Orlando Magic waive Solomon Jones

The Orlando Magic waived reserve big man Solomon Jones after the team's 110-94 loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday night.

Waiving Jones, coupled with the decision to waive Hedo Turkoglu on Friday, leaves the Magic's roster at 13 players and gives the Magic some additional roster flexibility. (An NBA team may carry a maximum of 15 players on its roster.)

Jones' salary for the season was $1,186,459, but it was fully unguaranteed. If the Magic had kept him beyond the close of business on Jan. 7, his entire salary would've become guaranteed.

But finances did not factor into the team's decision.

The collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players contains a rule that encourages teams to sign veteran players with three or more years of experience; because of that rule, if the Magic had kept Jones beyond Jan. 7, the team would've paid him only $884,293 while a league-wide fund would've paid the remaining $302,166 of his salary.

Jones grew up in the Orlando suburb of Mount Dora and graduated from Mount Dora High.

He appeared in 11 games this season for the Magic.

Memories of Turk
Of all the people inside Amway Center on Saturday night, perhaps no one understands Turkoglu's value as a teammate better than Magic point guard Jameer Nelson and Heat forward Rashard Lewis.

Turkoglu, Nelson, Lewis and Dwight Howard formed the Magic's nucleus during the latter half of last decade, and the Magic's starting frontcourt of Turkoglu at small forward, Lewis at power forward and Howard at center created matchup headaches for opponents.

The Magic's decision to waive Turkoglu on Friday left Nelson and Lewis a bit nostalgic as tipoff approached Saturday between the Magic and the Heat.

“He just had a all-around game that was hard to guard,” Lewis said. “It created a lot of problems, and it really helped us get to that next level.”

Turkoglu appeared in 497 regular-season games for the Magic and played a key role in the team’s run to the 2009 NBA Finals.

“He brought a lot to the team on and off the court,” Nelson said. “He was a great person, and obviously has done a lot of great things for the organization. He’s one that, I think, should go down in history here in the Magic organization.”

It seems everyone who’s been around the Magic for a while has a story to tell about Turkoglu. The memories revolve around Turkoglu’s quirks and how Turkoglu managed to raise his game at key times during the 2009 playoffs.

“He’s most definitely a funny guy,” Lewis said, a smile on his face. “Sometimes you’ve got to kick Turk in the butt to get him going. Sometimes he gets a little lazy. But when it was gametime and when it really counted, that’s when he really rose to the occasion and stepped his game up.”

Turkoglu’s accent and husky voice still prompt some laughs.

“I still don’t understand when I talk to him,” Nelson said. “I just talk to him over text.”

"Painful lesson"
Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said that Tuesday night's 87-81 overtime loss in Cleveland remains painful, but he thinks the experience will help the team in the future.

The Magic led the Cavs 78-68 with 1:21 left in regulation and 79-72 with 14.0 seconds left in regulation.

Vaughn said he and his coaching staff are talking with their players on how they can improve in the future.

"It's a great lesson, a painful lesson," Vaughn said.

"It was supposed to happen, and I really think that and I really believe that, and we'll learn from it and grow from it."

Vaughn added later: "I really feel at some point in these next 50 games we'll be presented with the same challenge again. Whether we're up at the time, whether we're down at the time, we can reflect back on those last two minutes of the game and grow from it.

Vucevic sits out
On Saturday, Magic center Nik Vucevic missed his second consecutive game and his sixth full game this season because of a sprained left ankle.

Vintage uniforms
As a part of their 25th-anniversary celebration, the Magic wore the black jerseys with pinstripes they used from their inaugural season in 1989-90 through the 1993-94 season.

The team will wear the “Hardwood Classics” uniforms in nine additional games this season.

The look includes the Magic’s old team logo.

Call him Al
Singer and songwriter Paul Simon attended Saturday night’s game. Simon had a courtside seat.

Golfer Bubba Watson and former NBA players Grant Hill and Jason Williams also attended the game.


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