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Chat Transcript - Otis Smtih

On May 3, 2006, the Orlando Magic promoted Otis Smith to General Manager. A member of the inaugural 1989-90 Magic squad, Otis was given full responsibility of overseeing basketball operations, including player acquisitions via the draft, free agency and trades, player development, scouting and salary cap management. Prior to his promotion, Otis was Assistant General Manager during the 2005-06 campaign after serving as Director of Player Development for two seasons.

Before his move to the front office, Otis played in 375 career regular season NBA games, including three seasons with the Magic. He also played for Denver and Golden State during his career, averaging 10.5 ppg. and 3.8 rpg.

The day after the 2006 NBA Draft, Otis will be chatting live with fans on OrlandoMagic.com. Now's your chance to ask the Magic's GM to discuss the team's draft choices, strategies and free agency. Submit your questions and then check back on June 29th at 3:00PM ET as Otis chats live!

Moderator: Hello everyone. Otis is just finishing up with a press conference introducing new Draft picks J.J. Redick and James Augustine to Orlando. He will be joining us in the next couple of minutes.

Moderator: Otis has just walked into the room, so let's start firing away the questions!


Gabriel (Orlando): Great job drafting J.J. Redick, most experts agree with this pick. If you re-sign Deshawn will Redick get good playing time?

Otis Smith: I think competition there is going to be good if we resigned DeShawn. I think it will be good to have six guards, you can't have enough of those. With the two that we have playing the point and then DeShawn, J.J. and Keyon gives you a good five guard rotation. And then with Travis is gives you a sixth guard, so it doesn't hurt us. I think J.J. will get many minutes, because he can shoot, so it's a new dimension to our backcourt.



fendi, manila: Nice pick on Reddick. Will Brian Hill be using him ala Rip Hamilton by coming off screens and knocking those open jumpers to open up the inisde for Dwight or will he be used as someone like Ray Allen, who'd also be creating his own shots.

Otis Smith: That's going to be up to J.J. and the Coach. From my perspective, J.J. has the ability to put the ball on the floor and create his own shots, but he also has the ability to come off screens and shoot. So, that's why he was a good pick for us. But that's going to be a Coach and J.J. decision based on how he does this summer and in training camp.



cedric london UK: i think JJ will help spread the floor for our guys (Nelson,Howard,Darko).Now that we have him, should our priority be to resign Deshawn and Ariza? Thanks! GO MAGIC!

Otis Smith: I don't know if that's ever not been our priority. That's always been our priority. Our goal is to get both of them signed. Just because the Draft was going on, it doesn't necessarily mean we weren't working to get both of those things done at the same time. So, starting Saturday we can work hard to get that done since that's when free agency begins.



Robert, Orlando: Had J.J. been selected at No. 9 or 10, who would have been next on your radar?

Otis Smith: There were a couple of guys on the board that we still liked that fell right after our pick. I'm not going to name names, but there were a couple. We obviously liked J.J. and there was also a big guy that we wanted, but I thought it fell just the way we wanted.



Leesburg, Va: What were some of the surprise picks/trades you saw on draft night?

Otis Smith: There were so many trades, it was almost hard to keep up! I think the thing that happened at the top with Aldridge and some of the ones that happened at the top were unique. I think if you look at the trades, there were a lot of moving and shuffling. The difference between this draft as opposed to ones in the past is that there were some players you liked, some you didn't like and you could take them up here or leave them down there - depending on what your needs were. So I think it was a unique situation altogether this year.



Jackson, St. Cloud: What other teams stood out to you as having a good Draft?

Otis Smith: I got to tip my hat to Chicago and John Paxson with what he's doing up there. He's putting together a team that, in my mind, is a couple of years away from competing for a championship. I've been saying that Chicago is kind of our rival right now, because they are on the same boat - a young team that's up and coming and putting the pieces together. They are still growing, while all the other teams around us in the East and even the West are starting to age. Even if you look at the Miamis and the Detroits - the elite teams now. You can see where we are starting to get better and Chicago is getting better. And Portland had a good draft as well. Probably because they had so many picks, they were able to change the look of their team.



Darin, Danville, IL: James Augustine is a solid pickup in the 2nd round. I've watched him grow and develop at Illinois over the past 4 years. What you get in Augustine is a terrific rebounder with solid low post moves. Do you think that James will get some solid minutes off the bench?

Otis Smith: I think that will be up to James. I think James and J.J. will make themselves valuable and make Coach want to put them up the floor. From my standpoint, I think what James would do is come in and work his butt off. That's what you expect from a rookie, to have them come in, work hard, continue to get better and give your chance to play in the future and I think he'll do that.



