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8.1 The Cooler

An early look at the ’09-10 Magic, and is “White Chocolate” back?

By 08.01.09
Rashard Lewis

Rashard Lewis

In his introductory presser with the Orlando media, Matt Barnes answered the biggest question we’ve had about the Magic given the events of their offseason. Barnes said Stan Van Gundy told him that he’ll be competing for a starting job with Mickael Pietrus, with the rest of the first five filled out by Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard. With Hedo Turkoglu going and Brandon Bass coming, we were wondering what Van Gundy would do with his lineup. Putting Vince at SG, Rashard at SF and Bass at PF was an option, but it looks like Rashard is staying at the four, while Vince and Pietrus/Barnes split the 2/3 duties. That’s just the starters, though. Throughout the game, SVG still has a ton of lineups to roll with, making Orlando arguably stronger than they were last year despite losing Hedo … The NBA’s unemployment line got a little longer yesterday: Bruce Bowen and Salim Stoudamire were waived by Milwaukee, DeMarcus Nelson and Linton Johnson by Chicago, Gabe Pruitt by Boston, Sun Yue by the Lakers, and Mike Taylor by the Clippers. Bowen probably ends up right back with the Spurs, while Salim wanders the D-League or overseas wondering why J.J. Redick is getting an NBA check and he isn’t. We thought Taylor had solidified his spot in the League thanks to some standout games late last season after L.A. had mostly given up (although Mike Dunleavy Sr. still seemed to be trying to lose games), but the arrival of Sebastian Telfair was bad news for him. If none of these guys end up on the Knicks, they’ll at least be in the free agent pool on NBA 2K10 and NBA Live 10 … The Clippers quietly waived “White Chocolate” Jason Williams recently, and he’s since been claimed by the Knicks. (Imagine J-Will in his prime in Mike D’Antoni‘s system.) If New York makes him an offer worth coming out of retirement, is that the end of their PG search, or are Ramon Sessions and Allen Iverson still in the mix? … Meanwhile, Jamaal Tinsley was supposed to meet with Miami, but canceled. There was speculation that the cancellation meant Tinsley had found another team, but his agent denied it … Other minor moves and rumors: Hakim Warrick signed with the Bucks, Cleveland and free agent Leon Powe have mutual interest in each other, and J.R. Smith finished up his jail sentence stemming from that fatal ’07 car accident … ESPN’s Dana O’Neil had a good column on Isiah Thomas and his adjustment to the life of a college coach. We gotta say, even when things were at their worst with the Knicks, a lot of us in the Dime office were rooting for Isiah to make something good out of it. We all grew up watching him play, and anybody who knows his backstory would want him to succeed. The Florida International job is a good fit for him. The best part of the piece was when Isiah is in a gym packed with college coaches wearing their schools as advertisements (shirts, hats, jackets, etc.) and he doesn’t even have to wear a single label because everybody knows who he is … So let’s say Isiah is a resounding success at FIU, however you determine that. However-many years down the line, is there a scenario where you see him working in the NBA again? Would anyone hire him as a coach or front-office executive? … On that same note, T-Mac is planning a big comeback. “I will be in uniform for the Rockets this upcoming season, I guarantee you that, and I will be a lot better than I was last year. I will be back to the player that I once was,” Mac told a Chicago radio station. “I will guarantee you that.” McGrady is talking about dropping 30 on dudes right now, but realistically, it’s less about his skills at this point and more about his durability. He can put up 20, five and five in his sleep when he’s relatively healthy, but can he hold up for 70 or 80 games? … We’re out like Bowen …


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