Posts Tagged ‘Jason Williams’

Past, Present Staring Down Kings

HANG TIME TEXAS, Y’ALL – These are busy, frantic times in the King-dom of Sacramento.

For a minute or two, try to forget all of the problems in trying to get a new arena and the rumors that the franchise is still headed to Anaheim. For now, there are other immediate concerns:

First off, how to replace forward/center Chuck Hayes, whose free agent contract was voided when a physical exam revealed a heart abnormality?

Matt Kawahara and Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee had the news:

A projected starter who signed a four-year, $21.3 million free-agent contract Dec. 9, Hayes was expected to play a key role in the Kings’ offense and serve as a physical, vocal presence on defense.

“We’re not going to be able to replace him,” Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie told The Bee on Monday afternoon. “He was one of the best defensive frontcourt players in the league and a really unique player we thought would facilitate some offense.

“We’ll take a look at what we can do, but it’s not going to be the same.”In a statement released Monday, Petrie said notifying Hayes of the failed physical was “one of the most heartbreaking moments of my professional or personal life.”

Hayes has undergone further testing on his heart, but specifics about his condition have not been released. Messages left for Hayes’ agent Monday were not returned.

Monday evening, Hayes posted to his Twitter account, “Thank you everyone for your prayers and support, taking the next step to get healthy and back on the court, much love.”

Perhaps fortunate for the Kings front office is the fact that one of their own, who played in Sacramento last season, is still out there on the free agent leftover pile.

As the Kings look for ways to replace Hayes, among the available free-agent big men is Samuel Dalembert, who played last season in Sacramento.Asked about the possibility of bringing back Dalembert, Petrie said: “We’ve stayed in touch with him periodically along the way. We’ll see what develops here in the next few days and go from there.”

While scrambling to fill cracks in the immediate future, the Kings would be wise to take time out to honor their past in the aftermath of Peja Stojakovic’s calling it a career by hanging his retired jersey from the rafters.

As Victor Contreras of the Bee points out, those 7 1/2 seasons that Peja spent in Sacramento were special and usually spent performing at a very high level.

He goes out as one of Sacramento’s all-time favorite Kings, a player whose No. 16 should hang from the Power Balance Pavilion rafters soon alongside the jerseys of former teammates Chris Webber (No. 4) and Vlade Divac (No. 21).

Stojakovic was the stubbly, baby-faced assassin on the Kings’ original Fab Five. Webber was the muscle inside, Jason Williams thrilled crowds with no-look passes, Divac played point-center, and Doug Christie supplied the defense.

But it was Stojakovic who killed teams from beyond the arc. He was in constant motion, flowing along the baseline like a shark, scoring on back-door feeds and hitting threes from the corner.

Worth remembering also? Peja’s fourth place finish in the 2003-04 MVP voting (24.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 48% 3-point shooting) was just as high as Webber ever finished in his best season of 2000-01 (27.1 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 4.2).

Getting the Magic point

Posted by Fran Blinebury

Complete Summer League coverage on NBA.com
ORLANDO –
Turns out that while most of the NBA seemed to be camped out on the doorstep of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade when the free agency period opened on July 1, Magic general manager Otis Smith was ringing the bell of Chris Duhon.

“It came down to he liked us and we liked him, weren’t courting other people and he wasn’t courting other people,” Smith said of the point guard who agreed to a four-year, $15-million deal with the Magic. “It just made sense.”

Smith made his first public comments on the deal just a few minutes after Orlando’s summer league team dropped to 0-2 after a 78-73 loss to Utah.

“When you look at Chris, I think you look at a guy who defends the position,” Smith said. “And defend the position well. Also, you have to look at the guy who could possibly start for you in the event you have an injury for that position. You also have to do your due diligence in that area.”

Smith said the Magic will use part of the mid-level exception to sign Duhon. He also said the move does not affect any plans the club has for free agents Matt Barnes and Jason Williams.

Where’s The Bench?

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Posted by Sekou Smith

LOS ANGELES – Stars are the catalysts for their teams in playoff situations, we all know that.

But they’ve got to get a little help from their supporting cast at some point, right?

Speaking of the the supporting cast, has anyone watching the Eastern Conference finals seen the Orlando Magic bench?

I don’t know what it looks like up close and personal, but from 2,500 miles away — even on the dozens of HD screens a gang of us watched the Celtics’ Game 2 win over the Magic on Tuesday night — you can see that something’s missing from the Magic attack we saw all season.

That boost they could count on from their reserves all season is not there now, when the Magic need it most (down 0-2 and headed to Boston for what could be their final two games of a once-promising season).

Rasheed Wallace, Tony Allen and Glen Davis are dramatically outplaying their Magic counterparts, namely Mickael Pietrus, J.J. Redick, Jason Williams and Marcin Gortat. It’s probably not even worth the time asking about Brandon Bass, whose acquisition last summer for $18 million was supposed to lighten the load on Dwight Howard in situations like the one the Magic find themselves now.

Not everyone thinks it’s worth questioning things like the contributions of the bench crews in this series, not when there are greater forces at work.

Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi insists the Celtics are just better all the way around:

Go ahead and have at it. Go ahead and try to bisect, dissect and trisect why the Orlando Magic are down 0-2 and on life-support following Tuesday’s 95-92 loss to the Boston Celtics.

But I can save you a lot of time and trouble because the reason is really quite simple:

The Magic have run head-on into themselves — a better, more determined, more poised, more experienced version of themselves.

We are talking, of course, about the Celtics, who have now all but destroyed the Magic’s chances of winning the Eastern Conference finals and ultimately winning a championship.

“These teams are mirror images of each other,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

Except the Magic’s mirror is now cracked and shattered and the reflection staring back at them is mouthing the word, “Sweep.”

“We’re coming home to close it out,” said Boston’s Paul Pierce after leading his team with 28 points.

Then Pierce tweeted on his Twitter page: “Anybody got a BROOM?”

Magic center Dwight Howard responded to Pierce’s brashness with some Biblical trash talk: “Pride comes before the fall.”

Howard then added defiantly, “This series is not over. I won’t stop believing and I won’t let my teammates stop believing.”

How can this be? How can the hottest team in the league during the last half of the season — a team that had won 14 in a row and swept through the first two rounds of the playoffs — now be gasping for survival? How can the Magic, who have not lost two straight home games all season long, lose the first two home games of the Eastern Conference finals? How can everything the Magic have talked about and worked for be circling one of the clogged-up drains in one of the musty bathrooms at Amway Arena?

I’ll take a stab at that last one, and I won’t suggest the cruising in the first two round of the playoffs has anything to do with it (like I suggested it might last week before enduring the wrath of the Magic faithful around here for saying so).

The Celtics’ bench/role players are so thoroughly outplaying their Florida counterparts that this series won’t last past four games without immediate and significant contributions from the Magic’s  crew in Games 3 and 4.

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