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scott skiles

The Orlando Magic’s Scott Skiles and the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.

Skiles led the Magic to the East’s best month at 10-5 (.667). Orlando went 5-3 at home and 5-2 on the road. On the defensive end, the Magic held opponents to 96.6 points in December, the fourth-stingiest mark in the NBA. On the offensive end, Orlando shot 48.1 percent as a team in December, third-best in the league and tops in the Eastern Conference.

gregg popovich

Popovich guided the Spurs to the league’s best record in December at 14-2 (.875). San Antonio went 10-0 at home, and at the end of December owned a 19-0 mark at AT&T Center. The Spurs, who surrendered 100-plus points in only two of 16 December games, held opponents to a league-low 87.1 points – a mark more than six points better than that of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who ranked second at 93.2 points allowed.

Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Atlanta’s Mike Budenholzer, Cleveland’s David Blatt, Detroit’s Stan Van Gundy, Golden State’s Luke Walton, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers, Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan and Toronto’s Dwane Casey.

Here’s the Orlando Sentinel with good news on Magic guard Victor Oladipo, who is averaging 14.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game this season:

Victor Oladipo knee injury appears minor

From the Orlando Magic’s perspective, the only saving grace to the knee-to-knee collision between Victor Oladipo and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Jamal Crawford late in the Magic’s 103-101 loss Saturday night is it appears Oladipo avoided a significant injury.

Oladipo returned to the game about three and a half minutes after Crawford’s right knee banged into his left knee. After the game ended, Oladipo walked out of the Staples Center without crutches or even a sleeve around his knee.

“When he kneed me, it hurt so bad,” Oladipo said. “I don’t know what’s going on, really, honestly [with my knee]. But I’m feeling a lot better now. But it hurt really bad.”

The Orlando Magic are 6-7 this season, and getting double-digit scoring from Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton. Rookie shooting guard Mario Hezonja is playing just 14.5 minutes per game, good for 4.8 ppg. Here’s the Orlando Sentinel reporting:

Magic rookie Mario Hezonja still learning the ropes

Hezonja has shown tantalizing glimpses of the potential that prompted the Magic to select him fifth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, but his rookie mistakes on the defensive end and a logjam of other talented wing players are reducing his playing time. Coaches review tape with Hezonja almost daily in an attempt to cut down on his errors.

By all accounts, Hezonja, a 6-foot-8 swingman, has been an eager student.

“It’s a team sport, so I’m looking forward to help the team the best that I can and, of course, [I’m] individually looking to improve because I’m here to play,” he said after he played almost 17 minutes in the Magic’s 97-91 loss Saturday night to the Sacramento Kings.

The Orlando Magic are 5-6 through Monday’s games and awaiting the return of Victor Oladipo (14.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 3.9 apg this season). Here’s the Orlando Sentinel reporting the latest:

Victor Oladipo should return soon for Magic

Magic coach Scott Skiles said there is a chance that SG Victor Oladipo could play against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night if he clears the NBA’s concussion protocol.

Oladipo was injured when he ran into center Dewayne Dedmon during the Magic’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers last Wednesday night at Amway Center.

Skiles said Oladipo participated in the Magic’s non-contact practice on Tuesday.

“Vic went through the practice today. He did no contact. We had a no-contact practice anyway,” Skiles said. “And so now he’ll be evaluated again. He did the bike work. He did other exercises. So they build the person up and they give tests again either (Tuesday) or (Wednesday) I think and depending on how that goes, that will determine whether he plays or not.

“He got through all of it and looked pretty good. And now it will all be up to the tests.”

Hedo Turkoglu has retired from NBA

Hedo Turkoglu has retired from NBA

Forward Hedo Turkoglu, who played 15 seasons in the NBA and eight with the Orlando Magic, has announced his retirement yesterday. Turkoglu will be honored and recognized by the Magic during a special ceremony on Friday, December 18, when Orlando hosts Portland at Amway Center (7 p.m. start).

