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NBA Free Agency: Chris Duhon To Orlando, So Is There Magic Left for Otis Smith?

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 17:  Chris Duhon #1 of the New York Knicks dribbles against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden on February 17, 2010 in New York, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Wil BradleyCorrespondent IJuly 7, 2010

The Orlando Magic continued their slow trudge through free agency on Monday.

Not one to rush, Otis Smith said so in his own words, “Why rush?”

Chris Duhon reportedly agreed to a four-year, $15 million deal.

The move once again fortifies the Orlando bench. Smith felt after the Celtics series, that he lacked quality backups for next season.

Duhon comes with the Duke brand behind him. He fits the Magic’s organizational profile, and fills a need on the court.

Due to Orlando being over the salary cap, and Collective Bargaining Agreement rules, Smith plans to utilize part of the team’s midlevel exception.

That now causes a moment of pause for free agent Matt Barnes.

In fact, based upon Barnes' words, the Magic have not made any offers. That tidbit came via Barnes’ Twitter account.

“Wat orlando fans 5 days n2 the freeagency & NO offer from the Magic yet. Plenty of others teams have reached out but no numbers from magic??”

Seems the City Beautiful’s version of a bad boy hoped popular opinion could help sway negotiations.

Barnes proclivity to speak freely publicly, ultimately will be one of the reasons he does not re-sign with the Orlando Magic. Character means a great deal to the DeVoe family.

Now the Magic must look forward to Thursday.

Once LeBron James decides where to call his new kingdom home, the final deals should fall into place.

One big question remains for Orlando. What happens with J.J. Redick?

Smith remained casual while being interviewed at the Orlando Summer League concerning Redick.

“That’s what restricted guys do.”

Referring to the fact that J.J. will have the ability to sign an offer sheet come Thursday.

The Magic still have some capability to sign Redick. Much will depend on what the market dictates.

 

One gets the sense that J.J. Redick’s days in Orlando could come down to how much Danny Ainge wants to pay.

Duhon always drew attention from Smith. Orlando’s general manager stated, ”He’s our guy.”

With such strong words from the top, packaging Duhon in a sign-and-trade sounds improbable.

Based upon past behavior, many believe Smith may be quietly orchestrating a deal for a big-name free agent.

That could be the case. But on-hand assets make dealing by the Magic complicated.

Some scenarios exist.

Smith could be holding true to his word. Early in the off-season, he proclaimed the Magic only an “eighth of an inch” from being good enough to win it all.

An imminent deal could come involving C.J. Watson.

Watson became a restricted free agent this summer, after the Golden State Warriors offered Watson a contract.

Outside of Steve Blake, Watson was the only other name publicly offered by Otis himself.

What Orlando fans should expect will be a different focus on offense next season.

Smith seems to have decided Dwight Howard will have to carry more of the load. Early indications point to Howard becoming more of a scoring option.

With that in mind, the Magic could believe only incremental changes will be needed.

Don’t be surprised if this is as good as it gets.

 

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