Insider: Justin Harper to France

Justin Harper In France

The Magic traded two future second round picks to the Cleveland Cavaliers on draft night in exchange for the rights to the second overall pick of the second round, Richmond forward Justin Harper.

Harper wasn’t very well known among most basketball fans until his Spiders knocked off both Vanderbilt and Morehead State in the NCAA tournament before bowing out to Kansas in the Sweet 16.

Harper averaged 17.9 points per game for the Spiders last season and shot a very impressive 44.8% from beyond the arc. Those three-point skills have led many to compare Harper to former Magic forward Rashard Lewis.  You can read more about Harper and his excellent chance to earn playing time the Magic here.

With the immediate future of the NBA clearly (that will be touched on below), Harper chose to play overseas, heading to France SIG Strasbourg. After a couple of exhibition games, Harper’s team has started their season.

Harper’s squad features five American born players, including his former Richmond teammate, Kevin Anderson and forward Lavoy Allen of Temple, a former Atlantic-10 rival.

In Harper’s first game, he scored 10 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in a win over Cholet. Harper shot 50.0% from the field in the game.

A week later, Harper’s club took on Nancy.  Harper had a night to forget from the three-point line, going just 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. He did, however, shoot 3-of-6 from inside the line and put in three of his four free throw attempts. He finished with 12 points and 9 rebounds in SIG Strasbourg’s 67-62 loss.

Strasbourg will play for the third consecutive Saturday when they take on Le Havre on October 22.

Owners, Players Far Apart

Everyone knows the players and owners are quite far apart in their labor dispute. In fact, NBA Commissioner David Stern has even gone as far as to suggest we won’t see basketball on Christmas Day (a day that is scheduled to have three marquee matchups – Boston at New York, Miami at Dallas and Chicago at the Los Angeles Lakers).

Just how far apart are they?

Well, the owners and players can’t even agree on that. Stern has said the two sides are “very apart” on all issues, while Billy Hunter, the Executive Director of the NBA Player’s Association, recently hinted he thought the sides were relatively close.

There will be a meeting Tuesday featuring federal mediator George Cohen.

News & Notes:

  • Henry Abbot of True Hoop has story discussing the day the talks fell apart between the owners and the players you can find here.
  • Orlando’s player representative is reserve point guard Chris Duhon while Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick are the alternates.
  • Free agent forward Earl Clark, who spent over half of last season with the Orlando Magic after coming over in a trade with the Phoenix Suns, has been released from his contract in China and returned to America.
  • The Magic have lost seven games because of the cancellation of the first two weeks of the season. Those games are:

November 2 against Charlotte
November 3 at Miami
November 5 at Washington
November 6 against Philadelphia
November 9 against Utah
November 11 against Washington
November 13 against Atlanta