HoopsHype.com Interviews

John Gabriel: "Mike Miller is here for the long run"
by Mike Tuck / September 27, 2002

I would like to start by asking you about Orlando’s moves in the offseason. First, why did the Magic sign Shawn Kemp and what will he bring to the team?

John Gabriel: Shawn brings us size and in the Eastern Conference there is a lack of that. We don’t know if he can return to his previous All-Star form, but we do expect for him to bring us scoring on the low post and rebounding.

What does Jacque Vaughn bring to the table?

JG: He is a true point guard that knows who to run an NBA team. He is a good character guy and a leader on the floor who will distribute the ball.

In the first round the Magic selected Ryan Humphrey. What kind of impact do you see him having?

JG: Energy. Pure energy. A guy who will hustle, rebound, and surprise you with his scoring.

Double O (Olumide Oyedeji)?

JG: A guy, who if given the chance, could really be productive for us.

With Monty’s close relationship with Doc, it was probably tough to see him go. What were your thoughts on letting him go and was it something the club wanted or something the Magic had no real control over?

JG: No, we loved Monty Williams and everything he did for us. Truth is, Philadelphia offered him a multi-year deal and we could only offer a deal for the minimum and based on his play last season he earned the money the Sixers are going to pay him.

Mike Miller was shopped all throughout the offseason. Now is he staying for good or is this just a temporary thing?

JG: Well the media had us shopping him everywhere. That just wasn’t true. Mike Miller is the hardest working young player I know. He worked harder than everyone on our team this offseason to become a better player.

So do you think he is here for the long run then?

JG: Yes.

Word is Grant Hill has progressed very well in recovering from his ankle injury. How do you think he is coming along and what he can do for this team this year?

JG: This has been the most positive offseason for Grant yet. I believe he will be close to the form he showed when we signed him. I think Grant will blend in well with team we have and be very good for us this year.

Well, a lot of movement and new faces on this team, I have to ask, are you done or is it just something where you’ll wait until the trading deadline and see if you need to make any other moves?

JG: I believe we are done for now, but you are always looking to make your team better. We will have to wait and see.

Obviously, you are not the coach, but what would you project as the starting lineup with all these new players in the fold?

JG: Well, that is one of the great things about Doc, is his ability to manage players and playing time. He is very good at mixing and matching to get the right combination of players in the game.

Is this team capable of winning the East?

JG: Yes, absolutely. Last year showed that with a couple of lottery teams coming out of nowhere and advancing far into the playoffs. The Eastern Conference is just so wide open and I feel like we’ve made some moves that can put us on top.

Besides injury concerns, which are always there, do you have any other concerns about this team or the players on it?

JG: No, not really. I feel good about where we are as a team heading into training camp.

Mike Tuck is a producer/on-air talent for 740 The Team in Orlando and a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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