This is unexpected.
Yahoo Sports reports that restricted free agent Ryan Anderson will not re-sign with the Magic and will be moved in a sign-and-trade. Shortly thereafter, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the Hornets are in talks with the Magic for a sign-and-trade of the stretch four.
The news comes as a shocker with huge implications. It was assumed that Anderson would be re-signed as the face of the future of the Magic, after a year in which he was very much a candidate for Most Improved Player. He shot the lights out in an expanded role and continued his rebounding ways. The Hornets could look to pair him with No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis in a small-ball lineup that would spread the floor for Davis to work in the pick and roll and attack the basket.
The Hornets’ biggest problem last year was making shots and Anderson can score, defend, and rebound. He averaged 18 points and 9 rebounds per 36 last season for the Magic, shooting 39 percent from the arc. He’s an all-around player who can’t create on his own but can punish teams with his range and versatility and attacks the glass all the same.
For the Magic, the first words that come to mind are “Dwight Howard.” Any move like this that indicates a rebuilding effort and a reshaping of the roster would lean towards the Magic prepping for a trade. Ken Berger at CBSSports.com reports the Nets are trying to package three first-rounders to send to Orlando. That would require a third team wanting to give up a first-rounder to overpay Brook Lopez, but isn’t inconceivable.
UPDATE 4:17 p.m.: Surprisingly, word out of Orlando is that this is not a precursor to a Howard trade. The Anderson deal is a 4-year, $36 million sign-and-trade according to Yahoo Sports. CBSSports.com reports Gustavo Ayon is a centerpiece being sent to Orlando, which shows you how much of a cash dump this is, despite Ayon’s upside.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.
Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?
The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.
There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.