11 July 2007

Bill Simmons and his Fans take Shots at the Magic

Bill "The Sports Guy" Simmons and his loyal readers torched the Magic at every available opportunity in a chat today. Some highlights:

Chris Maine: Simmons, you got an iPhone yet? I've heard disappointing reviews.

SportsNation Bill Simmons: I didn't get one - the device seemed so complicated and ambitious that it scared me off, I wanted to wait until they worked out the kinks. I wish Orlando had done this with their cap space - instead, they spent $126 million on Rashard Lewis. Please send me 500,000 questions on that signing. I want to devote the whole chat to it.

JKL(Boston, MA): If you're Orlando aren't you better off saving that cap room used up on Rashard Lewis to see if you can grab someone better next season?

SportsNation Bill Simmons: Wait, you think they would have been better off not paying a $50 million player $126 million? Are you sure?


Kevin (Chicago, IL): Rashard Lewis' deal is awful, but it can't be the worst Max deal ever. Who is the worst player ever to get a max deal? Marbury?

SportsNation Bill Simmons: No. it's the worst max deal ever. It's the worst sports contract in history. They gave a max contract to someone who has one skill (scoring), and he's not even that good at that skill. He's like a better Hedu Turkoglu. He plays 40 mins a game, scores 20 points and grabs you 5 boards. Congratulations.


Dan (NY): Worst player to get a max deal? Wrong Knick. It has to be Allan Houston. I'm a Knicks fan, and this huge mess they call a franchise all started with him getting top 2 guard money. They even had to make a rule for his contract.

SportsNation Bill Simmons: At least Allan Houston was the best guy on a team that made the Finals. What has Rashard Lewis ever done? Sonics fans thought he was soft and unreliable... even in their one playoff run two years ago, he was hurt half the time.


Jens (Copenhagen) : Bill can u explain what the Magic were thinking when they gave Rashard "I'm a skinnier Antoine Walker" Lewis a deal worth $125 mill?!? Please take me trough their thought proces, because I have no idea what they were thinking!

SportsNation Bill Simmons: It's inexplicable. I can't do it. There's no possible way to explain it or justify it.


Sam (Austin, TX): Basketball Reference shows Rashard Lewis has a .002 Hall of Fame probabilty, plus he scored 2 points in his one all star appearance. Of course he gets max money.


Doug, Toronto: Shouldn't an NBA player have to have a signature sneaker to receive max money? Or at least be the reason why people go to games? Rashard Lewis is a nobody.

SportsNation Bill Simmons: You should either be able to A) sell tickets, B) call yourself one of the best 5-6 people at your position, or C) have two first-class NBA skills. You know who's kicking himself right now? Mike Miller. If Rashard is worth $126 million, he's worth at least $110.


Bill (Chicago, IL): As I see it, Orlando dodged a close one. With Grant Hill's ankle finally off the books, they were legitimately at risk of fielding an '07-'08 team with *no* franchise-crippling long-term contracts. That's not Orlando Magic basketball. Glad they got back to basics with this Lewis deal.

Fairly or unfairly, we're officially the laughingstock of the sports world. Only a good showing in the coming season will reverse that.



That's the first I've read or heard anything like that in regards to the Magic and Lewis. While I agree that we paid a little too much, I wouldn't go as far as Simmons and his fans are. I wish we would have just signed him to the max 5 year deal, rather than a sign and trade max 6 year deal. The only way I wanted that deal to happen was if it was for the purpose of resigning Darko, and that obviously isn't going to happen.

Ben Q. Rock said...

I don't think this signing would have had such negative publicity if it had been in any other city. We just have a terrible reputation: letting Shaq go, signing Grant Hill, trading T-Mac for peanuts, etc.

Otis said on the radio this afternoon that the purpose of the six-year was to have Rashard and Dwight come off the books at the same time. I'm not sure why that's preferable to Lewis coming off a year earlier, but that's what Otis said.


I listened to the conversation on 740. However, it was hard to understand Otis. Can someone tell the guy not to mumble! The question that pissed me off, was when Jerry asked him about the ton of extra money that they paid Lewis for the sign and trade. Otis's first response was, what extra money? He pretty much followed through by saying they wanted to sign Lewis for 6 years, not 5. Whatever... Sometimes it gets old hearing these guys saying it's not about money. Come on...

On a positive, Rashard said some great things. The guy obviously has a good head on his shoulders, which is awesome for the Magic and its fans. The negative, is this not the largest contract we've ever given a player? I mean really, we've had players like Shaq, Penny, GHill, TMac, and Lewis is the one that easily earns the biggest? O-K... When it's all said and done, I'm sure Dwight will be signing a contract around the same amount.

Anyway... Whatever...

Recently I read a column on Wit Watsons blog. He made a statement, that most Central Florida sports fans are really naive. I couldn't agree more. The average sports fan in this area doesn't know much, especially in regards to NBA basketball. It's a sad thing, especially for that fact that this town only has 1 professional team. Then when you take a look at that professional team, you realize that we have a major star in the making in Dwight Howard. But that has never mattered to this town... We had a major star in T-Mac. I remember watching T-Mac drop 60 in 3 QUARTERS and he could do that on any given night, yet the Magic couldn’t get close to selling out the arena. When it's all said and done, this little town was spoiled from the beginning; within the first 5 years of the franchise, we landed Shaq and Penny. Everyone in town was totally spoiled, and they haven't recovered since. The only thing that can happen is for Dwight, Lewis, and company to start winning some games, put us at the top of the East, and our "bandwagon" fans will start to jump back on.

I mean really... This has been really frustrating for me. In the past year, regular season, or playoffs, if I go to any local bar or restaurant, and they have a ton of TV's, if I just walk in on a night a Magic game is on, odds are, the Magic game will not be on. For a town that only has 1 professional sports team; that's depressing.

Ben Q. Rock said...

You make an excellent point about the town being spoiled. I doubt expectations for the franchise would be so high if it weren't for it's almost-immediate success. We reached the finals in our sixth year of existence, right? That's pretty remarkable, and it was exciting for the city, but it probably hurt the team long-term. There aren't too many Magic fans left, and I fear that the ones who will support us after this coming season will mostly be bandwagon-jumpers.

Frustration with other teams may also come into play. The D-Rays are futile, and UCF hasn't been competitive since Daunte left. The few sports fans left in Central Florida seem to have all their hopes pinned on the Magic, so the magnitude of each defeat is that much greater.

Something to chew on.