Orlando Magic Rumors

Arnovitz On Lockout, Rockets, Suns, LeBron

July 17 at 10:34pm CDT By Alex Lee

While members of June’s coveted draft class have yet to wow executives in the NBA summer leagues, it hasn’t curbed the chatter among the league’s decision-makers in Las Vegas, writes ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz. Arnovitz provides a plethora of big-picture issues being regularly discussed in the desert. Let’s round them up here:

  • Between the hefty prices that NBA franchises have fetched this offseason and a new television deal for the league on the horizon, insiders have been “downright giddy” in Vegas this week. Soaring revenues have resulted in teams investing in technology and analytics, though there is a growing fear that the NBA could be headed for another lockout in 2017.
  • Speaking of lockouts, the CBA negotiated during the last one has successfully limited the lengths of contracts in the NBA while simultaneously making it more difficult to plan for the long term, according to some executives. By limiting risk, shorter contracts have flooded the marketplace with bidders, in turn driving up the prices on free agents.
  • The reactions to the Rockets‘ offseason have been mixed, according to Arnovitz. On one hand, GM Daryl Morey has essentially traded Chandler Parsons, Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin and first and second round draft picks for Trevor Ariza, a first round pick and a trade exception. On the other hand, Morey has landed two max players in two years while maintaining the cap space to add another. However, there is sentiment that Morey’s analytics-based approach might eventually discourage future targets from coming to Houston.
  • The Spurs are still undoubtedly the model franchise of the NBA, though there is a buzz about what the Suns are building in Phoenix. Citing several insiders, Arnovitz writes that the Suns are adding assets while simultaneously producing an exciting product for their fans.
  • LeBron James‘ return to Cleveland hasn’t evoked nearly as much gossip among league insiders as his departure did, but one general manager expressed appreciation for the Cavaliers‘ star “carrying” the NBA right now from a business standpoint.
  • The analytics movement continues to devalue the mid-range game, resulting in widespread approval of Channing Frye‘s four-year, $32MM deal with the Magic and even some support for the three-year, $19.5MM deal that Jodie Meeks signed with the Pistons.

Magic To Sign Luke Ridnour

July 16 at 7:16pm CDT By Chuck Myron

7:16pm: Ridnour’s deal will amount to $5.5MM over the two years, tweets David Aldridge of NBA.com.

6:28pm: The agreement is for a two-year contract, with the second year being non-guaranteed, tweets Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. Haynes adds that minor details are still being worked out, and it is still unknown what Ridnour’s annual salary will be.

1:13pm: The Magic will sign guard Luke Ridnour, reports Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops (on Twitter). It’ll be the latest deal with a veteran for Orlando, which already has agreements with Channing Frye and Ben Gordon so far this month. The terms are unclear, but given the team’s willingness to overpay for Frye and Gordon, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s an above-market arrangement for the 33-year-old Jim Tanner client.

Ridnour split last season between the Bucks and Bobcats, averaging a career-low 5.0 points per game. The Wizards and Kings were among the teams that reportedly called the Bucks in the lead-up to the trade deadline, but Charlotte wound up nabbing him instead. He played 15.1 minutes per game down the stretch for the then-Bobcats, a rate that dropped to 9.0 in the team’s four-game loss to the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. Charlotte renounced his Bird rights to clear cap space last week.

Orlando largely emphasized young players during the first two seasons of its post-Dwight Howard rebuilding project, but this summer appears to be a departure from that. The team still has ample cap space, so it appears that Ridnour will be receiving a chunk of that.

