Orlando Magic are a professional basketball team based in Orlando, Florida. They play in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and are currently coached by Stan Van Gundy. The franchise was founded in 1989 as an expansion franchise and has had such notable NBA stars such as Shaquille O'Neal, Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Steve Francis, Dwight Howard, and Vince Carter throughout its young history. The franchise has also been in the playoffs for more than half of their existence (11 playoff appearances in 20 years).
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The first half of the 2008–09 season went very well for the Magic. After 41 games, the Magic were 33–8, leading the Southeast Division, as well as having one of the top four records in the league. At the start of February, Jameer Nelson, their all-star starting point guard, went down with a shoulder injury which caused him to miss the remainder of the season. After trading for Rafer Alston, the Magic finished the regular season with a 59–23 record, it was the most games the team had won in a season since the 1995–96 season in which they had 60 wins. In the playoffs, the Magic beat the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs and then the defending champions, the Boston Celtics, in the Eastern Conference semifinals, behind assistant coach Patrick Ewing’s guarantee that they would win Game 7 of that series. In their first conference finals since 1996, the Magic beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, which were led by the season’s MVP, LeBron James. After dropping the first two games in the Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Magic finally won their first ever game in the finals in Game 3. The Lakers won the series and the championship by beating the Magic in five games.
In the 2009 offseason, Orlando traded Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, and Courtney Lee to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for eight-time All-Star Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson. They then made several free agent signings. On July 10, former Dallas Mavericks power forward Brandon Bass was given a 4 year deal. On July 21, the Magic signed former Phoenix Suns Forward Matt Barnes. On August 19, they signed former Miami Heat point guard Jason Williams.
On September 28, 2009, the Magic extended the contract of head coach Stan Van Gundy by exercising his option for the 2010–11 season. They did the same for General Manager Otis Smith, which would keep him in that position through the 2011–12 season.