Change Has Cost Magic Dearly!

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Let the Orlando Magic be the cautionary tale for any team embracing change, on their roster, this time of year.

Roster building in the NBA is a living and breathing thing, one that requires constant attention but not necessarily constant action. The Magic know this better than most, having not only flipped their roster several times in the past eight years but also swapping out the people in charge of roster building more than most.

Our main man Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel lists the count of “high-profile people who have parted ways with the franchise since December” at 17. That’s since Christmas time folks! And that number could grow in the coming hours, days and weeks depending on what happens in the Draft tonight, with Dwight Howard and others in free agency and trades.

But as Schmitz points out, the Magic are not exactly experiencing change anyone can believe in right now:

The casualties so far include one CEO, one head coach, six assistant coaches, one GM, one assistant GM, six scouts and one player-development director.

An entire basketball operations department could go on Craigslist.

The Magic have fired so many folks, they’re making Donald Trump look benevolent.

The 30-year-old kid in the hall, freshly appointed GM Rob Hennigan, whacked the last eight himself after taking the job last week. We probably can stop the concerns whether his tender youth might cloud his decision-making, so my last crack about Rob’s age will be the fact he no longer will be allowed to sit on Santa’s lap at the mall.

It’s a new launch for the Magic, and frustrated fans have no choice but to embrace the unknown. They’ll be saluting or blaming strangers, beginning with tonight’s draft, and that seems perfectly fine with the faithful now that Otis Smith isn’t near a contract and a pen anymore.

And the biggest change hasn’t even happened yet, speaking of Dwight Howard.

Hennigan fielded more questions Wednesday about Howard’s future than whom he might pick at No. 19.

Hennigan deflected the inquiries like a hockey goalie, including mine: What are the chances Dwight will be traded Thursday night?

“You know what? I don’t want to comment on that,” Hennigan said. “We’re going to continue to evaluate everything we can, analyze all the details, any options and scenarios. I don’t know the answer to that.”

Hennigan knows the answer, and a draft-day deal for Dwight is possible. He just can’t go there yet about Howard.

The Magic’s direction depends on Howard’s direction, and what we do know is this: Dwight hasn’t told the club he’s dying to sign an extension.

For fans, there could be some tells in the Magic’s poker game regarding Howard. If J.J. Redick is dealt on draft-day and Jameer Nelson opts out Friday, Hennigan won’t have to keep pretending publicly that there’s a chance Howard is coming back.

Hennigan’s job will turn into a rebuilding project.

There’s that “R” word that no fan of any team wants to hear at Draft time.

Any “rebuilding project” comes with a fair amount of pain for all involved. For a Magic franchise that played in the The Finals in 2009, it has to be a particularly painful way of heading into the summer.

Even worse for Magic fans, this might only be the beginning of an excruciatingly painful chapter in franchise history, depending on just how much change is ahead.


  1. cefri anthony says:

    if i am the gm of the magics, i would sacrifice this year as to rebuild. i would trade howard to the lakers in exchange for bynum & the number 60 pick. those are two big men that can help in the future. howard has no interest in coming back to the magics so it’ll be best to trade him and have someone to fill that void in the roster.

  2. baboy says:

    i can rebuild this team around dwight in a year and a half.. what u need is a pick n roll pg (d will) and shooters and a back up center.. thats the goal..

  3. Bob says:

    Awesome story. The new CBA has changed the game and there are teams that overpaid for role players that are in the “soup” now. Orlando is a big bowl of clam chowder. I would rebuild this team in a minute. Change the culture and try to pull off a Riley and lure 3 quality free agents that will make a team. Accumulating pieces will not get you what you want anymore.

  4. JP says:

    Orlando has done a horrible job at drafting, making trades, signing free agents, and developing players! Everyone that got fired rightfully deserved so, as they have done a poor job. Starting with Otis. He never had any sort of plan and made knee jerk emotional decisions. He’s responsible for the mess that Orlando is in right now. The mess of not having any money to add worthy free agents around Dwight and having all of the Magic’s money tied to multi year bad deals with players either way past their prime or who have never had a prime (Duhon). Van Gundy was far too negative to consider himself a leader and also played the worse line-ups possible. He rightfully deserved his X as well and as a lifelong Magic fan I’m glad he’s gone. Regarding the scouts, well their track record of the players we drafted in previous years speak for themselves. They let themselves go. I like many other Magic fans have a great deal of confidence in our new GM and I can appreciate he has the gull to make the critical decisions that were long overdue. I just wish as the GM he has the authority to fire the bum of a writer Brian Schmitz!!!! Orlando has rebuilt after Shaq and Penny as well as T-Mac and Hill, so I’m very confident we wil rebuild and rebound again if Howard chooses Orlando isint where he wants his future to be.