09 June 2007

ESPN's Marc Stein: Duncan Almost Signed With Magic

Photo by Tony Dejak, Associate Press

As if the events of the past two weeks haven't been tumultuous enough, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports in today's Daily Dime (scroll down to the 9th box) that Tim Duncan's decision to choose San Antonio over Orlando during the 2000 free agency period was, in Duncan's words, "probably a lot closer decision than people even think or even know."

More from Stein:
Orlando's nine-figure contract offer to Shaquille O'Neal wasn't enough to convince Shaq to stay in 1996 ... and Duncan was apparently more serious about joining Grant Hill four summers later than the basketball world ever realized ... and Billy Donovan just set a land-speed record for backing out of the lucrative coaching agreement that had folks in Central Florida believing that their string of free-agent miseries -- Shaq, Duncan, Hill and Tracy McGrady are the most prominent four -- had finally been broken.
The full article is available for ESPN Insiders here. If anyone with an Insider account wants to share a summary of the piece, please do.

Okay, I still don't agree with Jemele Hill when she writes that we're "perhaps the most disrespected franchise in sports", but I'd have to now concede that Orlando's had worse luck than anyone knew previously. As loathsome as Duncan's lack of style is, it would have been nice to have him in Orlando. This conference doesn't have a truly dominant center, and hasn't had one in years. Even with an injured Grant Hill, the Magic still would have been in contention with Duncan in the lineup.

If you'll excuse me, I have to stab myself in the hand for the next 20 minutes. It'd make me feel better.

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