From May 28, 2007
DEAR BRIAN:Now that coach Hill is out, do you think that the Magic is ready to get a high caliber coach? I mean so far Magic haven't spent that much in getting a good coach, and to hire a coach that can take the Magic to a new level might be expensive, good coaches are a hard to find specie as good free agents this summer, but the Magic in the last years haven't spent a lot of money in getting good coaches, they prefered to get coaches from the house instead of trying to get one that has good reputation around the league. Do you think the Magic shoud get a coach with a winning record at any cost?
David Riveros, Lima, Peru, South America
DAVID: The Magic, for some reason, have this rap of being a frugal franchise. That's not the case. While they are a small market and have lost money over the past few years, they paid $5 million seasons for Chuck Daly and Doc Rivers. They paid Brian Hill at least $3 million. Depends on the coaches' resume. I don't expect them to scrimp on a coach, no. Brian
From May 14, 2007
DEAR BRIAN: I have followed the Magic since day one. There was a time when all the fans knew they were trying to better the team on a constant basis. Draft picks, mid season trades, etc. But the last few years my interest has wained big time. It is like the owners don's care anymore. At one time they were trying to be champion calibre, where as now, they seem content to be bogged doen in mediocrocrity. The team has gotten worse every year for a number of years now, including some of the worst trades and management hire in the league. Will they ever get their swagger back?
Alex Abrams, Maitland
ALEX: Well, hard to argue with any of your points about some of the Magic's decisions. I think landing Dwight Howard is a way to re-start any franchise. They have to build around him. And this summer, with all their salary-cap room and flexibility, they need to add another big piece. Brian
Nikola Jellacic, Zagreb, Croatia
NIKOLA: I can assure you that coaching is the last thing Grant would ever consider. Maybe becoming a GM one day, but not having to deal with players. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: What is going to happen with Carlos Arroyo next season with the Magic and what is Brain Hill opinion about his performance?
Miguel Vilches, Puerto Rico
MIGUEL: Carlos had an up and down season. He started and finished strong, but in between fell out of favor with Coach Hill. He didn't shoot the ball well or run the offense the way Hill wanted it. He could be on the trade block. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: So if we call your recent blog post about Brian Hill's silence speaking volumes an accurate assessment, where do we look for a new coach? Can we even consider Musselman after our since departed hockey GM essentially stated he wanted this guy instead of Hill? I've read rumblings that maybe we consider Darryl Armstrong, who hasn't quite completed the Indiana Pacers equivalent to the Don-Nelson-Head-Coach-To-Be Mentorship Program that Avery Johnson got. I think I'd like to see Paul Westhead get a shot. I don't what bridges this guy burned to find himself coaching in the WNBA, but he was one of the originators of the run-and-gun offense, he had us as a top 5 offensive team back in the Steve Francis/Johnny Davis days, and if we can keep up the Brian Hill defensive philosophy well...it seems intriguing. Any thoughts?
Greg Garrett, Tallahassee
GREG: It's hard to speculate since Brian Hill is still the coach, but there are names out there: Billy Donovan, Larry Brown, Rick Adelman, Rick Carlisle, Mike Fratello, Stan Van Gundy. Can't see Eric Musselman coming here. Brian
From May 1, 2007
DEAR BRIAN: Do you thing the Magic will trade JJ, I hope so, in his short stints he has out performed Nelson and others ahead of him except for Hill. He is a better shooter and foul shooter and I don't believe the Magic believe in him and I feel he would be better off somewhere else.
Herman N. Elitzky, Philadelphia
HERMAN: No chance the Magic will trade J.J. --- unless, of course, it can land them a Ray Allen, a Kevin Garnett or a Vince Carter. He got off to a slow start his rookie season and I would think he figures more into their plans next season. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: Has Coach Hill lost complete control of this team ? I see them smiling,laughing on the bench while we're losing it's like they have no interest in what he has to say.
Dallas Trayer, Edgewater
DALLAS: Hill will be back as coach. As far as players cutting up on the bench, I think GM Otis Smith will straighten that out. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: Why is 6'5" defensive specialist -Keith Bogans- so deep in Coach Hill dog house that he never played Bogans on Billups. If Dooling can defend billups, then why not Bogans? Use grant hill as a point forward?
Robert Sobol, Orlando
ROBERT: Dooling had a terrific postseason. Bogans fell into the doghouse by becoming essentially one dimensional --- a three-point shooter. As far as Hill at point forward, the bigger question is if Grant comes back at all. Brian
From Apr. 9, 2007
DEAR BRIAN: I just read your blog entry regarding Darko not being all that happy with the way Orlando has been playing him. I was extremely taken back by it considering the fact he was rotting on the bench before Orlando traded for him. The beginning of this season he played horribly, he had no hustle or energy, yet the coaching staff did not give up on him. Finally at the beginning of the 2007 year he knocked the concrete out of his shoes and started to show MAJOR improvements and HUGE potential for this team's future, but has been majorly inconsistant.