“I am very thankful and grateful for the opportunity to live out my dream and play in the NBA,” said Turkoglu. “I will always remember my teammates, coaches, staff members and all of the fans who made my career so wonderful for myself and my family.”

Turkoglu played in 497 regular season games (412 starts) with Orlando from 2004-09 and 2010-13, averaging 14.5 ppg., 4.5 rpg. and 3.9 apg. in 32.7 minpg., while shooting .379 (794-2,005) from three-point range and .805 (1,402-1,741) from the free throw line. He also appeared and started in 49 playoff games with the Magic, averaging 14.4 ppg., 4.5 rpg. and 4.5 apg. in 38.0 minpg.

Turkoglu earned the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award in 2007-08 and helped Orlando reach the 2009 NBA Finals. He ranks on the Magic’s all-time list in nearly every statistical category, including minutes played (fourth, 16,233), three-point field goals made (fourth, 794), points scored (sixth, 7,216), games played (sixth, 497), free throws made (sixth, 1,402), rebounds (2,221) and assists (sixth, 1,927).

Originally selected by Sacramento in the first round (16th overall) of the 2000 NBA Draft, Turkoglu appeared in 997 regular season games (571 starts) during his 15-year NBA career with Sacramento, San Antonio, Orlando, Toronto, Phoenix and the L.A. Clippers, averaging 11.1 ppg., 4.0 rpg. and 2.8 apg. in 26.8 minpg., while shooting .384 (1,246-3,246) from three-point range. He has also appeared in 109 career playoff outings (72 starts), averaging 9.7 ppg., 3.8 rpg. and 2.6 apg. in 27.4 minpg.

Orlando Magic notes, Nov. 9, 2015

Below are team notes on the 3-4 Orlando Magic

Orlando kicks off a four-game week tonight when they take on the Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. On November 11, the Magic will host the Los Angeles Lakers, and on Friday, November 13, the Magic will take on the Utah Jazz at home before ending the week at the Washington Wizards Saturday (7 p.m.). All games are broadcast exclusive locally on FOX Sports Florida.

Evan Fournier is coming off a career week with the Orlando Magic. On Nov. 3, Fournier scored a career-high 30 points and hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final 1:13 of the game to lift Orlando to its first victory of the season over the New Orleans Pelicans. On Nov. 4, he had another 20+ scoring performance, adding 29 points, including two free throws with 1.1 seconds left in regulation to send the Magic to overtime against the Houston Rockets. Fournier finished the week as the leading scorer for the Magic, averaging 21.8 ppg. over the four-game stretch.

From the floor, the Magic are holding opponents to .410 (256-of-625 FG), which ranks fourth in the NBA (as of Nov. 8). In addition, Orlando is holding the opposition to shoot .292 (61-of-209) from beyond the three-point arc, which ranks sixth in the league (as of Nov.8).

The Orlando Magic are averaging 6.71 blkg. (47 blocked shots) this season, which ranks second in the NBA (as of Nov.8).

Orlando went 3-1 last week, including wins over the New Orleans Pelicans, Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers. The Magic notched their first win of the season (103-94) on Nov. 3 on the road against the Pelicans, and then took the Houston Rockets to overtime before falling, 114-119. Following a home win on Nov. 6 against the previously unbeaten Toronto Raptors (92-87), the Magic defeated Philadelphia, 105-97, at Wells Fargo Center.

Here’s the Orlando Sentinel with an update on tonight’s Magic lineup:

Dewayne Dedmon to start tonight for Magic

Dewayne Dedmon started six games during the 2013-14 season and 15 more games last season, so moving into the Orlando Magic’s starting lineup tonight against the Toronto Raptors won’t be new to him.

Still, now that a right-knee bone bruise will prevent Nik Vucevic at least from playing tonight, Dedmon wants to show how much he’s grown since he last started on April 11, 2015.

“It’s definitely an opportunity,” Dedmon said. “I definitely don’t want it to come like this, with the big fella going down. But you’ve just got to take it in stride. You hope he gets back as soon as possible, but it’s definitely an opportunity for me to showcase a little bit.”

