Magic Wands: J.J. Redick: I don’t think we were as unified

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J.J. Redick sums up the season once again succinctly and nicely. There were problems in the locker room and the culture was different than the Magic’s glory days from 2008-2010. Redick was on 740 AM on Wednesday morning and offered his thoughts on this past season and his future:

“Yeah I don’t think we were as unified as we could’ve been and maybe that is an understatement but there were some issues. We had a great culture the years that we won in 2009 and made it to the Finals. 2008 where it was kind of our first year winning 50 games for Stan’s first year. 2010 when we made it to the Conference Finals again and I really enjoyed our locker room. Those were three teams that I loved being around. In ’08 we had guys like Keyon Dooling, Tony Battie, who had great approaches, were professionals, MP (Mickael Pietrus), Marcin (Gortat), Courtney Lee and myself, we had young guys in ’09 and really the 2010 team to me was my favorite team I played on because we just did everything as a team and it was my one year where everybody kind of bonded on and off the court and then for whatever reason the culture has just changed over the last two years and that certainly affects the locker room. I can’t say it was outright arguing but look there were some issues. I think if you watched us play this year you knew that. You don’t score 66 points in games and lose by 30. That doesn’t happen five times in a season unless there’s some issues.”

Be sure to click the link to see Redick’s thoughts about his own future (he is worth about $5 in a trade, he says) and his thoughts on Stan Van Gundy’s firing.

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The Magic hope to have a general manager named sooner rather than later as interviews of several candidates will begin this week. There are a lot of potential candidates for the Magic’s open general manager job. So turn to Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld for a quick review of some of the candidates for the open position.

The Orlando Magic continue to search for a new head of basketball operations, and while a number of names have surfaced in the press, sources close to the process say there is no clear cut front runner.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported this weekend that Orlando has Oklahoma City assistant general managers Troy Weaver and Rob Hennigan on their interview radar along with Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey.

Those three join a list of executives that have either been scheduled for an interview or are on tap for an interview in the coming days.

Donnie Walsh – Word has it that Walsh, while a fan favorite, may not want the job in Orlando. For Magic fans that may be a blessing. Walsh turns 72 in March and is not exactly in the best of health. If Walsh were to take the job it would be a short term situation at best.

David Morway – Morway has been linked to a number of open situations including the Magic. Morway’s first choice, according to sources close to the situation, is to remain with the Pacers and continue what he has started. However, with Larry Bird’s future unclear and Morway’s contract expiring in July. He is taking interviews.

There are a lot more from Kyler. Definitely worth a read.

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The Magic need options and avenues right now.

Whether or not Dwight Howard is going to be traded or not, the Magic need options so they can know what path to take once a decision is made.

What could give the Magic the most options? I have been bouncing this idea around fellow bloggers and writers, hinted at it on Twitter. And now that the moment is finally coming, I think everyone is realizing that the best thing for the Magic to rebuild quickly and sustainably is to have the Brooklyn Nets win the draft lottery.

What better way to replace Dwight Howard than with Anthony Davis? And it seems of all the teams that could win the lottery, the Nets would be the most amenable to making that kind of a deal.

So Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel is the first major media writer to suggest it. Do they want to borrow Pat Williams?

The Orlando Magic need another miracle now.

Just one more multicolored miracle from Pat Williams, their founding father and resident lucky charm.

He is the mythical Magician who can turn those kaleidoscopic pingpong balls in the NBA Draft lottery into franchise makers.

Except this time, it’s different.

This time the Magic need to rent out Providential Pat to theBrooklyn Nets.

“I’m not for sale,” Williams says and laughs. “I work for the Magic. I can’t be bought.”

But he would be working for the Magic — indirectly. You see, the Magic desperately need the Nets to win the draft lottery Wednesday. If that happens, the Nets get the rights to Kentucky freshman phenom Anthony Davis, whom they could then trade to the Magic for Dwight Howard.

It is the perfect scenario for everybody involved. The Nets need an established, charismatic superstar to make an immediate impact when they move into the sports-congested, star-studded Big Apple, where athletes such as Derek Jeter, Eli Manning, Carmelo Anthony and Tim Tebow dominate the landscape. Dwight could make the Nets relevant immediately.

The NBA Draft Lottery is Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. Fingers crossed. I will have a little bit more on the draft later today/Monday and as the lottery gets closer. Remember, don’t get your hopes up too much. This may not end up being anything. This is just a potentiall opening up of options for the Magic.

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The Magic seem not to be limiting their general manager and coaching candidates to guys that are free agents. Rumors have already started that Orlando is going to reach out to Mitch Kupchak of the Lakers and Doc Rivers of the Celtics in a dream scenario to get the best guy they can. Orlando does not plan on pulling any stops.

The odds of that happening seem pretty slim. So why not go a little realistic.

K.L. Chouinard of Behind the Buck Pass has a really good idea, one that seems pretty feasible and possible. One that would get Orlando a pretty good coach and a guy with Orlando ties.

Yes, I am talking about Scott Skiles.