Then he has the nerve to say he is not happy after everything the Magic have done for him. The question I have is this, at what point is it not worth it to resign him? Would the Magic give up and let him walk for a crack at someone like Cater, Lewis or Billups if the opportunity was there? This would not be the first time that the Magic get stiffed with the bill for bringing out a player's talent and then have them walk.
Guido Guadagno, Deltona
GUIDO: Thanks for reading the blog. Darko is frustrated and I think he'd have a stronger point if he were playing well. He wants to roam outside and shoot 15 footers; first, he should make all the five-footers. It will be an interesting call by the Magic on Darko this summer. I wouldn't break the bank. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: What is happening to Travis Diener? He has only played in 2 games since Feb. 23rd.If he's useless for the Magic, why doesn't the team trade him to another team where he will get a chance to play?
George Frederick, Theresa, WI
GEORGE: Travis is the fourth point guard now behind Jameer, Keyon and Carlos. The Magic didn't want to trade him to a team that wanted to use him as a third guard. My guess is nobody wanted to give them a late first-round pick. Travis likely will not be back and might catch on elsewhere or play overseas. Brian
DEAR BRIAN:With all the rumors of Florida coach Billy Donovan being interested in coaching an NBA team, do you think the Magic would show any interest if this proves to be true? I know Otis Smith previously stated that Brian Hill will be back next season but c'mon, Billy Donovan would be the perfect coach for this team thayint has a roster full of young promising talent: Howard, Ariza, Nelson, Redick, etc..
Thanks and Go Magic!
Brian Ray, Oviedo
BRIAN: Since being is staying at UF, it's moot. But I think if he leaves, he'll go pro next time. Brian
DEAR BRIAN:Could you please describe what the Princeton offense is? It certainly doesn't seem to be very useful to the Magic. If it requires adroit ball handling, then no wonder there are so many turnovers as we seem to lack any ability whatsoever to handle the ball.
Tom Miller, Orlando
TOM: The Princeton offense, the brainchild of Pete Carril, is constant motion. It's a lot of screening and backdoor cuts to the basket. I don't see the Magic running the Princeton, or sometimes, much of an offense at all the way they struggled. Brian
From Mar. 29, 2007
DEAR BRIAN: It has been my observation that Jameer Nelson is not very good. He is a poor decision maker and coughs the ball up a a lot. Why hasn't there been any talk on the sentinel about signing Chauncy Billups this summer. He would be a better fit then VC. He's a better Player than VC.
Rene Plasecia, Orlando
RENE: The Magic have told Jameer that he isn't a shoo-in with Dwight for an extension this summer (GM Otis Smith wants to "see more out of Jameer") --- and I think that speaks volumes. He needs to improve his decision-making, first and foremost. But he can still play, but maybe in the role of a sixth man Vinnie Johnson. As far as Chauncey Billups, I agree he is what the Magic need more than Vince Carter. But there's no way the Pistons let go of him. Letting go of one-dimensional Ben Wallace was one thing, Billups is the heart of the team. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: As a former Magic season ticket holder and still a big fan, I enjoy watching you on Jeep's midnight Magic. After watching this season, which has become one of utter frustration, I have only one question.
Do the Magic have ANYONE (with credibility) on their payroll helping Dwight with his offensive game? He has a spin move.....PERIOD! He can't shoot a jump shot, his hooks are more throws than shots and his foul shooting....well... He's a great young talent but seriously needs help. It appears the team thinks he's a young Shaq, which he is not. How about Karl Malone as a mentor? Or, Kareem to teach him the sky hook?
Thanks for listening to my rant and hope he improves one day. Also hope the Magic can attract a legitimate scorer...they desperately need one. I'll be watching.
Jim Stone, Ocala
JIM: True, Dwight needs to expand his game. But he has made strides this season. I have to disagree: I think he is a young Shaq at this stage. Shaq didn't have much more than a dunk at 21 either. Now he has an arsenal. I doubt Dwight can become a Kevin Garnett or Chris Bosh offensively. Give him a little time. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: It's obvious that Brian Hill is nothing more than a "Text Book" Coach. He doesn't have any "feel" for the team or his players individually. That's probally the main reason why he doesn't play JJ Reddick and keeps his All Stars out of the game till theres no chance for a come back. My question is, after reading Otis Smiths comments about keeping Brian Hill next year, Why do the Magic always seem to make horrible decision's when it comes to this franchise? They never get what they need. They could of spent the money and got a better coach than Brian Hill, They should of traded to get another scorer when they had the chance, the list goes on. One more question, I'm not really a JJ Reddick fan and it is evident that Brian Hill favors certain players on the team, but why is it that when your trying to mount a comeback and you have the premier college 3 point shooter and Pat Garrity, who is not good for anything except fouling, in the game, you run all your plays for Pat Garrity? What is up with that?
