Stan and Otis Discuss Trade-O-Rama
With the big trades going down today, Stan Van Gundy’s pre-game media availability was a lot more lively and noteworthy. Stan spoke to the media at 5:30 today and then the Magic’s President of Basketball Operations, Otis Smith at 6:30. Below are some interesting notes from those sessions:
- Stan pointed out that it will obviously be a difficult challenge at first to get everyone acclimated to the team and the culture. The team will play two games with the new acquisitions before even holding a practice. It’s easy to simplify the offense you run, but not as easy to do the same on D.
- Stan also spoke glowingly about every player that was departing. He and Otis Smith both said that the talk with Rashard Lewis was one, if not the, hardest conversations they have ever had to have. Stan felt that Rashard was the player that really helped the Magic turn the corner and go from a mediocre first round team, to the elite squad they’ve been the last few years.
- Stan spoke about the potential rotations and mainly that he isn’t concerned with them. He said that the minutes will work themselves out. Everyone will get the number of minutes they deserve and he said that both Gilbert Arenas and Jameer will -and need- to play at least 32 minutes per game.
- When asked about Hedo Turkoglu’s struggles over the last few years he responded with, “He is 6’10 with skills”. That pretty much sums it all up. Remember, Turk excelled and knows this system. He may not be the same player that he was 2-3 years ago, but he doesn’t need to be.
- Stan said that Jameer will NOT come off the bench. He hasn’t figured it out exactly yet, but it will be either J-Rich, Gilbert or Turk.
- The most interesting thing that came up was that Jameer has expressed interest over the last year in playing off the ball more. Now, with Gilbert able to bring the ball up the court, he will get some opportunities to do that. Stan said that Jameer likes to run off screens and start the offense down low. That should be fun to watch.
- “I thought we needed scoring and a little more punch”. That was the main takeaway from Otis’ entire time speaking.
- Otis has known Gilbert Arenas since he was 19 years old and they remain extremely close. Otis said that he speaks with Gil 2-3 times a week and probably speaks to him more on the phone than anyone outside of his son. To say that he trusts Agent Zero to behave, is an understatement.
- Otis mentioned that he had previously circled the West Coast roadtrip and knew it would be telling tale of where the team really stood. Well, they went 1-3 on that trip and traded away 4 rotation players. I think it’s safe to assume he didn’t like what he saw.
- When asked if he regretted breaking up the Finals team, he stated multiple times that he did not. He said he felt it was the right decision at the time and he stood by his decision.
- He mentioned that Gilbert has been a Magic fan since he was a kid. He grew up idolizing Penny Hardaway and that Penny is Gil’s favorite player of all time.
- When asked specifically about Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, Otis went into typical Otis shut down mode. He stated that he spoke with all 30 teams over the course of the season. If anyone out there still has Melo dreams, it isn’t completely dead… but it would now be even more difficult.
- Otis also echoed Stan’s concern about the lack of a true back up Center. He also mentioned that the team is probably not completely done with dealing. The obvious target would be a backup big man to help support Dwight if/when he runs into foul trouble.
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