Tampa Bay Sports Day

NBA NOTEBOOK: Orlando Magic Tap McGrady as Special Assistant

ORLANDO – Tracy McGrady will join the front office of the Orlando Magic as special assistant to CEO Alex Martins. McGrady played for the Magic from 2000 to 2004, making the All-Star Game all four seasons.

The club said the 38-year-old McGrady will be available to the players and coaches on and off the court, will assist and advise the executive team in several areas and will help with promotion, marketing and community relations activities for the Lakeland Magic of the NBA G League.

McGrady played in 295 games (294 starts) during his four seasons with the Magic, averaging 28.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.53 steals.

Payne breaks hand in practice
Magic forward Adreian Payne suffered a fractured left hand in practice.

Payne, who signed a two-way contract with the Magic during the summer, fractured the fourth metacarpal of his left hand, and his return will depend on his response to treatment.

Payne appeared in 18 games with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2016-17, averaging 3.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in 7.5 minutes. The 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft out of Michigan State, Payne has played in 102 career NBA games with the Hawks and Timberwolves while posting averages of 4.0 points and 3.0 boards.

The 26-year-old spent time with the Erie Bayhawks in the NBA G League last season and is expected to split his 2017-18 campaign between Orlando and its G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic.

NBA unveils new All-Star Game format
The NBA and its Players Association announced a new format for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles that will abandon the traditional Eastern Conference versus Western Conference matchup.

Under the new format, two captains will pick the teams from a pool of 24 players who were voted in by fans, media and fellow players. The captains will be the top vote-getters from each conference as chosen by the fans.

“I’m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us,” NBPA president Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to putting on an entertaining show in L.A.”

The voting process and process to pick the head coaches will remain unchanged. Additionally, each team will select a Los Angeles-based or national charity to raise donations for.

“We’re excited about the new All-Star format and appreciate the players’ willingness to try something new,” said Byron Spruell, the league’s president of league operations.

The 67th annual All-Star Game takes place Feb. 18 at Staples Center.