The Magic have a few stretch fours – or at least players who could fit the rough outline of a stretch four:
Now, Orlando is adding a stretch four who’s a far-superior shooter:
Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops.net:
Free agent Croatian forward Damjan Rudez has a deal for a next season contract with the Orlando Magic. According to Eurohoops sources the two sides agreed to terms and the official announcement is expected soon.
Rudez would give the Magic 14 players – still one shy of the regular-season limit. So, he could make the regular-season roster, though Orlando might not stop here. Rudez’s salary is likely only partially guaranteed.
He’s an impressive outside shooter, hitting 39% of his 3-pointers in two seasons with the Pacers and Timberwolves. But he’s a hilariously bad rebounder for a 6-foot-10 player, and his other skills are unremarkably inadequate.
The Magic could try playing him more at small forward to compensate for his lack of strength, but his lack of speed would become a larger issue. Rudez’s minus athleticism will hold him back, especially considering he’s already 30.
Still, 3-point shooting is such a coveted skill in big men. It makes a small gamble on Rudez reasonable.
This is why I thought DeMarcus Cousins was wrong to call All-NBA voting a “popularity contest.”
How could the voting media not have at least some affection for him?
Jai Bednall of news.com.au:
- Reporter: “If you had one question to ask yourself and you were standing down here, what would you ask?”
- Cousins: “I would ask myself, what would that one question be?”
How do the 76ers recreate the magic of their last winning 82-game season?
Hiring the coach who oversaw it.
Philadelphia is bringing back Jim O’Brien, who guided the 76ers to a 43-39 record in 2004-05, his lone season with them.
The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that the team has named Jim O’Brien and Kevin Young as Assistant Coaches, John Bryant and Alvin Williams as Player Development Coaches, John Townsend as Shooting Coach, Chris Babcock as Assistant Director of Player Development and Dr. Lance Pearson as Director of Applied Analytics.
In a related move, Eugene Burroughs, who spent the last two seasons as the Sixers’ shooting coach, has been promoted to Head Coach of the Delaware 87ers, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Sixers.
“We are excited to maintain a continuity of culture within the staff by promoting five very talented coaches from within our organization,” said Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown. “This commitment to growth and development is the foundation upon which we were also able to recruit three coaches with decades of expertise who will help move our program forward and fit seamlessly into our system.”
It’s a little weird for O’Brien to return to the 76ers in a lesser role, but at least his Philadelphia tenure doesn’t define him. O’Brien surrounded his stint with the 76ers by coaching the Celtics and Pacers. He’s also a Philadelphia native, which makes this a more comfortable fit.
O’Brien will replace Mike D’Antoni, who left for the Rockets, as Brown’s assistant with NBA assistant.
The Oklahoma Hall of Fame inducted Kevin Durant last year, an honor many believed was designed to induce to re-sign with the Thunder.
If that was the intention, it failed. Durant bolted for the Warriors.
Let’s see how another civic honor works, this time for Russell Westbrook.
Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett:
Obviously, Cornett is honoring Westbrook for extending his contract with the Thunder.
But Westbrook will likely be a free agent in fewer than two years. Will the appreciation Oklahoma City has shown for him today make a difference then?
Kevin Durant said he wasn’t ready to directly congratulate Russell Westbrook for signing a renegotiation-and-extension with the Thunder.
But Durant expressed broader well wishes.
Durant, via Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports:
“I’m happy to see any player in this league do whatever they want to do,” Durant said. “As long as he wasn’t pressured to do anything and felt like he did everything he wanted to do. And that’s how I feel about every player in this league. It’s good for him, man. It’s good for his family. It’s good for the people in Oklahoma City that love to watch him play and love to have him on their team.
“I got nothing but positive energy and vibes for everybody. I don’t have no beef with anybody or wish no ill will on anybody. So if he did what he wanted to do, that’s better. That’s great for him.”
This, barely veiled, is the argument for accepting Durant’s move to the Warriors.
Westbrook wanted to stay with Oklahoma City? Great.
Durant wanted to leave Oklahoma City? Great.
Players should have reasonable autonomy over their careers. It doesn’t matter how they exercise their collectively bargained rights. It matters just that can do so.
Durant is clearly still on the defensive, and he’s trying to fit Westbrook’s decision into his narrative.
Westbrook might spin it differently.
Really, both can be correct – but the first public battle between these former teammates is apparently over framing.