James How, Winter Springs
JAMES: Pat seldom plays, so I can't imagine why this is keeping you up at nights. JJ has found a spot in the rotation. Brian
From Dec. 30, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: I was at the Lakers game up till midway through the fourth. I literally got sick to my stomach and had to leave. Why would Brian Hill leave the reserves in for so long with the Lakers pulling away? It seems, at times that Hill's substitutions are always late when a team has made a significant run. Take a look at other "superstars," they play almost the entire game and fourth quarter, i.e. Koybe, Baron Davis and D. Wade?Hill is great at X's and O's, but no one questions his substitutions and not getting Dwight "superstar" clutch minutes. Hill should take a note from Phil and Pat.
Thanks for your time. Oh yeah, ask Jerry to put down a sub and see what he thinks of Hill's lackadaisical coaching
Jeff Hart, Orlando
JEFF: Brian said he was going with his usual substitution patterns. I thought he should have brought the first-teamers in earlier. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: Given the Magic's recent struggles, wouldn't it make sense to give the starting five a jolt by replacing Tony Battie with Darko?Battie is a veteran who reached his ceiling long ago, we know what he can and can't do. However, Darko is young, gifted and would add a spark given extended minutes I think. Do you forsee this change happening soon? Thanks.
David Aggore, New Haven, CT
DAVID: Ah, well, I have already asked Brian that question several times this season, but he wants Battie out there to give the Magic a defensive presence to start the game. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: Do you think that the current substitution pattern used by the Magic coaching staff is effective, specifically where Dwight Howard is concerned? I have noticed, especially recently, that Howard will leave the game late in the third quarter and not return until almost half of the fourth period has elapsed. This pattern is similar for the first half. Considering our recent rebounding woes, and that Howard is considered to be our franchise player, it seems that the Magic would be more prone to have him on the floor for longer stretches. In the NBA its crucial to have your impact player on the floor down the stretch and while Dwight certainly needs the rest during the game, a young guy like himself could surely sit for shorter stretches and therefore be able to impose his will on the game more effectively.
Brian Thomas, Altamonte Springs
BRIAN: I think Coach Hill believes that he has enough depth to stick with his substitution pattern.
DEAR BRIAN: Hey Brian, I am big fan of your colums and blog and also a HUGE magic fan. They look great this year, but I do have a couple of questions. The first one is second half scoring and scoring in general.The Magic have dropped some big games to the Pistons and Suns due to poor shot selection and just not being able to get the ball to get in the hoop when they really needed to in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Do you think this due to fatigue? Or is this part of a bigger problem? Also, who do you see stepping up putting points on the board, especially when Dwight is getting doubled? I know Nelson and Hill are capeable of big games and Dooling, Arroyo, and now even Ariza off the bench, but who is going to be consistant!? Thanks!
Guido Guadagno, Deltona
GUIDO: Consistency has been a big problem, especially scoring down the stretch. Dwight just has a ways to go offensively. But the Magic are not in the same league with the Suns and can't grind it out with the experienced Pistons yet.
DEAR BRIAN: It's a pleasure to be sending you this email. Well I've been a fan of the Orlando Magic since the Scott Skiles and Dennis Scott era. The question I've been meaning to ask you is Do you have a clue what's in store for next season and all the free agents? I heard Vince Carter's contract is expiring and orlando is interested, true? I am excited about the upcoming season as well as this year. Dwight Howard combined with Jameer Nelson and Grant Hill pared with J.J redick could be NBA finals material. Another thing on my mind is Penny Hardaway, He was my favorite player growing up, Why let him loose and throw him to the side? You work out this injuries, he would of been just as good as when he was drafted. Thank you for your time and have a good day.
Craig, Upstate New York
CRAIG: The Magic will not have a lot of salary cap room if they give Darko Milicic a healthy contract, so Vince Carter is out of the question. They need, I think, a go-to guy down the stretch, but Carter is out of their price range. Maybe somebody like Morris Peterson of the Raptors. Brian
From Dec. 12, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: Why does a team have a poor player like Garrity on their roster instead of playing the rookies Garrity's playing time? For me is a waste of time because Garrity is done in the NBA. Thanks.
Orlando Vargas, Orlando
DEAR BRIAN: Why does the Orlando Magic still have Pat Garrity on the roster, and why do they continue to play him? Over the past two games, he has played 17 minutes and the only stat he has is one foul. This is the NBA. Does Pat have the franchise and Coach Hill under some sort of spell? It seems that the franchise, management, and coaching staffs (current and former) hold this guy in high regard. I'm sure he is a great guy, but come on. Are we missing something? Brian, do you see something we (the fans) can't see? These questions are pretty common, in my place of employment and at the games. Also, what is the length of his contract?
Ray Billings, DeLand
ORLANDO, RAY: I'm suprised there seems to be so much contempt for Garrity, considering he plays so little. Pat has been struggling with his shot, no question, and there are defensive matchups the coach obviously tries to avoid. But to infer the reason for the Magic's struggles is because of Pat, is way off base. Pat has another year on his deal.
