17 July 2007

Of Marcin, James, and Jameer: A Tuesday Roundup

Two small bits of Magic news today:

  • John Denton of Florida Today has learned that the Magic will offer center Marcin Gortat a contract to play for the team this season. He has also learned that the Magic are undecided on power-forward James Augustine, last year's second-round draft pick who made Second-Team All-League in last week's Pepsi Pro Summer League. Augustine's salary of roughly $600,000 will be guaranteed of he is on the roster on July 31.
  • Meanwhile, the Tim Povtak of the Orlando Sentinel reports that Magic General Manager Otis Smith flew to Philadelphia to meet with Steve Mountain, Jameer Nelson's agent, in hopes of negotiating a contract extension for the three-year veteran point guard. Smith told Povtak that the discussions "went well" and that both sides will "continue to talk."
The Jameer business is interesting to me. In the Gortat story to which I linked, Denton speculates the following:
Nelson could be looking for a deal similar to the one T.J. Ford signed with the Toronto Raptors last summer. Ford signed a five-year extension worth $33 million. Whereas Nelson averaged 13 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.9 steals a game, Ford averaged 14 points, 7.9 assists and 1.4 steals a game.
Jameer must be wearing some rose-colored glasses when he looks into the mirror. There's no way that he'll get T.J. Ford-like money. Hell, if Nelson played for Ford's team, he'd be the third point guard; backup Jose Calderon is good enough to start for nearly any team in the NBA.

That said, I like Jameer. I overreacted to his bad season when I wrote that I wouldn't be surprised if he were traded for a draft pick. Yes, his numbers were bad, but he's also a young guy who played in a bad offense with mediocre teammates. One bad year early in a career can't be looked at as a sign of impending doom. That said, if Nelson does not strongly pick up his play this season, he'll be looking at a career of coming off the bench, and quite possibly in a city other than Orlando.

Finally, the results of last week's poll question:

This week's question: "Which player's departure will most hurt the Magic?" I look forward to seeing those answers and to discussing them next week.

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