Denton: Oladipo Enjoyed All-Star Experience

By John Denton
Feb. 18, 2014

MILWAUKEE – Orlando Magic rookie Victor Oladipo got to live out a dream when he experienced his first NBA All-Star Game experience last weekend. But the four days in New Orleans left Oladipo a bit tired, sleep-deprived and with a raspy voice.

After scoring 13 points in the Rising Stars game on Friday, finishing second in the Skills Competition on Saturday and not arriving back into Orlando until 2:30 a.m. early Monday morning, Oladipo might need a break from his break. Oladipo also had promotional and community service obligations throughout the weekend, meaning he had little time at all to rest for the second half of the season.

``It was a long weekend, but it was good,’’ Oladipo said of his busy schedule. ``I had a lot of stuff going on, but I enjoyed myself.’’

New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN Radio that several star players, namely four-time MVP LeBron James, voiced a plea to have the All-Star break lengthened so that the players could get some time off upon leaving the All-Star Game. Silver said that he understood the concerns of the players because of the many demands put on the players throughout the four-day weekend.

Magic standout Arron Afflalo also participated in the all-star festivities by competing in the Three-Point Contest. Afflalo was joined by Magic assistant coach for player development, Laron Profit, to root on Oladipo in the Rising Stars Game on Friday. Afflalo did not stay in New Orleans for Sunday’s All-Star Game, instead returning to Orlando to rest up for the final 28 games of the regular season.

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said he can understand players’ wishes to have the all-star break extended because of their demands during the all-star weekend. ``I think any time you go to the all-star weekend, people don’t realize that the guys are doing a lot. Whether it is with volunteer work, with their own corporate sponsors, team sponsors and the responsibilities that they have for the reason that they are there,’’ Vaughn said. ``There would be ramifications on either the front end or the back end for the games that need to be made up (if there was a longer break). I think for the benefit for the individuals I can see their complaint.’’

TRADE ANNIVERSARY: The NBA trade deadline is Thursday, but the one-year anniversary of Orlando’s 2013 trade-deadline deal with Milwaukee will be Friday. Just minutes before last year’s trade deadline, Orlando acquired Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih from Milwaukee in exchange for J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith.

The Magic got great returns from Harris over the final two months of last season and he has established himself as a solid starter this season. Milwaukee, meanwhile, has nothing to show for the Orlando deal after trading Redick to the Los Angeles Clippers, including Smith in a deal with Phoenix and waiving Ayon. Vaughn is pleased with how Harris has blossomed into a steady contributor and with the Magic’s talent acquisition last February at the deadline.

``It’s having full confidence in the decision-makers and our general manager and what the vision is for our organization going forward,’’ Vaughn said. ``What we do going forward, from the moves that we made, they are positioning ourselves to be a good team for a long time.’’

Vaughn said his experiences as a player and an assistant coach have taught him that it’s simply best to ignore the looming trade deadline because it’s out of the players’ and coaches’ control. He said he’ll try to keep the teams focus on the games and not mention the trade deadline.

``Not at all, not once. I’ll always be that way,’’ Vaughn said of his philosophy of ignoring Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. ``I’ll tell the guys the most important thing about today is today’s game. For me, there’s no need to mention it. If it comes, it goes, then we’ll deal with any ramifications if there are any.’’