The Orlando Magic have exercised their third-year team options on forward Aaron Gordon, guard Shabazz Napier, and guard Elfrid Payton, while also exercising their fourth-year team option on guard Victor Oladipo, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

All four players are now signed through the 2016-17 season.

Gordon (6’9”, 220, 9/16/95) played in 47 games (eight starts) last season with the Magic, averaging 5.2 ppg. and 3.6 rpg. in 17.0 minpg. He ranked among all NBA rookies in rebounding (11th) and blocked shots (8th). Gordon was originally selected by Orlando in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft.

Napier (6’1”, 175, 7/14/91) appeared in 51 games (ten starts) last season with Miami, averaging 5.1 ppg., 2.5 apg. and 2.2 rpg. in 19.8 minpg., while shooting .364 (43-118) from three-point range. He ranked among all NBA rookies in three-point field goal percentage (3rd) and assists (7th). Napier was originally selected by Charlotte in the first round (24th overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft. He was acquired by Orlando along with cash considerations in exchange for a conditional second round draft pick on July 27, 2015.

Payton (6’4”, 185, 2/22/94) played in all 82 games (63 starts) last season with the Magic, averaging 8.9 ppg., a team-high 6.5 apg., 4.3 rpg. and a team-high 1.73 stlpg. in 30.3 minpg., while compiling an assists-to-turnover ratio of 2.63 (533/203). He was named to the 2014-15 NBA All-Rookie First Team and finished fourth in voting for NBA Rookie of the Year. Payton ranked 13th in the NBA in steals, 14th in assists and 16th in assists-to-turnover ratio. He also among all NBA rookies in scoring (8th), rebounding (T-8th), assists (1st), field goal percentage (7th), steals (2nd) and minutes played (4th). Payton was originally selected by Philadelphia in the first round (10th overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft. He was acquired by Orlando in exchange for the draft rights to Dario Saric, a future first round draft pick and a future second round draft pick on June 26, 2014.

Oladipo (6’4”, 210, 5/4/92) played in 72 games (71 starts) last season with the Magic, averaging 17.9 ppg., 4.2 rpg., 4.1 apg. and 1.67 stlpg. in a team-high 35.7 minpg., while shooting a team-best .819 (262-320) from the free throw line. He was tied for eighth in the NBA in minutes played, ranked 16th in steals, 21st in scoring and tied for 36th in assists. Oladipo has appeared in 152 regular season games during his NBA career, all with Orlando, averaging 15.8 ppg., 4.2 rpg., 4.1 apg. and 1.64 stlpg. in 33.3 minpg. He was originally selected by Orlando in the first round (second overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft and was named to the 2013-14 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Magic waive Nnanna Egwu

The Orlando Magic have waived center Nnanna Egwu (EGG-woo), General Manager Rob Hennigan announced following Friday’s preseason game. Orlando’s roster now stands at 14.

Egwu appeared in five preseason games with the Magic, averaging 1.2 ppg. and 3.2 rpg. in 8.4 minpg.

Orlando begins the 2015-16 regular season on Wednesday, October 28 at home against Washington (7 p.m.).

Magic waive Greg Stiemsma

The Orlando Magic have waived center Greg Stiemsma (STEAM-smuh), General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Orlando’s roster now stands at 15.

Stiemsma appeared in two preseason games with the Magic, averaging 1.5 rpg. in 8.3 minpg.

Orlando begins the 2015-16 regular season on Wednesday, October 28 at home against Washington (7 p.m.).

Magic waive Melvin Ejim

The Orlando Magic have waived forward Melvin Ejim (EDGE-um), General Manager Rob Hennigan announced following tonight’s preseason game.

Orlando’s roster now stands at 16.

Ejim appeared in four preseason games with the Magic, averaging 3.5 ppg. and 2.3 rpg. in 8.0 minpg.

Orlando begins the 2015-16 regular season on Wednesday, October 28 at home against Washington (7 p.m.).

Magic waive Keith Appling and Jordan Sibert

The Orlando Magic have waived guards Keith Appling and Jordan Sibert, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Orlando’s roster now stands at 17.