DEAR BRIAN: Hi, Brian. Do you think that the Magic will try to trade Keyon Dooling anytime before February's dealine to create playing time for JJ Redick and Keith Bogans? and will they trade Pat Garrity to create more capspace for next summer as well??? what is your thought on this?
Junior Liu, Seattle, WA
JUNIOR: The Magic have a logjam at the wing positions, but you have to have somebody willing to trade. They could use another big man, but I doubt they can get that trading smaller players.
DEAR BRIAN: Explain to me why Hedo, except for the game winning pass the other night, is on the court. He is having a horrendous year statistically. Does Hill feel he will "snap out of it" at any given minute? Is he playing great defense? I don't get to see the Magic play much.
Jim Babbitz, Louisville
JIM: True, Hedo has struggled at times as a streak shooter. But that's his track record as a pro.
From Dec. 4, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: Please explain why we are hearing essentially nothing about J.J. Redick. For a first round draft pick I think the Magic owe their fans more info. You did acknowledge recently that you were getting a lot of questions about this but still gave no answers. What's the mystery?
Reed Barnett, Melbourne Beach
DEAR BRIAN: When will JJ Redick start playing.
Jay Wheeler, Kissimmee
DEAR BRIAN: My name is Jason Connell and I live in Charlestown, Indiana. I am a big JJ Redick fan. I check the website daily to find out why he isn't getting much time. I heard he has been activated but isn't getting much time. If you draft somebody in the top 15, shouldn't you be playing him? Just wandering if you can give me some more insight.
Jason Connell, Charlestown, Indiana
REED, JAY, JASON: I guess you are ALL big J.J.fans. We have followed his story since training camp, when injuries put him behind. The Magic are deep in experienced guards, and J.J. is playing (or not playing) behind Grant Hill, Keyon Dooling and Keith Bogans. Coach Brian Hill wants to see what he can do, but frankly things are going so well for the club that he doesn't want to disrupt what's working. J.J. will get his shot, but it might not be until injuries open the door or next season. Brian
From Nov. 24, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: First things first, I'm a big fan, of both your columns and the Magic. Finally we are seeing what was all the talk last year: "The Magic have to gel". Now they resemble that team and good things are happening. My Question: Carlos Arroyo is playing great and we are seeing the immense potenial Darko has. The (my) hopes are that these players stay in Orlando to build on what we have now. But, in today's free agency, when 2nd team players play well, other teams notice and try to lure them somewhere else as a starter. Can we keep these two young, talented, fan favorites in Orlando? Thank you.
Jason Costello, Winter Park
JASON: Well, thanks. Arroyo has another year on his contract. Milicic will be a restricted free agent this summer, meaning the Magic can match any offer. He has been up and down this season, and it should be an interesting summer to see what teams might offer Darko a big deal. If it's too big, the Magic probably will let him go. But my guess is that, unless he ends up starting and posts big numbers, the Magic will match any deal. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: Even though Darko is averaging less minutes he is still averaging better stats than Tony Battie and is inside the top 10 of the NBA in terms of blocked shots in three categories. Why is he not starting? Do you believe it is because of his inconsistent play and if he was promoted to the starting line do you believe his play would become consistent? Thanks
Connor Rennie, Hamilton, New Zealand
CONNOR: Darko is not starting because --- you said it -- he is not consistent. The Magic want him to show what he can do in practice and in the minutes he gets first before they replace him with Battie. I, for one, wish they would have put him in immediately to see what he can do as a starter, then sit him down if it didn't work out. Brian
From Nov. 20, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: Why isn't Travis Diener playing an active role in the Magic lineup? Is there no room for him in the starting rotation? I noticed that he has not played in the last 6 games. Do you think the Magic will trade him to another club where he would be a better fit, or just waive him outright?
George Frederick, Theresa, WI
GEORGE: I know Travis Nation has been wondering what has happened to him. But Travis is the third-team point guard behind Jameer Nelson and Carlos Arroyo and his status doesn't figure to change unless one of those two are injured. I've always said I thought Travis would thrive playing behind, say, a Steve Nash in Phoenix. He has a guaranteed contract this season, so unless the Magic can trade him (unlikely), I expect he will be turned loose as a free agent for next season. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: Hey Brian, i am a huge fan and i am really excited about the Magics quick start to the season. My question is, i havent heard anything on J.J Redick except for that one article that said he would be activated for the Boston game. What is the update on him and when can we expect him to play? Thanks for your time.
Brad Karmolinski, Ormond Beach
DEAR BRIAN: Any word on when JJ Redick will be removed from the inactive list? I'm very excited to see him play and dissapointed each game when he doesn't.
Grace Brabham, Orlando
DEAR BRIAN: J.J. Redick was on the bench for the first game or two, then was placed on the inactive list when Aroyo returned. What is going on with JJ? Is there any chance that he will get playing time this year, and if yes, when do you expect that to be? I understand he has fallen beihind because of injuries, but he is an excellent shooter and could contribute the the Magic off the bench.
