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Friday, July 12
 
Magic like Vaughn's veteran presence, price

ESPN.com news services

The Orlando Magic are pursuing free agent point guard Jacque Vaughn, hoping he can provide a steadying veteran influence at the position, the Orlando Sentinel reported Friday.

Vaughn's agent, Jeff Austin, confirmed the Magic's interest in his client. But when reached earlier this week, Austin said that no deal is imminent and serious negotiations have yet to begin.

"The bottom line is it's too early," Austin told the newspaper.

Less than a week from the first day NBA free agents are allowed to sign, only three free agents have agreed to terms on contracts. This summer's free-agent crop is considered weak, and teams are strapped financially because they are trying to avoid the luxury tax.

Vaughn, 27, set a dubious NBA mark by starting the season 0-for-22 from the field. But he we wound up shooting 47 percent, including 44 percent of his 3-pointers. He played for the Atlanta Hawks for $590,850 and averaged 6.6 points and 4.3 assists in 22 minutes per game. He played in all 82 games, started 16 and had an assist-to-turnover ratio of better than 3-to-1.

The Magic want Vaughn for his defense and ability to run a team. And he's affordable. Vaughn probably will demand about $1 million to sign. At least a half-dozen teams are seriously interested in Vaughn, the Sentinel reported.

Though he is not the long-term solution at point guard for the Magic, he could aid in Magic coach Doc Rivers' "Save Darrell" plan. Rivers wants to extend the career of Armstrong, 34, the reckless little man who is considered the heart of the Magic, by having him play a sixth-man role.

Vaughn would be given every opportunity to start for the Magic, who have plenty of scorers but could use more defensive-minded players.




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