Eastern Notes: Stephenson, Miller, Knicks

July 16 at 10:15am CDT By Chuck Myron

Some Pacers players attempted to persuade the team to sweeten its offers to Lance Stephenson, but the front office resisted, according to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News. Stephenson agreed early this morning to bolt for the Hornets, and as his new three-year, $27.5MM deal quickly came together, the Pacers never received the opportunity to match Charlotte’s offer, as Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star writes. There’s more on his deal amid the latest from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Mavs made a three-year $20MM offer to Stephenson, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). The new Hornets two-guard would have joined the Mavs instead if the Rockets hadn’t passed on matching the Mavs’ offer sheet to Chandler Parsons, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com.
  • The Pacers made two different five-year offers to Stephenson, but he rejected them both, favoring a shorter arrangement, agent Alberto Ebanks tells Buckner (Twitter link). Indiana wasn’t willing to go shorter than five years, Broussard writes in his piece.
  • The Nuggets had a three-year, $12MM offer on the table for Mike Miller, but he passed it up for two years and $5.5MM with the Cavs thanks to persistent entreaties from LeBron James, as Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com details.
  • Knicks president Phil Jackson thinks the team has too many guards, and he may end up waiving Wayne Ellington, whom New York acquired in the Tyson Chandler trade, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
  • The Jazz almost doubled the average annual value of the deal that the Wizards were willing to give Trevor Booker, according to J. Michael of CSNWashington.com.
  • The Hawks held on to Pero Antic through Tuesday, meaning his non-guaranteed salary for 2014/15 has become fully guaranteed for $1.25MM. The same is true for Kyle O’Quinn, whose minimum salary with the Magic went from non-guaranteed to fully guaranteed when Orlando kept him Tuesday.

Bulls Trade Anthony Randolph To Magic

July 14 at 5:30pm CDT By Chuck Myron

5:30pm: The deal is now official, the Magic has announced. The Magic receive second rounders in 2015 and 2016, cash considerations, and Randolph, while the Bulls receive the draft rights to Rakovic.

4:29pm: The Magic would send the draft rights to Milovan Rakovic to Chicago and Orlando would also receive cash as part of the deal, reports Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter links).

3:38pm: The Bulls will trade Anthony Randolph and a pair of second-round picks to the Magic, who are expected to waive Randolph once they receive him, reports Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link). Chicago has been shopping Randolph, whom the team acquired in a draft-night trade from the Nuggets, in an effort to clear cap room. His salary, worth more than $1.825MM for the upcoming season, is fully guaranteed, so it appears it will remain on the books for the Magic, who’ll use their cap space to absorb Randolph, with the second-rounders as enticement for them to do so. It’s not immediately clear what Orlando will give up, but it’s unlikely to involve any guaranteed salary.

Chicago has to open up cap space one way or another to accommodate its agreements with Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic, as I explained this morning. Sending out Randolph will move the Bulls only incrementally toward that goal, one that’s unlikely to be reached unless Carlos Boozer leaves either by amnesty or salary-clearing trade. Still, it’s a maneuver that could allow the Bulls to use their Early Bird rights to re-sign Kirk Hinrich and preserve their room exception. Chicago also has an agreement in place to send Greg Smith and his guaranteed salary to the Mavs.

In 43 games with the Nuggets last season, Randolph averaged 4.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 0.7 APG while playing 12.3 minutes per contest. His career averages are 7.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 0.7 APG in six seasons.

Magic To Sign Channing Frye

July 14 at 3:33pm CDT By Zach Links

JULY 14TH: The deal is official, the team announced via press release

“Channing’s character, competiveness, veteran experience, and leadership ability are valuable additions to our developing team,” Magic GM Rob Hennigan said in the team’s statement. “His ability to stretch the floor and play sound team defense are also ways in which we envision Channing helping our team moving forward.”

JULY 9TH, 9:35pm Frye’s deal will be front-loaded and team-friendly in its latter years, a source with knowledge of the agreement tells Joshua Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. The deal will see decreases of 4.5% each season–the most allowable under the CBA–which projects to salaries of $8,560,707, $8,175,476, $7,807,579, and $7,456,238 for each year.

JULY 7TH, 5:04pm: The Magic have reached agreement on a deal with Channing Frye, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).  The deal will be for four years and $32MM (link).

While Frye has been garnering interest from around the league, the Magic weren’t seen as a likely destination and weren’t really mentioned as a possibility.  The incumbent Suns wanted to re-sign him, the Warriors and Cavs were ready and waiting when Frye opted out of his deal with Phoenix, and there was mutual interest between the big man and the Blazers.

