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State of the Cap: Orlando Magic

Fri, 07/25/2008 - 5:57pm
By Josh Redetzke
7/25/08


2008/09 Orlando Magic Payroll: $58.8 million
2008/09 Estimated NBA Salary Cap: $58 million
Roughly: $0.8 million over cap


The Good:
[img_assist|nid=1591|title=Dwight Howard|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=450]Is there any doubt that Dwight Howard will be able to earn the five-year, $78.8 million contract he begins next year? No. None. Zero. Zip. He led the league in rebounding with a gaudy 14.2 average, he scored over 20 points a game for the first time in his career, and he added 2.2 blocks and nearly 60% shooting, mostly on monster jams. As Howard showed us in the dunk contest, his athleticism for a center is ridiculous. To finish off this tremendous season, Howard absolutely destroyed the Raptors in the playoffs, putting up at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in three separate games (which might be why Toronto felt the need to trade for Jermaine O’Neal). The Magic weren’t able to outlast the Pistons in round two, but they’ll be back, especially if Superman has anything to say about it.

The price to extend Hedo Turkoglu’s contract just got a lot higher. Hedo exploded for his best season as a pro by a wide margin. His well-rounded game produced 19.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5 assists, and excellent 40% shooting from beyond the arc. With one guaranteed year left on his contract for just $6.8 million, the Magic have a great bargain on their hands. However, the following year is a player option and if Hedo puts up those kind of numbers again, his price will soar and he will opt out. Orlando will have to enjoy it while it lasts and hope they can retain him for the right price in the future.

Like Howard, Jameer Nelson also begins a five-year contract extension, although for much less money. His scoring was down to 10.9 per game, which is cause for concern, but there is reasoning behind it. Nelson took fewer and smarter shots, raising his field goal and three point shooting to excellent levels. He also distributed the ball more, handing out a career-high 5.6 assists. Nelson’s contract averages just $6.7 million per year, which is pretty cheap for your best backcourt player.

The Bad:
Rashard Lewis contract is one of the worst in NBA history. It makes it nearly impossible for them to make any moves when the 2010 free agent sweepstakes rolls around. While Lewis is a skilled shooter, he duplicates what Hedo Turkoglu already gives them. Lewis is paid like a number one, but in reality he should be paid as a third cog for a team, at best. Making matters worse, Lewis contract makes him virtually untradable.

Tony Battie didn’t earn his paycheck last season when he played and he really didn’t earn it this season when he didn’t. Battie missed the entire 2007-08 campaign due to shoulder surgery. He is still owed $5.7 and $6.2 million the next two years. With Howard, Hedo, and Rashard Lewis taking all of the front line minutes and a serious injury to recover from, it is going to be very difficult for Battie to make a comeback.

There are two years remaining in J.J. Redick’s rookie contract, yet he already appears to be a bust. It’s only about $2 million each year, but he isn’t even worth that much. The great shooter he was in college hasn’t translated to the pro game. Luckily for the Magic, the final year is a team option. Redick has one more chance to get it right before the team drops him like a bad habit.

The recent addition of Mickael Pietrus for the mid-level exception was likely overpaying for an energy guy, when their money could have been better spent elsewhere.

The Future:
Orlando vastly overpaid for Lewis, and it's sure to hurt them for year's to come. It's moves like this that have to frustrate Magic fans as it will take an outstanding draft pick or trade in order to match Howard up with a legitimate floor general.

Hedo will be up for a big raise next summer and if he gets it, the Magic will be out of salary cap space for a very long time. That is a big problem considering they are woefully thin in the back court. Jameer Nelson is the only dependable guard they have and he isn’t a star by any means.

Orlando is very aware of this dilemma and is trying to rectify it. They took shooting guard Courtney Lee in the draft and recently signed Mickael Pietrus from the Warriors as a free agent using their mid-level exception. It’s a good start, but it probably won’t propel the Magic into serious contender status. Trading Hedo while his value is high might be the only way to get the kind of talent and balance their back court needs in order to surpass the better teams in the Eastern Conference.