Tim Murray, Williamsburg,VA
J.J. REDICK FANS: Coach Brian Hill said Saturday night that Redick would be activated "at some point in time." They want to see what he can do. Now, just when that point in time comes, only Hill knows. Redick currently is playing behind Grant Hill, Keyon Dooling and Keith Bogans. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: On the current Orlando Magic roster, which (if any) player has a squeaky clean reputation for personal ethics and plays his best game every time he's on the court?
Susan Cross, Oviedo
SUSAN: I'd say this is a pretty good group of players and people. Brian
From Nov. 10, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: Brian, where and how do you draw the line between fan and reporter?
Jon David, Orlando
JON: There's really no line to be drawn. I'm a reporter, not a fan. As Jerome Holtzman of the Chicago Tribune used to say (in fact, it was the title of his book) "No Cheering in The Press Box." Do I want the home team to do well? Sure. But if you've read me, you know I don't pull any punches. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: I've seen a trend the past three games for the Magic... Dwight Howard is averaging about 7 shots per game compared to 12 shots in the most convincing victory for the Magic, opening night against the Bulls. Like all other All Stars in the league, Howard should be taking 12-18 shots per game.Magic need to run (whenever possible) and develop a strong inside game and kick out to shooters for a well rounded offense. What do you think?
Ernesto Rodriguez, Orlando
ERNESTO: You are exactly right. The problem is that teams not only are denying Howard the ball, they are double, sometimes triple-teaming, him. The Magic, as well as Dwight, are trying to figure out how to beat those defensive game-plans now that teams realize he is the offensive focal point. He'll come around. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: For a long time and lots of questions with no answers, I would like to know just how long a Full-Time is in seconds or minutes. It's easy for the 20-second, but can't figure out the Full. How about putting me out of my misery!
Norma E Smith, Kissimmee
NORMA: A full time out is 100 seconds. Now you can stop torturing yourself. Brian
From Nov. 7, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: Is Brian Hill immune to criticism? All I ever see him do is criticize the players in the media but never his poor sub patterns, what's this guys love affair with Garrity? his insistance on playing him may have cost the magic the philly game, yeah they played badly but still had a chance to win. Garrity had some nice years for us about, oh 4 years ago but that time is over, I don't care about Epats 'technique' he doesn't get the job done.
ROB: Certainly not. The coach is always fair game, but you'll have to address this to our columnists. You never see Brian criticize a player in the media. He always talks of team. As far as Garrity, Brian believes in Garrity, although Pat is struggling with his shot. He did not cost the Magic the Philly game --- bunches of turnovers did. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: If I remember correctly, this is the last year in Franz Vasques' contract in Spain. Do we have any news in his progression over there in these last 3 years? I remember that he was a developing young talent when he was drafted. How is he comming along and what is his expected role to be within the organization if he does indeed return to the team?...I hear a lot of talk that the Magic need another big man to help with the 3 man rotation, via a trade or free agent. My take on it is if Franz is a viable option to the team (assuming he's developing nicely) then be patient this next year and wait for him to come on board. Your thoughts?
JOE: Fran Vazquez was injured at the end of last season and couldn't play for Spain in the World Championships. He had a decent year, but he's already told the Magic it will be a couple more years before he makes a run at the NBA. The Magic hold his rights forever. I don't think you'll ever see Vazquez wash ashore. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: What is J.J. Redick's present physical condition? Are there any plans for the Magic to soon activated him or will he actually be carried on the inactive list for most of the season?
Bob Arnold, Winter Park
BOB: J.J.'s current physical condition is almost as good as any 60ish senior softball player! Ha! Gotcha, Bob! You know you shouldn't participate in Ask Brian if you actually know me, because I'll give you grief. Actually, J.J. is fine, physically. He just fell behind in camp because of injuries. It's hard enough as a rookie without having to deal with other problems. It could be a long year for J.J., and I don't see him contributing unless injuries hit the shooting-guard spot. Now go take your nap, Bob. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: I was reading the Q and A about the Magic by Felecia (Lisa) Williams looking for a store for the home team. Well, there is one!!! There is an Orlando Magic Team Shop located at the Florida Mall right outside of Macy's. She can find all her Magic merchandise as well as other NBA merchandise here at this shop, or she can try orlandomagicshop.com.
From Oct. 30, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: My question is why is it that we don't have a special shop for our "HOME TEAM"? That I just can't understand for the life of me. Are we not more supportive of our team than this? Being a native of Florida and a Proud fan of the Orlando Magic, I have an event coming up on Friday, and have been everywhere in Orlando and on the internet searching for memorabilia, but to no avail. Specifically looking for an Official NBA Orlando Magic blue & Gray basketball. Thank you in advance for your reply and input!
