Vince Carter and Dwight Howard don't believe it.
"I still like us [as favorites],'' Carter said defiantly Tuesday.
Carter, who was acquired in a trade with New Jersey last month, and Howard, the All-Star center, have been highly-visible spectators at the Orlando Pro Summer League that is comprised mostly by rookies and young free agents hoping to be invited into someone's training camp in the fall.
"He's going to help them [Celtics]. He has an unbelievable ability to shoot the ball. He rebounds, and he adds to what they already have,'' Carter said. "But I still like us better.''
Carter and Howard have been hanging together this week, both confident but still curious about who will be added to their roster. To get Carter and forward Ryan Anderson from New Jersey, the Magic traded promising Courtney Lee, along with veterans Tony Battie and Rafer Alston. They also decided to let go of free agent Hedo Turkoglu.
The Magic reached the NBA Finals last month, which made the roster changes made by general manager Otis Smith somewhat surprising.
"In Otis we trust,'' Howard said Tuesday. "He won't do anything to mess up the chemistry we had. We still believe we're the team.''
The addition of Carter, a seven-time All-Star, more than negates the loss of Turkoglu. Although known for his scoring, Carter is a more-than-capable ball handler and passer. He averaged 4.8 assists last season on a mediocre Nets team.
Much like Turkoglu did, Carter will handle the ball for the Magic in late-game situations, even filling in at point guard like he did in New Jersey at times.
"I'm so ready to go. I'll do whatever they need, whatever the coaches ask me to do,'' Carter said. "This is a team with a lot of weapons. It's hard not to like us.''