Danny NY: Hey Otis! After next year, do you see a future for Grant Hill with the Magic, assuming there are no injuries involved in the coming season?

Otis Smith: That's a good problem to have. I think Grant will have an outstanding year this year and then to have to opportunity to keep him beyond next year, that's a good problem to have for us. We're excited about what we think he's going to do this year. If he wants to play another couple more years with the Orlando Magic, we're looking forward to the opportunity to do that. But we're going to take it one day at a time - take this year first and then see where it unfolds from there and then take address next year as it comes.



lev tampa: What do you think about Hedo Turkoglu? Is he going to start next season?

Otis Smith: That's a basketball question that you have to get into with Turk first. I think he controls that. He showed at the end of the season last year that he wanted consideration as a starter. He's also one of those guys that can shoot the ball from long range and can do many things. It's just going to depend on how hungry Turk is and what he's going to get out of it. From my standpoint, Turk can play three positions for you, so he makes himself valuable from that aspect.



Marc (Newnan GA): Have the Magic been in contact with, and have any hope of 2005 draft pick Fran Vazquez playing for the Magic in the future.

Otis Smith: We've been in constant contact with Fran. We have hope for him to play here and hopefully in a year from now, he'll be playing here. We think Fran is an asset in one way, shape and form - in either he plays here or we use that as a way to move him in another deal we have working. We're expecting him to be here next year sometime, but we'll see. It's really a day-to-day process. We talk to him monthly, we watch him monthly. We're hopeful and optimistic that he'll join our team soon.



Bellevue, WA: Hello Otis... I'm just wondering how is Grant doing in these days and do you expect him to play next season??? If you do, do you expect him to start or coming off the bench? Thanks

Otis Smith: I fully expect Grant to have a, we say having a breakout season for an All-Star is tough, but a different season than last. What he's doing now is increasing the range of motion in his ankle, which is about 60 percent better than it was - coming from last year and year's past. I can't even express how big that is for his growth and strength. I expect Grant to have a really big season. He's probably about eight weeks away from getting on the floor now. He looks as good as I've ever seen him and is as strong as I've ever seen him. So, I expect a big year.



Apopka: Hey Otis, First off you are doing a remarkable job and I love the direction that this team is going in. What do you see as the team's main weakness?

Otis Smith: Well, you can never have enough bigs. So, we need to thing about where we can use some more bigs. I think we still need to get a little older - something that we can't necessarily control right now. There are a couple free agents out there right now that we need to hammer down in DeShawn Stevenson and Trevor Ariza. So, from our standpoint, those are the things we need to take care of right now. We like where we are and the team that we have. But the concentration right now is on the 2-3 spot and the holes that we have with Trevor and DeShawn.



Zacchieus Martin, Inglewood, CA : What are your expectations for Darko Milicic next season?

Otis Smith: I'm expecting Darko to have a pretty big season. This will be the first time he's had a full season ahead of him. He's excited about the opportunity to play. He's having a big summer - playing for his national team and he's working his butt off to be a good player. The unknown with Darko is, how good can he be? I think we saw a glimpse of him last year. With a full training camp under his belt with this team, I think it's going to be a position. Training camp is setting up to be one of the most exciting, motivating camps we've had, so it's going to be a good one.



Loudoun County, Va: What are some of the tips you'd give to a 12 year old who wants to set his goal as being in an NBA front office position one day?

Otis Smith: Just go to school. Learn as much as you can. There are so many Web sites out there now that you can go on and play on. Whether it's RealGM that these guys are going on or HoopsHype that you can play around with the different aspects of things. Whether you play basketball or not, just watch a lot of basketball in your spare time. Watch the Draft and see how it falls out, based on your evaluation of players - if that's your goal. But there's a lot of avenues in basketball and sports in my mind that young people don't always take into consideration. We have over 150 people that work in our organization and they work in all different aspects of basketball.



Nate (Salt Lake City): There are obviously two different sides to the game, one from a players' perspective, and one from the perspective of an administrator. What do you miss about being a player that you don't have the priviledge to be a part of now? conversely, what don't you miss from your playing days that has become a luxury to you now?

Otis Smith: When you walk away from the game as a player, you miss the camaraderie you have with the guys in the lockerroom. For the most part, that's the first thing you miss. After that, you just miss playing. Whether I'm a player or an executive now, I play every game as I see it. I'm competing night in and night out to give our self the chance to win. For the most part, it's about competition, winning. That edge, I don't think you ever lose as a player or as an administrator.


Otis Smith: I appreciate everyone logging on today and appreciate all the interest you have in the Orlando Magic. It should be an exciting year. We're excited about the Draft we had. I was a Slam Dunk Draft for us, so we are very excited about the opportunity that we have next season. So it's going to be up to us from this point to capitalize.