Felicia (Lisa) Williams
LISA: If you are hunting for Magic-related items, most sporting good stores carry them. Go to orlandomagic.com and they can direct you to an online ordering. I wear a size M. Brian
HELLO BRIAN: I am a big fan of James Augustine (a fellow Illini) as well as the Magic, and wondered how he has done in his limited pre-season playing time, and whether you see him sticking with the Magic this year?
Doug Arenberg, Northville, MI
DOUG: The coaches like James' attitude and that he does all the little things, but he'll likely start the season on the inactive list. He's sort of caught in no-man's land: Not physical enough to be a power forward, not skilled enough to be a small forward. The club hopes he'll improve through practice as Travis Diener, another second-round pick, did last seaosn. Brian
From Oct. 23, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: I am really having problems with Jameer Nelson, and the rest of the Magic points guards. Just finish listening to the Magic vs Hawk game and Jameer finished with 2 Assists one at the end of the game along with Bogan 1, Dooling 1, and Arroyo 1 assist each. On the other hand Dwight Howard had 6 assists and Darko 5 with Hedo with 3 in limited minutes. Can the Magic coaching staff not see this as being a problem during the upcoming season?
Michael Harris, Atlanta GA
MIKE: Well, first, it is PRESEASON. You can't judge a team at this time. You seem to indicate they are not a good passing team because of this game against the Hawks. Two nights later, the Magic had 23 assists and the Memphis Grizzlies just 5. This is just as much a positive as the other night was a negative, but you can't jump up and down and put much credence in that, either. I think you'll see that this is a team that's very good at sharing the ball. Brian
HELLO BRIAN: I am a huge magic fan and I was wondering what happened to Fran Vazquez. Is he coming to the Magic or not? Is he even allowed to do what he did to the Magic, just say that he doesn´t want to come play in the NBA anymore?
GUI: Fran is in witness protection in Spain. Actually, it is not much of a joking matter to the Magic, who were left with major egg on their face after Vazquez spurned them in the 2005 draft. He says he wants to play in the NBA in a couple more years. I say you'll see Big Foot eating microwave buritos at a 7-11 before you see Fran in a Magic uniform. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: We Magic fans have gotten our hopes up for many years now, why will this one be different? What if that late season run was a fluke?
ROB: Well, the proof is in the playing. Magic fans will be able to see if the late-season finishing kick was fact or fiction by December. But remember, they might still sputter at times, given their youth and the fact Grant Hill has rejoined the mix. The intensity to begin a new season is always charged --- unlike at the end of a season when players are planning cruises or arranging to find playoff tickets for Grandma. Brian
HELLO MR. SCHMITZ:
New NBA season had already begun, and I think you probably is the one who knows Magic team best right now except the coach. May I ask you for a favor? Please do me a help, do you know any player in this team have Chinese lettering tattoo? And what is that suppose to mean? Could you please send me some e-pics about that? Thank you very much.
Joshua 'Husky' Li
HUSKY: Uh, the Tattoo Man -- DeShawn Stevenson --- left for the Washington Wizards this summer, and I think he took his Chinese tattoos with him. Jameer Nelson has a bunch of tattoos, but I think they are personal imprints. As far as sending you E-pics, I just learned how to cut and paste. Brian
From Oct. 16, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: Realistically, what kind of numbers do you see Darko posting in minutes, points, rebounds and blocks per game this season?
David A., Hamden, Conn.
DAVID: That's an interesting question. Darko should receive about 30 minutes per game of playing time, so I would expect at least 12 points, six boards, two assists and two blocks. Might at times depend on which set of guys he's playing with. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: How do you think J.J. Redick will fit into the Magic's plan this year, and do you think he will be a starter or come off the bench? Do you see him knocking down the 3 point shots like he did when he was at Duke University?
-- R Brown, Leesburg
R BROWN:Well, I'd just like to see J.J. healthy first. He'll be coming off the bench, and I think you'll see him in a very limited role because of the Magic's depth. The kid can shoot the lights out, but I think he's so far behind as a rookie that he'll probably will benefit most from practice.
From Oct. 10, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: I just want to know why you guys always talk about how Darko Milicic helped the Orlando Magic. You all know that the one responsible for all the good things the team did at the end of last season has a name: CARLOS ARROYO. Just look the numbers. You guys don't even show his pictures. Why you are so nice to a Serbian and not so good to a Puerto Rican?
I recognized that the whole team played great, but Darko and Jameer are the most mentioned.
Both of them are teammates, both came to play, and both deserve merits.
WILLIE: In no way to we mean to slight Carlos. He's a wonderful player. We gave him a pretty good ride in the paper after he arrived. I think the fact that he is playing behind Jameer and that Darko is getting a little more attention because he is a 7-footer and former No. 2 pick and can take over the starting power forward spot. Trust me, I have a good relationship with Carlos. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: With the new arena being approved do you have any idea when the ground breaking ceremony will be?
