Magic fans, these are good times. Your team just secured its second consecutive 50-win season. You had three all-stars, more than any other team in the league. Your team will be playing well into the summer.
It’s time to let go of the past. It’s time to stop holding on to petty grudges. It’s time to forgive Fran Vazquez.
Vazquez — who is in a tight race with Grant Hill as Public Enemy No. 1 in Orlando — is tearing it up in Spain as we speak. He’s averaging 11.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in the Spanish league. In the Euroleague, his 8.9 points and 4.2 rebounds in 19 minutes are solid, and he’s shooting 66 percent.
Vazquez stands at 6-foot-10 , his coordination is remarkable and he's very strong. He’s just what the Magic need next season. Uncertainty surrounds Orlando’s frontcourt behind Dwight Howard. There’s a very good chance that Marcin Gortat will sign with another team for much more money than the Magic can give. Tony Battie will turn 34 next year. Past that there’s, uh, nobody.
I understand your detestation of Vazquez. He disillusioned the Magic in 2005, staying in Spain in part because his girlfriend didn’t want to move. He used the NBA draft as a way to test his stock and see how much he could earn in the U.S., and Orlando was the poor team who decided to take a chance on him. (Not that Orlando doesn’t deserve any blame, but they were ultimately the victim in this situation)
In 2005, the Magic were a year removed from being the worst team in the NBA. The team was at the climax of one of the worst contracts in NBA history — the 7-year deal for Grant Hill — and Steve Francis was the team’s starting point guard. Magic fans were jaded.
But now it’s 2009, and things have taken a 180-degree turn. It’s a good time to be a Magic fan. It's time to realize that Vazquez's size and strength could be a huge commodity for Orlando.
The Orlando Sentinel reported earlier in the year that the Magic would welcome back Vazquez if a buyout with FC Barcelona can be reached. It's time for Magic fans to do the same.
Notice that there is fairly prominent NBA rookie that Fran Vazquez scores on several times. Do you know who it is?