Ball Don't Lie - NBA

The Magic surprised and disappointed Marcin Gortat(notes) when they matched the five-year, $34 million offer sheet he signed with Dallas on Monday. In fact, The Polish Hammer's agent Guy Zucker said the back-up center was "very disappointed" by the news. Here's what they're saying out in the ether about the odd situation ...

Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel: "The Orlando Magic haven't just opened their checkbook this offseason. They've done the equivalent of leaving their ATM card on a busy sidewalk, with the PIN number written on the front. Unwilling to let a young center walk away for nothing and eager to return to the NBA Finals, the Magic announced Monday that they have matched the Dallas Mavericks' five-year, $34 million offer sheet to restricted free-agent Marcin Gortat. 'In a league that doesn't have very many centers, to have a starting center and a backup center — to hold that position down — is good,' said Magic General Manager Otis Smith. 'We have five years invested with him, and we do believe in protecting that asset. So bigger than anything else is what he brings to our team.'"

Dime: "... this is crazy! Unless Dwight Howard(notes) somehow went down with a Yao-like injury since last night and the Magic picked up a $5.5 million injury exception, what are the Magic doing? Are they going to start Gortat at the four now alongside Dwight, Rashard Lewis(notes), Vince Carter(notes) and Jameer Nelson(notes)? Are they going to try and trade him after December 15 (the earliest they can)? Whatever they’re doing, I didn’t think it would include paying $34 million to a guy who hasn’t proven anything."

Orlando Magic Daily: "Acquired with the 57th overall pick, 'long shot' was about the nicest way to describe Gortat’s NBA prospects in ’05. He was a complete unknown — some random Polish guy with incredible size and above-average rapping ability. So pardon the Magic if they want something in return after five years of grooming, caressing and molding an all-grown-up Marcin Gortat. It’s like buying a 1968 Camaro for a week’s pay, spending years tirelessly working in the garage, supping it up and having it stolen once you finally take it out on the town. It’s like sticking with a girl as she goes through a divorce a and a drug problem, then watching her find another guy as soon as she gets clean. There are so many applicable similes that I’m going to stop now."

The Puns Are Starting To Bore Me: "Otis [Smith] has turned into a very shrewd and masterful general manager who instead of just being satisfied with going to the Finals saw this team's weaknesses and decided to act on them seemingly as soon as the confetti was swept off the Amway floor. [...] knowing there is only an eight-man roster Otis lets ideas float out that he is only going to be offering up the vet minimum and was very, very vague with the media. We hear that a team has made an offer to Brandon Bass(notes) it the five years and $25 million range but we find out it was agent speak. Otis continues to negotiate with Bass while his agent runs his mouth and then splash four years, $18 million. The brilliance in this is Dallas is convinced that Otis will not match Gortat so they step away and watch from the sidelines. Then yesterday Otis matches the offer sheet on Marcin Gortat seemingly leaving the Mavs befuddled. It was clearly a move they thought they had in the bag but Otis knew all along he would match the offer. Even if Marcin is traded after December he kept a young, coveted asset that should net the Magic a nice player or draft pick in what could be a very deep draft."

"Robi," CelticsBlog: "By resigning Gortat, the Magic have now pushed their payroll close to the $80 million mark, signifying the Magic are going all in. With both Cleveland and Boston adding big men in the form of Shaq and Rasheed Wallace(notes), looks like the chess match will continue. Both Cleveland and Boston still need to add depth at the 2 and 3 positions, positions where Orlando seems to be set with the combination of newly acquired Vince Carter, Mikael Pietrus, and Rashard Lewis. While keeping Gortat does not necessarily swing the scales in favor of Orlando, one can bet that come next June, the Gortat's presence will be invaluable. The Gortat will have significant ramifications on the destination of Boston's Glen 'Big Baby' Davis, who according to his twitter page feels no longer valued by the Boston Celtics. Whether the signing of Gortat will up Boston's efforts to sign Davis remains to be seen. It seems only logical that with Gortat out of the mix, Dallas owner Mark Cuban will come knocking on Big Baby's doorstep, as any team that is looking to get past the Lakers will need size and a lot of it, not to mention the fact that each of the Eastern Conferences Big Three, Orlando, Cleveland, and Boston, have all gotten bigger."

Otis Smith, via Third Quarter Collpase: "Q: Bringing back Marcin, do you think you match up better with Boston and Cleveland in the Eastern Conference, or did you like your team before bringing Gortat back? A: 'I liked it before. I think what it gives you is somebody that can play those minutes behind Dwight. Not only that, but the games in which Dwight was out, Marcin was big for us so not that Dwight misses very much time, or we foresee him missing much time, but you at least have that option to go to when you start looking at viable options not matching his option for guys who perceived that we had a lot of interest in fell off the board, the McDyess' and the Wallace's, you make an argument either way that those guys were short term, whereas Marcin is long term.'" 

The Knicks Blog: "The Magic are stacked. They already added Brandon Bass which allows them to move Rashard Lewis back to his natural position, small forward. Now with a lineup of Jameer Nelson, Carter, Rashard, Bass, and Dwight Howard they have to be one of the favorites in the East considering their depth with Gortat, Anthony Johnson(notes), Mickael Pietrus(notes), and Ryan Anderson(notes)."

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