-- Kyle Long, Maitland
KYLE: I would hope sometime in the fall of 2009 or spring 2010. Bring a bottle of champagne. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: How do you think Grant Hill will hold up for this long season and do you think J.J. Redick will have any foot problems and will his back hold up for an 82 game season. And where do you think they will finish in their division this year. I'm a 1st-time writer so hope you can answer these few things for me thanks.
-- Brandon Ness, Orlando
BRANDON: Wow, are you going for the 3-for-1 question sale? 1. I think Grant will play more than 70 games. 2. J.J. is a question mark, because the area of the foot sometime takes time. He's behind and I would hope he can play in at least 60 games. 3. I think the Magic will go 42-40, third in the division and grab the No. 8 playoff spot. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: I asked in a previous question about a trade of Grant Hill for Shawn Marion. You said that a reason why Phoenix might not accept the trade is that the team is "trading it to a team that has a pending free agent it feels it can't re-sign". In fact, Phoenix does have a free agent in that summer, Boris Diaw. Diaw won most improved player last year and is putting up great numbers 13ppg, 7rpg, and 6 apg. These numbers will demand more money than the $1.795 million he is making next season. Also, Phoenix's contracts will add up to $62 million that summer and the salary cap is just $52 million. Do you think with Grant's contract they would be in a better situation to make the resign of Boris Diaw than having Shawn Marion especially if they are looking to the future with Barbosa, Diaw and Stoudemire? Thanks again for your time.
-- Daniel Diorio, Ridgefield, Conn.
DANIEL: I don't think the Suns will let Diaw go. As for Hill, the Magic have said they are not thinking about trading him. Brian
From Sept. 11, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: Did Fran Vazquez participate on the Spanish national team? If so, how did he do? If not, why?
William Roth, Sarasota
WILLIAM: To my knowledge, Vazquez did not. He was injured at the end of his Spanish team's regular season.
DEAR BRIAN: My question is simple we haven't heard that much news about Grant Hill what's the deal is he at full strength, is he on the IR until the end of the season? And is there any speculation about his future we all know it's his contract year if he's hurt the whole year I'm sure it's safe to assume he will retire, but what if he plays well will he resign with the Magic and if he does would he resign for the league minimum (I would think he owes it to us)?
JoJo Mekkattil, Chicago
JOJO: According to the club, Hill is progressing nicely from his sports hernia injury. He decided not to have surgery and rehab the injury through rest and exercise. He worked with a physical therapist who specializes in back and abdominal injuries. Hill will play out the final year of his contract with the Magic, if he is healthy. If he remains in one piece, I expect him to continue playing. He told me last year he would entertain the idea of re-signing with the Magic at the league minimum, but I'd have to see it first.
DEAR BRIAN: I know the Magic were planning around the 2007 summer free agency but now that Lebron, Wade, Bosh, and Carmelo are all gone what is the plan? A suggestion I have is to trade Grant Hill to the Suns in exchange for Shawn Marion. Now, Shawn Marion is 28 and is putting up great numbers 21 ppg 12 ppg. Best of all, his contract expires in three years when Lebron, Wade and Bosh are all unrestricted free agents. Shawn Marion's contract is $17 Million and also Ariza and Bogans' contracts are up. That totals to $23 Million. Lastly, although we would have to lose Grant Hill for the last part of the season we could tell him to comeback after that year for the veterans minimum which he said we could consider signing to. Do you think this could work? Thanks for your time!
Daniel Diorio, Ridgefield, Conn.
DAN: Sounds like you have a future as a GM. What does Phoenix get out of the deal other than salary cap space? Why would the Suns deal for an older, injury-wracked version of Grant Hill? The more likely scenario, if the Magic decide to deal Grant's contract, is trading it to a team that has a pending free agent it feels it can't re-sign or a player with character issues.
DEAR BRIAN: I have a very crazy question, but it seems to me the uniform shorts seem to get longer every year. It seems to me that they would play better if the shorts were a little shorter, and then would be lighter. Even when they go back to the old uniforms the shorts are always the same length. What do you think?
From August 14, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: With all the talk about contracts with DeShawn Stevenson earlier this offseason, why in the world did he end up signing a deal with the Wizards for the league minimum? Am I crazy or shouldn't he have thought a little bit more and taken our 3yr/$10mil contract and would have had "more security" that he wanted from the beginning? Help me out here, it just makes no sense. Thanks a lot.
-- Derek Patti, Apopka
RON: It's amazing how some of these guys overestimate their value and can look $10 million in the face and turn up their nose. Stevenson learned a hard lesson --- and one the Magic warned him about before it came about. You are right, Derek: Made no sense. Thanks for writing, Brian
DEAR BRIAN: What happened to the coveted Penny Hardaway salary slot? Did we lose it when we cut him outright?
-- Michael Kyle
MICHAEL: Hardaway was waived and he is off the books. His contract was essentially traded for Steve Francis'. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: Do you know that any player in this 05-06 Magic team have kanzi/hanzi tattoo? And what is the meaning?
