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Jacque Vaughn Impressing Early
When you’re asked basketball-related questions, including several about the status of superstar center Dwight Howard, you don’t generally respond by reciting poetry.
Unless you’re new Orlando Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn of course.
Not only does Vaughn like to quote his favorite poet, Maya Angelou, but he’s a poet himself.
He’ll certainly need that way with words to deal with a host of questions regarding Howard and his trade demand until he is actually dealt.
During Vaughn’s introductory press conference, he told reporters he hadn’t talked to any of the Magic players yet. However, with Magic big man Glen Davis in attendance, that quickly changed. The two spoke after the press conference and Davis came away very impressed with his new head coach.
Davis told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel Vaughn said he was “just making sure that you’re ready. You’re going to have the opportunity to be a contributor here. You’re going to have the opportunity to do big things, and you just be ready, making sure that you come in [to training camp Oct. 1] the right way, in the right shape, and just holding me accountable.”
Davis went on to call Vaughn a “wonderful guy” and a “thirsty dog.”
Vaughn’s lack of experience (He is only spent two years as an assistant coach, both with the San Antonio Spurs) is a concern, but he doesn’t see it with that way.
Instead, Vaughn said he had many years of experience, citing three of his coaches – current North Carolina and former Kansas coach Roy Williams, former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan and current San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich, as the best teachers a player can have.
The Magic and Vaughn hope they can have even a fraction of the success of Vaughn’s former mentors.
Howard & The Hawks?
When Dwight Howard’s comes up in connection with the hometown Atlanta Hawks, most brush it aside and keep the Nets and the Lakers in the lead to acquire Howard’s services.
When the Nets re-signed Brook Lopez, they took themselves out of the Howard race until January and the Lakers, who have All-Star center Andrew Bynum as a trade chip, seemingly took the lead. HtD continues to hear the Houston Rockets, who have three rookies, Kevin Martin‘s expiring contract and multiple future draft picks are in the lead.
However, the Atlanta Hawks could be a real player.
Not only do the Hawks have an All-Star big man in former Florida Gator Al Horford, but they could potentially part with Jeff Teague, who showed great improvement in the 2012 postseason.
When the Hawks traded Johnson to the Nets, not only did they help eat up Brooklyn’s cap room, but they acquired Anthony Morrow, who Howard named as one of the five players he’d like to play with.
“With me and Josh having a relationship with Dwight, it’s a possibility,” Morrow told Alex Kennedy of Hoops World. “It’s always a possibility, but that’s something that they’ll have to take care of upstairs. Mr. Ferry is doing a great job so far. Anything is possible, you never know. It’d be great with the relationship that us three have, and (fellow Atlanta native) Lou Williams too, especially from a chemistry standpoint.”
The Hawks also have All-Star power forward Josh Smith, someone Howard grew up playing basketball with in Atlanta.
Of course, the Hawks can’t offer the cap relief and future picks the Magic desire like a team like the Rockets can.
Magic, Kyle O’Quinn Agree To Deal
On Thursday the Orlando Magic are expected to announce they’ve reached a three-year agreement with second round pick Kyle O’Quinn.
The 6’10, 240 lb. O’Quinn averaged 15.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game for Norfolk State last season. He famously had 26 points and 14 rebounds when his Spartans upset second seeded Missouri in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
“It’s pretty emotional,” O’Quinn told the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday night. “It’s kind of like the final stage to all the work you’ve put in. It’s another big day.”
The first year of the deal is guaranteed.
O’Quinn, the 49th overall pick, was projected as a first round pick by some pundits.
(Andrew Melnick is the ESPNFlorida.com Magic and NBA Insider, co-host of the ESPN 1080 Insiders Show and publisher of Howard the Dunk. The Insiders Show can be heard Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST on AM 1080 in Orlando and on ESPNFlorida.com. You can follow Andrew on twitter here.)