After clearing waivers, the two will join the Magic’s D-League team, the Erie Bayhawks.

Orlando begins the 2015-16 regular season on Wednesday, October 28 at home against Washington (7 p.m.).

Enjoy this video showcasing Tracy McGrady’s best highlights from his days on the Orlando Magic:

Magic paying big money to Tobias Harris

Magic paying big money to Tobias Harris

Here’s the Orlando Sentinel reporting on a talented young Magic player who now has a lot of pressure on his shoulders to earn his much bigger salary:

Magic paying big money to Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris checks in at a svelte 235 pounds, not counting, of course, the extra weight he’s carrying.

It’s quite a load.

He’s put on an additional $64 million.

Harris and the Magic can only hope it doesn’t show this season.

A huge four-year contract has made Tobias the team’s highest-paid player, surpassing Nik Vucevic’s deal.

This is all new for Harris at 23. He says all that money won’t affect him. He says he doesn’t see himself “pressing” to try to justify the count and the amount.

“It doesn’t change me or my game. I don’t play the game just for the paycheck. I play for the love and the love of winning,” Harris told me. “When I signed my deal, the next day I was back in the gym, working just as hard. It’s no time to go out and celebrate crazy. I’m blessed enough to be in this position.

“It drives me. It just shows me if you want another one, you have to work twice as hard.”

Magic hope for big things from Aaron Gordon

Here’s the Orlando Sentinel reporting on a key member of the Magic youth movement:

Magic hope for big things from Aaron Gordon

Almost two and a half months have passed since Gordon underwent surgery July 14 to repair his fractured jaw, and the bone now is almost fully healed. Although he has participated in the first four practices of Orlando Magic training camp, he has been forced to sit out full-contact drills and team scrimmages….

The Magic are counting on Gordon, a combo forward, to play a major role in the year ahead. At 6 feet 9 and 220 pounds, and blessed with smarts, elite jumping ability and superb quickness, Gordon arguably has more potential on the defensive end of the court than anyone else on the roster. Skiles envisions Gordon as someone who can guard opponents at four different positions, even point guards.

The team expects Gordon to be cleared for full contact at some point in mid-October — perhaps before the team’s Oct. 17 exhibition in Rio de Janeiro against the Brazilian team Flamengo. Still, even if Gordon plays against Flamengo, there would be little time left before Orlando’s regular-season opener on Oct. 28. Therein lies the concern.

None of this would be a worry if Gordon, now 20, hadn’t been goofing off after the Orlando Pro Summer League with his 25-year-old brother, Drew, who played a bit last season for the Philadelphia 76ers.

A glance at Magic training camp

A glance at Orlando Magic training camp

Here’s the Orlando Sentinel with insight on Magic training camp, which is set to open:

The team will have 19 players in training camp, although two of them could be limited early on. Gordon is still recovering from a fractured jaw that he suffered in mid-July and likely won’t begin participating in full-contact, 5-on-5 drills until mid-October. Magic officials recently learned that Fournier tweaked one of his ankles during France’s final game in EuroBasket 2015, and the team could proceed cautiously with him.

On Thursday, the Magic announced the signing of four new players who will attempt to earn a roster spot: point guard Keith Appling, center Nnanna Egwu, guard Jordan Sibert and center Greg Stiemsma.

Appling will compete against newcomer Shabazz Napier for the role as Orlando’s third point guard, while Egwu, Sibert and Stiemsma likely will compete against forward Melvin Ejim for the 15th spot on the roster.

Guard Tyler Harvey, whom the Magic drafted late in the second round in June’s draft, will not attend training camp and instead will spend the season with the Magic’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks. The Magic will retain Harvey’s draft rights.

Magic sign Melvin Ejim

The Orlando Magic have signed forward Melvin Ejim (EDGE-um), General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

Ejim (6’6”, 220, 3/4/91) played in 47 games (45 starts) last season with Virtus Roma in Italy, averaging 7.9 ppg., 5.6 rpg. and 1.00 stlpg. in 24.1 minpg. He recently played with the Orlando Magic “White” team during the 2015 Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League, averaging 9.2 ppg., 6.8 rpg., 1.6 apg. and 1.00 stlpg. in 30.0 minpg.

