Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Sports

Magic sees signs of improvement

RECOMMENDED READING


ORLANDO — It has been two seasons since the Magic went through near-wholesale changes that included a franchise player's exit and bringing in a new general manager and coaching staff.

The two seasons since have produced just 20 and 23 victories following Wednesday night's season finale.

While fans haven't seen a lot of positive oncourt results yet, the new regime is hoping that it can remain patient entering what could the most pivotal offseason to date of the current rebuilding project.

"I think if you look back on the year, I think we made some positive strides. Strides in the right direction," Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said Thursday.

Solid seasons from No. 2 overall draft pick Victor Oladipo and third-year center Nik Vucevic gives team officials even more confidence. The Magic has two lottery picks in June's draft and roster flexibility to bring in veterans.

"I think there are more steps than just the win and loss column. You can prepare to win. There's also cultivating," coach Jacque Vaughn said. "It's similar to a garden. You have to cultivate, you have to feed it. You got to weed out some things. You got to fertilize it. So there's steps to making that garden grow."

Point guard Jameer Nelson, 32, who has spent his entire 10-year career in Orlando, is the oldest player. There is uncertainty about whether Nelson will be back next season. He is due $8 million in the final year of his contract in 2014-15, but the Magic would owe him $2 million if he is waived by July 15.

"I would love to continue to play here and be here and see this thing turn around. I'll just keep my fingers crossed,'' Nelson said.

MELO MEETS JACKSON: Carmelo Anthony said he wants to stay in New York and said he wants to win. It will be up to new team president Phil Jackson to convince him that he can do both. "I want to come back. I also want to win. Me wanting to be here, if we can put ourselves in position to at least compete at a high level over the course of whatever, five years, the contract would be, then I'm willing to stay here," he said. Anthony met with Jackson, then said he's "not at a point in my career where I want to rebuild." Anthony endorsed coach Mike Woodson, despite the Knicks going 37-45 and missing the playoffs. Amare Stoudemire said Woodson wasn't at his exit meeting with Jackson and GM Steve Mills.

ADELMAN OUT? Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman will not return next season, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The Timberwolves went 40-42 this season, and Adelman, 67, has a 97-133 record in three seasons in Minnesota.

Sager's son tweets dad's illness: TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager begins treatment today for acute leukemia, his son Craig Sager II tweeted. Sager's son said the family found out about the leukemia after being told his father was clear.

Comments
NFL Week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Happy Thanksgiving! It's already week 12 of the NFL season, and the football feast is set to begin. It all starts at at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, when the Lions try to win their fifth straight Thanksgiving Day game against a Minnesota team out to bec...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Unsung heroes on the remaining playoff teams

Unsung heroes on the remaining playoff teams

In the spirit of the holiday, we asked our six remaining high school football playoff teams who they're most thankful for this postseason.Beth Dare, Cambridge ChristianThere is no bigger cheerleader for Cambridge Christian football than Beth, wife of...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
University of Tampa volleyball finds playoff form in time

University of Tampa volleyball finds playoff form in time

TAMPA — Earning an NCAA Tournament bid is usually not cause for celebration with the University of Tampa volleyball program. It has become routine.But after hitting the abyss of a 3-10 record, after players felt their confidence was shot, after coach...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Admiral Farragut’s John Waller commits to USF

Admiral Farragut’s John Waller commits to USF

Admiral Farragut DT John Waller announced Wednesday via Twitter he intends to sign with USF.A three-star prospect per 247Sports, he becomes the Bulls' 23rd non-binding commitment from the Class of 2018, and second from Admiral Farragut. WR Zion Rolan...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot: What you need to know

Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot: What you need to know

Just like the several types of dishes you’ll see at Thanksgiving, you can run any type of race before you stuff your face. The Tampa Bay Times’ annual Turkey Trot offers a race for nearly every distance, from a one-mile run/walk to a 10k race. • Clea...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sports doctor pleads guilty to sex charges that involved Olympic gymnasts

Sports doctor pleads guilty to sex charges that involved Olympic gymnasts

LANSING, Mich. —A former doctor accused of molesting girls while working for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University pleaded guilty Wednesday to multiple charges of sexual assault and will face at least 25 years in prison. Larry Nassar, 54, admi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Examining the Bucs’ Hall of Fame semifinalists

Cannon Fodder podcast: Examining the Bucs’ Hall of Fame semifinalists

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman takes a closer look at the three former Bucs who are semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.He also looks at the constant churn on the Bucs’ practice squad and why Julio Jones’ stats have dropped off this season,...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Trump calls father of freed UCLA player an ‘ungrateful fool’

Trump calls father of freed UCLA player an ‘ungrateful fool’

Associated PressPALM BEACH — President Donald Trump started off his first day of Thanksgiving vacation by resuming his taunts of the father of a UCLA basketball player detained for shoplifting in China, saying Wednesday that he was an "ungrateful foo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs’ Barber, Lynch, Rice among Hall of Fame semifinalists

Bucs’ Barber, Lynch, Rice among Hall of Fame semifinalists

Ronde Barber, John Lynch and Simeon Rice — teammates on the Bucs' 2002 Super Bowl championship team — are among the 27 semifinalists to be considered for this year's Pro Football Hall of Fame class.Lynch is a semifinalist for the sixth st...
Updated: 2 hours ago
High praise for Clearwater Central Catholic’s linebackers

High praise for Clearwater Central Catholic’s linebackers

CLEARWATER — From Colin McCarthy (Miami/Tennessee Titans) to Caanan Brown (Virginia) to Conner Dorris (Navy), a Clearwater Central Catholic defensive staple has been star quality at linebacker. Think Marauders, think linebackers. It has been a corner...
Updated: 2 hours ago