-- Joshua 'Husky' Li, Taiwan
JOSHUA: You got me there. DeShawn Stevenson and Mario Kasun were the runaway leaders in tattoos, but both are gone, probably leaving Jameer Nelson in the role as Mr.Tattoo. I know that Hanzi is Chinese characters and Kanzi Japanese characters, but I can't tell you if Nelson has these on his body. I think Stevenson did, however. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: I have a Magic inaugural game ticket encased in plasic. Other than a keepsake is it worth anything?
-- Roy Eliassen, Orlando
ROY: I say it makes for a nice keepsake ---unless the Magic win the championship. Maybe some rabid fan might buy it from you, but it's probably worth more to you personally than what you can get for it. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: Sorry for my bad english - but i´m from austria - NOT australia!!!(speak like dirk nowitzki - german!).
Since Shaqs faraway to LoLa (L.A), we (the magic-fans) hope that we get another glory team or time!!. Every year, few weeks before the regular season begins, you read from the rebuilding of the magic team - and they are in the position to obtain the playoff. ...but most,...by the latest at the half of the regular season you see the truth - no playoff-chance!!
but currently - we, or i feel - the magics stay at the beginning of a new glory time! ...young good players and fighters like j.nelson, d.howard, c. arroya, d. milicic or our new rookie rodick give me some realistic hope to be competitive to win a ring!!!
but the magics need one of the big guys - the leader!! i know, they want to get him at the hot free agency sommer 2007/08 - but look: paul pierce, chris bosh, lebron james, carmelo anthony and dwayne wade have extension the contracts!!! (...dirk nowitzki follows!!)
what can the magics do - to get one of the rare big-player?? ...and i didn´t mean a guy like t-mac who needs to much shots - i mean a guy like shawn marion - a fighter!!!
where do you think are the magics in the next two or three years - ...are they at the top - an what must they do - to be there????
big up from bregenz (austria) - greeeets RAY
-- Reinhard Huber, Bregenz, Austria
REINHARD: The Magic's future is clearly being built around forward Dwight Howard. The club hopes he can become a scaled-down version of Shaq and Jameer Nelson can become a solid point guard. They really don't lack a big man as much as they do a go-to scorer. The Magic have $12 million to spend in free agency next summer, but the choices have dwindled to perhaps Vince Carter or Josh Howard. Brian
From July 18, 2006
DEAR BRIAN: After following the summer league, i think Marcin Gortat was the most impressive guy on the Magic squad, so my question is: Marcin Gortat, NBA material or just another summer league guy?
-- Ahmed Ismail, Cairo, Egypt
AHMED: Marcin did play well, and the Magic believe that with more seasoning, he can contribute in the NBA. If he put on some more weight, I'd say he could make the team next season. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: I'm a long-time Magic season ticket holder. I live in southern Polk county. It is a little over an hour drive for each game. Just wanted you to know how much I love my team. My question concerns J.J. Redick. In light of our current free agent situation (Ariza and DeShawn) I am worried about him starting and playing major minutes. I can see us being potent offensively but just as vulnerable defensively. Wouldn't it have been better to draft a defensive stopper. I did some checking. After the big February trades we averaged 99.8 points a game. Would have been tied with the Heat for 6th best in the league. Therefore offense was not a problem. I know he fills a need (3-point shooting) but wonder if he was the best pick? Also please address his back situation. After what this franchise has been through with injured players you can understand why people are skeptical.
-- Jim Stafford, Lake Wales
JIM: Only time will tell about J.J.'s back. You have to remember that you can't build a team in just half a season, which is what the Magic have done since trading Francis and Cato. I don't know if there were any defensive stoppers in the draft, but that's why the Magic are so intent on keeping Trevor Ariza. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: What is Carlos Arroyo status in the Magic team?
-- Nilsa Paganacci, Orlando
NILSA: Carlos will back up Jameer Nelson next season. The Magic are happy with him and their point guard situation. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: Do you think Keyon Dooling will start? Sure J.J. Redick is the newest toy in the box but Dooling does two things we need. He can defend, and he can slash. We need at least one guy that is a good defender on the floor, if Brian Hill can limit his jump shots I think he would prove to be a very solid starter.
ROB: No, Keyon is not likely to start. Dooling is best coming off the bench. Brian
DEAR BRIAN: Please rate the draft overall compared to our previous drafts.
And could we not find a better pick for the 2nd round?
-- Paul Urbanski, Tampa (previously Orlando)
PAUL: That's about as good as you can do in the second round. I mean, it's like throwing darts. As far as the draft, it was strong at the top, but petered out fast. Next year's should be real good, with Greg Oden and those other high school studs who were shut out this season. B
DEAR BRIAN: What kind of stats did vanishing draftee Vazquez have in the Spanish league last year? Were these good, bad or average for that league? Did he get married?
-- Kevin Sheets, Houston
KEVIN: Vazquez averaged 10 points and six boards, which might equate to five points and two rebounds in the NBA, if that. He apparently is getting married, although his wife probably wants a buyout. B
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