Free Throw:
Dwight Howard’s dominance evokes many memories of Shaq’s first few seasons in Orlando. How does Superman stack up to The Diesel so far? Shaq definitely was a better scorer than Howard, averaging about 27 a game in his first four seasons. He was also a much better shot blocker. Howard, though, has already surpassed Shaq as a rebounder, averaging over 14 a game this year, something Shaq has never done. Also, consider that Shaq was 20 years old and a college junior when he entered the league, whereas Howard was an 18 year old high schooler. Now 21, Howard’s scoring and shot blocking are starting to catch up. Good luck matching Shaq’s four championship rings.


Grade: B-

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just
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MAGIC

MAGIC CAN EXPLOD OUT OF EAST WITH HOWERD AND LEWIS IF THEY KEEP THERE CONTRACT HOWERD IS NO COMPARSON TO SHAQ OR ANY CENTER IN THE NBA HOWERD IS THE BEST DEFINSIVE PLAYER YOU CAN GET IN THE NBA LEWIS HAS GOOD JUMPER ALSO.YOU CAN ALSO PUT HEDO/J.J IN THE MIX OF BEST JUMPERS IN THE NBA ALSO JAMEER NELSON CAN DRIVE TO THE HOLE MAGIC COME 3rd BEHIND CAVS AND CETICS.BY THE WAY JOSH REDTZKE SHAQ ISN'T BETTER HOWERD

TATCCITW
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HAHA

The article was talking about young Shaq, and Howard is no young Shaq. He's a very good player, great at times but is not going to win four rings or be considered with the best centers of all time. Don't mention J.J with the best shooters in the NBA, he's got to play first. And the article was right on when it said that the Lewis contract is going to kill Orlando for years.
Read the article again, Shaq at his peak dominates Howard.

pkiskool
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Rematch

I'd like to see a rematch of Raps vs Magic now that J.O. has arrived in T.O.
Combined O'neal and Bosh will definitely retain Howard, and possibly surpass his numbers together.
Calderon will ABUSE Nelson now that he's got the full control of the team.
Only concern would be Hedo - Moon (Kapono) match up, but I expect Jamario to gain a few pounds and improve his stamina so that he could face guard Hedo all game.
Moon's lack of scoring number will be covered by Kapono.
The key to the series would be Bargnani.
He was almost a non-factor last season, but now that he's on his final year of bust-or-not season, I expect him to come out strong and show to the world that he was not a bust taken at #1 during 06-07 draft.
He will be the x-factor.

ms04m
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Rematch

So the magic beat the raptors in 5 and all of a sudden jermaine o'neal will turn it completely around....ummmmm no, if im not mistaken nelson made clutch shots in game 4 which is more that can be said about calderon and to say o'neal and bosh will DEFINATELY retain howard is just ridiculous, but you did make a great point, bring on the raptors, i would love to beat their ass again

pkiskool
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Read before you write, and think while you read

I guess you didn't really think this one through.
First of all, given that J.O. is healthy, add his number and Bosh's number together.
That gives you about 35~40 points, 18~20 rebounds, 5~6 blocks.
I know Howard gets 20-20-5 on his own, but who does he have beside him? Tony Battie? Gorat? lol
I said "combining Bosh and J.O. will surpass Howard", not Bosh or J.O. alone. I'm not taking anything away from Howard here. and blame your GM for making such a dumb deal with Lewis on this one.

As for Caledron, he split his time with TJ Ford, almot 50/50. He didn't have the full control of the team. Basically take his number, which was like 11 point, 9 assits and virtually no turnover per game, and times 1.5 or so on it.
I can see 20 points 12 assists with maybe 1 or 2 turnover per game season coming up from him.
Good luck trying that with Nelson. Or whoever you got in the back court... can't seem to remember even playing you guys 5 games in a row.

pkiskool
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Sorry, Gortan not Gorat lol

Same &$#%#&@! lol

813 Rep
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Raptors, Really?

Raptors won't even make the playoffs next year. And, if they do, don't count on Jermaine O'neal being healthy. That cat should have went to college where he could have learned about Osteoporosis. Somebody buy him some milk. And furthermore the only thing that the Bosh/O'Neal tandem will do to Howard is send him to the free-throw line an additional 6 times a game.

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