The 31-year-old missed all of 2012/13 with an enlarged heart but wound up playing and starting in all 82 of the Suns’ regular season games last season. Frye averaged 11.1 PPG with 5.1 RPG and 0.8 BPG in 28.2 minutes per contest. He’s had slightly better marks in those categories and in PER, but he was nonetheless a bright spot for the Suns last season.

In a league that is falling more and more in love with the idea of a stretch four every day, Frye is a hot commodity.  The 6-foot-11 can consistently connect from the outside and owns a career 38.5% mark on three-pointers.

Orlando has upgraded their power forward situation in a big way this offseason.  Frye will presumably be the starter with No. 4 overall pick Aaron Gordon in reserve.

Magic Sign Ben Gordon

July 11 at 9:54am CDT By Chuck Myron

JULY 11TH: The deal is official, the team announced via press release.

“Ben brings valuable experience to our team,” GM Rob Hennigan said in the team’s statement. “His competitiveness and ability to score and stretch the floor adds versatility to our backcourt and overall roster. We are excited to welcome Ben to the Orlando Magic family.”

NBA: Preseason-Philadelphia 76ers at Charlotte BobcatsJULY 2ND: The Magic and Ben Gordon have struck a deal on a two-year, $9MM arrangement, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The second year is a team option, according to TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). That’s a shocking amount for the shooting guard who ended last season out of the league after Charlotte waived him in March.

Orlando has made several cap clearing moves in recent days, but it’s nonetheless odd to see the team lob such a high-dollar offer Gordon’s way. There are no real teeth to the NBA’s minimum team salary rules, since the penalty for not reaching that amount holds that a team simply must distribute the difference between its team salary and the salary floor among its players.

The deal is a coup for agent Raymond Brothers. The Bulls, Clippers, Rockets and Thunder reportedly had interest in Gordon when he and the Bobcats were working on their buyout, but Charlotte wound up waiving him one day too late for him to participate in the playoffs with another team, an oddly timed move. Gordon was apparently reluctant to sign with some of those interested teams anyway, since they were dangling two-year deals that would have prevented him from hitting free agency this summer. As it turns out, that reluctance was wise.

Gordon, 31, played in just 19 games this past season, averaging career lows in points per game (5.2), minutes per game (14.7), and three-point shooting (27.6%), among a host of other categories. Once a feared sixth man, the Pistons dealt him to Charlotte in a 2012 deal that ultimately cost them the No. 9 overall pick this year to rid themselves of the last two years of his five-year, $58MM contract.

And-Ones: LeBron, Novak, Hibbert, Butler

July 10 at 11:53pm CDT By Charlie Adams

The Heat and Cavs expect LeBron James to make his decision on where to sign before he gets on his flight to Brazil this weekend, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. It’s likely that any decision James makes will impact where Chris Bosh, Kevin Love, and Chandler Parsons find themselves next season as well. While much is seemingly tied to the four-time MVP’s choice, odds are low anything is decided tonight. Let’s catch up on the rest of the league while we wait on LeBron and the 2014 edition of “The Decision”:

  • The Raptors are finalizing a buyout with Lucas Nogueira‘s team in Spain, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (on Twitter). We had heard earlier this week that Toronto was likely to bring over Nogueira and Bruno Caboclo prior to the start of 2014/15.
  • The $9.8MM trade exception that the Warriors had created from the Richard Jefferson deal with the Jazz expired tonight, as David Aldridge of NBA.com observes (via Twitter).
  • The Steve Novak trade, which became official today, allows the Raptors to create a $3,445,947 trade exception equivalent to Novak’s salary. The three-teamer between the Nets, Cavs and Celtics that was also formalized today allows the Nets to create a diminutive $741,160 trade exception equal to the difference between Marcus Thornton’s salary and the sum of the salaries for Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev. The Cavs could end up with trade exceptions out of the deal, too, but they’re poised to open cap room, so those exceptions would disappear when they officially dip below the cap.  
  • The Bucks and Pacers have had discussions for a trade including Roy Hibbert, writes Gery Woefel of the Racine Journal Times. Milwaukee is interested in acquiring Hibbert, says Woelfel, but it isn’t clear if Indiana is interested in any packages the Bucks could put together.
  • Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris‘ rookie deals expire after 2014/15, and as a result, the duo became extension eligible this summer. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel hears discussions about new contracts between the Magic and the young big men will pick up some time around Labor Day.
  • Caron Butler is being pursued by the Clippers and Thunder, tweets Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Butler, of course, has spent time with both organizations.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Eastern Rumors: Ariza, Celtics, Sixers

