last year. Miami gave Napier 10 starts, and he averaged 19.8 minutes per game, but he played in only one game after March 9th as he battled a sports hernia that ultimately ended his season prematurely.

Reactions To Shabazz Napier Trade

Earlier today, the Magic agreed to acquire Shabazz Napier from the Heat in exchange for a protected future second-round pick. The only way the Heat will get the Magic’s second-round pick in 2016 will be if Orlando finishes with one of the NBA’s five best records during the 2015-16 regular season. If the Magic’s second-round pick falls anywhere from 31st overall through 55th overall, the Magic would keep the pick. Miami wanted to deal Napier because of luxury tax concerns, according to previous reports. Napier is set to make about $1.3MM this season and has a team option on his salary for the 2016/17 season. Therefore, the reported deal will allow the Heat to create a trade exception worth $1,294,440, the precise value of Napier’s salary this season.

Here are some reactions from around the industry to the move:

  • Dealing Napier could be a sign that the Heat is keeping guard Mario Chalmers, who Miami has reportedly been shopping, Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald writes. It’s still very possible Miami trades Chalmers, however, Goodman adds, because he is owed $4.3MM next season.
  • With Napier gone, Heat fans will have one less reminder of LeBron James, Goodman adds in the same piece. James pushed for the team to draft Napier, who mostly struggled as a rookie. The fact Miami was willing to trade Napier to a division rival means that the team does not view the guard as much of a threat, Goodman concludes.
  • From the Magic’s point of view, the deal is a good one because there is no risk involved, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes. The Magic benefit because they will acquire a young player with upside, Robbins adds.
  • In the same piece, Robbins points out that Napier’s arrival might very well be bad news for Keith Appling, who the Magic agreed to sign last week to a two-year deal that includes a small guarantee. The contract will give Appling a chance to participate in the Magic’s training camp, but Napier’s presence likely will make it difficult for Appling to make the regular-season roster, Robbins writes.
  • The trade has a lot to do with the Heat’s depth chart, considering Miami also has Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson as guards, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). The Heat could save more than $4MM with the deal, but that only would be the case if the team chooses to carry only 14 players, Winderman tweets.

Heat Rumors: Napier, Ennis, Johnson, Outlook

Shabazz Napier, who is reportedly being dealt to the Magic, was the Heat’s best player during summer league, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Summer provided the first chance for Napier to really showcase his skills after his rookie campaign was interrupted by a series of injuries, including a sports hernia that ended his season early. While Miami officials were publicly praising Napier’s performance during the summer, they were looking to trade him to provide relief from the luxury tax. He will make about $1.3MM next season, with a team option for 2016/17. Napier was the third-string point guard in Miami, and Winderman expects him to fill that same role in Orlando, being slotted behind Elfrid Payton and C.J. Watson. The columnist also examines Miami’s remaining roster and the salary status of each player.

There’s more news from Miami:

  • The next important deadline for the Heat will come Saturday, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. James Ennis and Tyler Johnson will have half their salaries for next season guaranteed if they are still on the roster August 1st (See the Hoops Rumors Schedule of Contract Guarantees). Both are scheduled to make $845K. Jackson also notes that luxury tax obligations are based on team payroll at the end of the season (Twitter link). The Heat will have plenty of time to move more salary if they can’t find another deal right away.
  • Former Nets executive Bobby Marks tweets that today’s trade helps Miami in two ways: by trimming the team’s tax obligation and opening a roster spot. He believes there is a good chance Johnson becomes the third-string point guard.
  • The Heat have rebuilt quickly after losing LeBron James and have the pieces in place to be a contender in the East, contends Tim Cato of SB Nation. He argues that an improved bench and a full season from Goran Dragic will make the Heat dramatically better, especially if Hassan Whiteside proves he can handle being a full-time NBA center.

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