Brian Schmitz, Magic Insider
4:33 p.m. EST, August 25, 2012
Are the Magic looking to hook perhaps the NBA's biggest fish four years from now?
Yes, it's difficult for fans to even digest how long a wait that might be.
But wouldn't the wait for Kevin Durant be worth it?
Now the knee-jerk reaction might be this: Durant? Durant isn't the kind of kid who would ever abandon Oklahoma City as a free agent (after the 2015-16 season.) He's the leader of a great, young team now. And surely, the Thunder aren't about to let him get away.
People and circumstances change.
Who envisioned Miami striking up a band called The Heatles? Or New Jersey --- New Jersey! – being relevant again?
Magic fans know how quickly things can change. Once again, they must stomach seeing another superstar center (Dwight Howard) in a Lakers' uniform.
No one predicted the Dwightmare coming. No one saw Howard going from a kid who loved being Orlando's ambassador to a big-market mercenary.
If Durant doesn't fancy himself as a big-city guy, wouldn't Orlando make sense? Retooling mostly through the draft, the Magic could have young pieces in place by then, if GM Rob Hennigan has his way.
Hennigan isn't opposed to signing free agents --- and the Magic have a history of spending money to grab them. But the new GM doesn't seem as if he'll ridiculously overpay for any…unless it's a superstar package of talent and humility like Durant.
In the summer of 2014, the Magic will have roughly $36 million in cap space. The prospective free-agent class is stunning: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce.
None of those stars (several aging) are expected to leave their teams, although Pierce might go exploring. The Heat trio has the option to terminate its contracts…not likely.
Other '14 would-be free agents: Pau Gasol, Amar'e Stoudemire, Zach Randolph, Andrew Bogut, Danny Granger and Andrea Bargnani. None of them -- other than Granger, a good but not great player -- seemingly fit the Magic plan.
The Magic will have even more cap room in the 2015 offseason, depending on what they do the next two summers. And there are some free-agent jewels: Rajon Rondo, Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love.
Will the Magic be good enough by then to turn any of their heads? That's the question. It takes more than a max contract now to land them in this age of stars joining forces.
(Note: LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh can opt out of their deals in '15….again, not likely.)
This leads us to The Summer of Durant, with the Magic a full four seasons (and several lottery picks) into their rebuild.
Other free agents possibly available in 2016: Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee and Nene'.
Durant, 23, still will be in his prime in four years. He might well sign an extension in Okie City before his contract's expiration date. But the Magic can dream, can't they? All is fair in love and war and pirating players.
And, oh yeah, Hennigan knows Durant personally after serving as an assistant GM with the Thunder. Ironically, all Hennigan's Thunder blueprint might need in Orlando is….a free-agent star like Durant.
Your Ad Here
Maybe you've heard that the NBA will allow advertising patches on their uniforms, starting in the 2013-14 season. Jersey sponsorships have been commonplace overseas for years. NASCAR drivers are walking billboards.
The NBA estimates the revenue could amount to $100 million annually, and that's a conservative figure.
So, naturally, we have some serious suggestions, tying products to teams:
Brooklyn: Dunkin' Do-Nets.
Orlando Magic: Builders Square.
Boston Celtics: Faded Glory Jeans.
Milwaukee Bucks: John Deere.
Charlotte Bobcats: Pinch A Penny.
Sacramento Burger Kings.
And, of course, the Chicago Red Bulls.
LeBron James' newest Nike basketball shoes top out at about $300 a pair. The LeBron X is ridiculously overpriced because the sneaker includes motion sensors that will record statistics on how high the wearer jumps.
Too bad the sensors didn't stun LeBron into using some common sense.
Youths have been killed over expensive sneakers. Nike has even given retailers guidelines on how to distribute the LeBron Xs to prevent release-day violence in stores.
"To release such an outrageously overpriced product while the nation is struggling to overcome an unemployment crisis is insensitive at best," Urban League President Marc Morial said. "It represents twisted priorities and confused values. Just don't do it.
"Parents struggle to give their children every advantage, and while expensive shoes might draw admiration, achievement is the advantage that truly matters. Those dollars would better be spent on computers, books and school supplies."
This 'n' That