Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

Magic sees signs of improvement

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
Kevin Knox named in Yahoo story on potential NCAA violations

Kevin Knox named in Yahoo story on potential NCAA violations

Kentucky's Kevin Knox, a former standout at Tampa Catholic, was named in a Yahoo Sports story about the possible NCAA violations involving prominent players and schools.Yahoo obtained documents from a federal investigation detailing the exp...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
A lot rides on soccer for Plant City’s Eric Ugarte

A lot rides on soccer for Plant City’s Eric Ugarte

PLANT CITY — Eric Ugarte was beaming as he prepared to play on high school soccer's biggest stage. If nearly a full week of hoopla leading up to today's Class 5A state championship game had worn the Plant City senior out, he hid it well.Eric se...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Impact of Tommy John surgery cuts deeply for Brent Honeywell, Rays

Impact of Tommy John surgery cuts deeply for Brent Honeywell, Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE – Two things that tell you a lot about Rays cocksure top prospect Brent Honeywell given Friday's crushing news that he indeed tore a ligament in his prized right arm and is headed for Tommy John surgery that will sideline him wel...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Winter Olympics: Saturday’s viewing guide

Winter Olympics: Saturday’s viewing guide

TV Saturday 6:30 a.m.-6 a.m. Sunday NBCSNHockey (M) — Bronze-medal game, Canada vs. Czech Republic (LIVE)Curling (M) — Final, United States vs. Sweden (replay, 9:3-0 a.m.)Speed skating (M&W) — Mass start finalsCurling (W) ̵...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays open exhibition season with 6-3 win over Pirates

Rays open exhibition season with 6-3 win over Pirates

The Rays won the home game of their opening-day, split-squad set, beating the Pirates, 6-3.1B Brad Miller, with an opposite-field double off the wall, and CF Kevin Kiermaier, with a bloop single to shallow center, provided the early offense.2B Daniel...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Miller time could be a good time, and more from openers

Rays journal: Miller time could be a good time, and more from openers

PORT CHARLOTTE — One of the key story lines in Rays camp is seeing what kind of bounce-back season they can get out of a healthy Brad Miller, coming off October core muscle repair surgery.And while Miller isn't feeling 100 percent — he st...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Split-squad Rays hold on for 6-3 win at Orioles

Split-squad Rays hold on for 6-3 win at Orioles

SARASOTA — A split-squad team of Rays held on for a 6-3 victory Friday against the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium.Yonny Chirinos, making his debut as a Ray, tossed a pair of scoreless innings. He allowed an infield single to former Ray Tim Beckham...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs awarded compensatory draft pick in seventh round

Bucs awarded compensatory draft pick in seventh round

The Bucs finally have a compensatory draft pick.For the first time since 2011, Tampa Bay has played the free-agent game well enough to be awarded a comp pick — after the seventh round, 255th overall, the next to last in the draft.Comp picks hav...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Can the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?

Can the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?

When it comes to the Tampa Bay Lightning these days, there's only question that really matters:Can the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?That's it. That's the big question. That's the only thing on everyone's mind.Will it or won't it?Does this team, whic...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Erik Karlsson-to-Lightning talk won’t die down until deadline is over

Erik Karlsson-to-Lightning talk won’t die down until deadline is over

MONTREAL — Senators star defenseman Erik Karlsson sure seemed chatty with his Lightning friends as he left the Canadian Tire Center on Thursday night.Karlsson, 27, took his time talking up several members of Tampa Bay's staff in the hallway out...
Updated: 3 hours ago