July 9 at 10:21pm CDT By Cray Allred

The Wizards have spoken with Luol Deng, but remain committed to re-signing Trevor Ariza, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Here’s more from the East:

  • Washington is prepared to offer Ariza a raise from last year’s $7.7MM salary, but not upwards of $9MM, which is what the small forward is reportedly seeking, writes Michael Lee of The Washington Post. Both Ariza and the Wizards have anticipated waiting until LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony make their decisions before any progress for Ariza can be made.
  • J. Michael of CSNWashington.com tweets that Ariza is assured of receiving more more money from another team, but that the Wizards hope he will want to remain in Washington for less.
  • The Bulls are now being linked as suitors for Ariza by Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Rockets are weighing whether to match Chandler Parsons‘ offer sheet with the Mavs, or pursue Ariza at a lower price, tweets Broussard.
  • The Celtics like the newly acquired Tyler Zeller, but don’t have long term plans for Marcus Thornton, whom they acquired in the same three-team trade, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Washburn says it’s likely Boston will deal away Thornton’s contract or let it expire.
  • Before the Celtics agreed to take part in today’s swap, the Cavs reached out to the Magic and just about every other team in the league as they sought a third team to take Thornton in a three-team deal with the Nets, according to Grantland’s Zach Lowe.
  • Sixers GM Sam Hinkie acknowledged that his team is in position to help other clubs with its ample cap flexibility, pointing to that as a way to faciliate trades, as he told Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News as part of a Q&A.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Eastern Notes: LeBron, Monroe, Magic, Bulls

July 8 at 9:10pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

LeBron James is scheduled to meet Wednesday with Heat president Pat Riley in Las Vegas, league sources told ESPN’s Chris Broussard. A few days ago, we passed along that the free agent superstar was planning to have a sitdown with Riley at some point this week. Here’s what else has been buzzing in the Eastern Conference this evening:

  • Pistons president/head coach Stan Van Gundy reiterated that restricted free agent Greg Monroe is still part of the team’s future plans, reports David Mayo of MLive. Mayo also explains how Detroit could potentially create an additional $4.5MM in cap space this summer by making other moves in free agency first before signing Monroe to a new contract.
  • In their final move of this summer’s free agency, the Magic aim to land a third point guard to back up Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
  • The Bulls’ pursuit of Pau Gasol is dependent on what Carmelo Anthony decides to do in free agency, reports Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, who hears that the wait has become “frustrating” for Chicago’s front office.
  • When Knicks head coach Derek Fisher spoke with Carmelo last week, he guaranteed that the team would be better next season with the new system, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post. Fisher, who hasn’t spoken with Anthony since Thursday’s meeting, wouldn’t say whether he felt good or not about New York’s chances of retaining the star forward.
  • In another piece, Berman writes that Anthony has held out faint hope that Knicks president Phil Jackson can clear the necessary cap space this summer to bring LeBron James to New York. Doing so would at the least require New York to find takers for Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani in salary dump deals.
  • Having completed his workout for the Raptors, former NBA swingman Yakhouba Diawara will be auditioning for the Bucks next, a source tells David Pick of Eurobasket (Twitter link).
  • Celtics guard Rajon Rondo recently spoke with Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe and brushed off speculation that the arrival of rookie point guard Marcus Smart could affect his future in Boston. “I don’t think (anything) of it… I can be here today, gone tomorrow. You never know. For me to get bent out of shape, or to feel threatened by the Celtics drafting a point guard, it means nothing.”

Western Notes: LeBron, Warriors, Mavs

July 6 at 8:25pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Warriors could have dealt Harrison Barnes to the Magic for Arron Afflalo and a future first-round pick, a source tells Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (on Twitter).  The Warriors passed, but such a deal would have eased losing Klay Thompson in a Kevin Love trade.

More from the west:

Zach Links contributed to this post.