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GM says Magic doesn't need an overhaul to win title

ORLANDO — Magic general manager Otis Smith doesn't expect major moves this offseason, believing Orlando already has the roster to win its first championship.

"We're not a team that's that far away, so I can't sit here and say, 'Yeah, we're going to make all these drastic changes because we're miles away,' " Smith said Monday. "We're not miles away. We're not at the bottom third of our league. We're at the top of our league.

"And with that said, we have to do things diligently and with the understanding of the aspect that we're putting the team-slash-puzzle together and that everything is going to have to fit."

Of course, that's what he said last year. Then Smith made the bold move to part ways with Hedo Turkoglu — and starters Courtney Lee and Rafer Alston — and acquire Vince Carter from New Jersey.

The Magic swept through the first two rounds of the playoffs this year before falling into a 3-0 hole against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals and losing in six games.

"The season was great," said Magic center Dwight Howard, who isn't sure if he will play for U.S. basketball at the world championships during the summer. "We just didn't finish what we started."

Howard played when the United States won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and when it won bronze in the 2006 world championships.

Players cleaned out lockers, took home an autographed team photo and said their goodbyes Monday.

Most of them likely will be back since the Magic is over the luxury tax and hampered by big contracts to Carter and Rashard Lewis.

Starting small forward Matt Barnes, 30, said Monday that he will opt of the final year of his deal to be a free agent but would like to remain with Orlando.

Guard J.J. Redick, who became a top reserve this season, will be a restricted free agent. And backup point guards Jason Williams and Anthony Johnson will be free agents.

bynum has knee drained: Lakers center Andrew Bynum's troublesome right knee was drained of excess fluid, and he hopes to play closer to full strength in the Finals against the Celtics. A small tear in the meniscus has limited Bynum in the playoffs. He has started all 16 playoff games, averaging 9.1 points and 7.7 rebounds. Bynum's low-post defense would be valuable against Boston's big lineup.

Pierce excited — mostly: Celtics forward Paul Pierce looks forward to returning to his hometown for the next round in the league's greatest rivalry. But he isn't thrilled that Los Angeles plans to guard him with Ron Artest, a physical, tenacious defender. "He likes to bang you," Pierce said, "grab you, hold you, pull your shorts down. He's going to try anything." Boston's captain cherishes the support of a large number of friends and family who will root against their local team, though it comes with a price. "It's always special just to be a part of the Finals," he said before the Celtics boarded a plane for their cross country trip. "To do it in a place where I grew up, it makes it even more special. The only negative thing about it is tickets for me. I mean, it's going to be pretty expensive."

nba finals

Celtics vs. Lakers

Thursday: at Los Angeles, 9

Sunday: at Los Angeles, 8

June 8: at Boston, 9

June 10: at Boston, 9

June 13: at Boston, 8 *

June 15: at Los Angeles, 9 *

June 17: at Los Angeles, 9 *

All games on Ch. 28

* If necessary

GM says Magic doesn't need an overhaul to win title 05/31/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 31, 2010 9:21pm]
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