Ejim, who was not drafted by an NBA franchise in 2014, played in 135 games (126 starts) during four seasons at Iowa State University from 2010-14, averaging 12.2 ppg., 7.8 rpg., 1.4 apg. and 1.08 stlpg. in 27.8 minpg., while shooting .497 (596-1,158) from the floor. He finished his collegiate career as the Cyclones’ all-time leader in games played and games started. Ejim also finished on the school’s all-time list in rebounding (second, 1,051) and is the only player in ISU history to amass 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 100 steals. Ejim was named the Big 12 Player of the Year in 2013-14. He helped Iowa State captured the 2013-14 Big 12 Tournament championship and reach the Sweet Sixteen during the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Heat trade Shabazz Napier to Magic

Heat trade Shabazz Napier to Magic

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have traded guard Shabazz Napier and cash considerations to the Orlando Magic in exchange for a protected 2016 draft pick.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, “Napier, 24, gives the Magic additional depth at point guard, a position where Elfrid Payton is entrenched as the starter and free-agent signee C.J. Watson will serve as Payton’s backup. Napier also would be able to contribute some scoring off the bench.”

Napier (6’1”, 175, 7/14/91) played in 51 games as a rookie last season, averaging 5.1 ppg. and 2.5 apg. in 19.8 minpg., while shooting 36.4 percent from three-point range. Napier scored in double-figures in six straight games between Nov. 16-25 and notched a career-high 18 points on Feb. 20 at New York. He had a season-best eight assists on Feb. 11 at Cleveland. Napier underwent sports hernia surgery on Apr. 1. He returned to action this summer and scored 14 points and added six assists in Miami’s final game in the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League. He also averaged 18 points in 25.0 minpg. over three games during summer league play in Las Vegas.

As a college senior in 2014, Napier, a consensus First Team All-American, led the University of Connecticut to the NCAA Tournament title and was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. He was also part of UConn’s 2011 NCAA Championship team and became the only player in UConn history to total at least 1,500 career points and 500 career assists. Originally selected by Charlotte in the first round (24th overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft, his rights were acquired by Miami on draft night.

More from the Sentinel: “The only way the Heat will get the Magic’s second-round pick in 2016 will be if Orlando finishes with one of the NBA’s five best records during the 2015-16 regular season. In other words, if the Magic’s second-round pick falls anwhere from 31st overall through 55th overall, the Magic would keep the pick.”

Heat are sending Shabazz Napier to Magic

Here’s the Miami Herald reporting a Heat roster move:

Heat are sending Shabazz Napier to Magic

For many in Miami, it was difficult to watch Shabazz Napier play basketball for the Heat and not think of LeBron James. That won’t be a problem anymore.

In an effort to clean up its offseason roster, the Heat traded Napier to the Orlando Magic on Sunday for almost nothing in return save closure.

It was James who wanted the Heat to draft Napier last year, but James never played with the point guard from the University of Connecticut. A few summer-league games into Napier’s stint with the Heat, James shocked the Heat’s front office with his move to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Magic trade Maurice Harkless to Blazers

Magic trade Maurice Harkless to Blazers

The Orlando Magic have acquired a conditional future second round draft pick from Portland in exchange for forward Maurice Harkless, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

Harkless played in 45 games (four starts) last season with Orlando, averaging 3.5 ppg. and 2.4 rpg. in 15.0 minpg. He led (or tied) the team in assists once. Harkless scored in double figures three times, including a season-high 18 points on Mar. 18 @ Dallas.

Originally selected by Philadelphia in the first round (15th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft, Harkless was acquired by the Magic on Aug. 10, 2012 as part of a four-team, 12 player deal. He has appeared in 201 career NBA regular season games (104 starts), all with Orlando, averaging 6.8 ppg., 3.5 rpg. and 1.08 stlpg. in 22.9 minpg.

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