The happy ending would be for a third party to enter the scene.  If someone else wanted Skiles, the Bucks would certainly not object. (Though, to be fair, the Bucks did object when the Blazers wanted to talk to GM John Hammond, who is also a lame duck.)  Enter the Orlando Magic, who this week fired their head coach, Stan Van Gundy.  Again, from Woelfel:

Those who know Skiles well insist he would crawl to Orlando to be the Magic’s coach. Skiles not only has a house in the Orlando area but he played five years with the Magic while becoming one of their most beloved players ever.

“More importantly, Skiles is one of (owner) Richard DeVos Sr.’s all-time favorites.”

All the evidence points to one conclusion.  The coach wants out, the owner doesn’t want to pay him, and a new owner sits waiting to bring home an old flame.  What could go wrong?  Should we peek in the secret envelope after guessing the culprit, weapon, and room?

Does it really point to that conclusion? There are complications — the major one being that Skiles is a disciplinarian kind of coach who is known to get into arguments with players. Somehow, that does not seem to be the kind of coach Dwight Howard wants to play for. Nor does it seem to be the kind of coach that Alex Martins said the team was looking at.

Still, the idea is interesting.

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J.J. Redick was on Pro Sports Talk on NBC Sports Network and does a pretty good job recapping the Magic season and giving insight into the circus that was the 2012 season. h/t Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk

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The Magic season is over… Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie takes a look at how we got here and the depression and struggles that might be coming our way:

The Orlando Magic would fascinate me endlessly, even if it weren’t for the ongoing Dwight Howard saga or the fact that they might soon fire one of the best coaches in the NBA just to appease a player who took 80 percent of the season to decide that he wanted to play for the Magic for one more season, while still refusing to sign a contract extension along the way.

See, the Magic make no sense. The two best players in the franchise’s regular-season run in 2008-09, the one that led to the team making the Finals, were drafted by former GM John Weisbrod. Now, Weisbrod was smart to draft Dwight Howard ahead of NCAA superstar Emeka Okafor, and good to go after fellow NCAA superstar Jameer Nelson later in that draft, but just about every other move he made as Magic GM was terrible. Young traded for old. Good traded for worse. Big traded for small. Everything you’re not supposed to do, save for picking Howard and Nelson. Weird résumé, that.

So then current GM Otis Smith takes over, and because the team starts to win behind Howard and Nelson, you tend to ignore his missteps along the way. Like attempting to hire Florida’s Billy Donovan, before settling on Stan Van Gundy once Donovan went back on his agreement with the Magic to coach the team. Or the drafting of Fran Vazquez. Or the Rashard Lewis contract. All of this stuff was swept under the rug because the Magic — through Howard, Nelson and SVG — were winning.

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The Magic are going up against one of the best young coaches in the league in Frank Vogel. Over on Crossover Chronicles, I wrote about how Vogel has taken advantage of his opportunity and seizing his moment this postseason:

Vogel seems to be the exact guy the Pacers would want as a coach. Seemingly serious minded, down to business and extremely sharp. This might be his first ever head coaching experience, but you would not be able to tell that from the way he talks about his team, the game and the task ahead of him and his team.

“We do not think about trying to end things soon or anything like that,” Vogel said before the Pacers’ 101-99 overtime victory over the Magic in Game Four. “All we think about is winning Game Four. The rest that will come with that, that comes with winning. All our focus is not on the big picture, it is on the small picture. Carpe diem, seize the moment, seize the day and focus on winning this game.”

To get an idea of who Vogel is. A reporter said to Vogel after this response, “Thanks, Robin Williams.” Vogel was somewhat quick to say, no, that is from the Roman poet Horace. Something he had looked up on Wikipedia.

It was a little moment, but it shows how Vogel, despite his seemingly all-business demeanor, can keep things light. And, maybe, how he connected with his team after they seemed lost under Bill O’Brien’s direction. Indiana needed the serious energy that Vogel could provide.

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If Saturday was Orlando’s last home game, it could very well be the last time Stan Van Gundy stalks the sideline for the Magic. And it was a brilliant performance.

Orlando erased a 19-point fourth quarter deficit using a rarely used small lineup that featured Hedo Turkoglu at power forward. Orlando’s movement increased and it gave Glen Davis the space to roll to the basket. The Pacers looked a little bit lost both on offense and defense trying to attack it. For sure, they will have an answer in Game Five. And Van Gundy will need to push another button to make the whole thing work.

Saturday, though, very likely could have been Van Gundy’s last home game. There would not be a special ceremony. Van Gundy is the first to know that coaches are pretty disposable. All that was is Van Gundy frustrated with himself over another loss and looking to get better for his team the next time.

From Zach McCann of TrueHoop:

“There’s a chance Stan Van Gundy just coached his last game in the Amway Center as coach of the Orlando Magic. 

But while he’s here, he’s coaching his tail off for the overmatched, undersized Magic — and his team nearly tied its series with the Indiana Pacers on Saturday thanks to a pivotal lineup adjustment and inspired play from a team with a built-in excuse to quit.”

And this from Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel:

“If this was his last home game as the coach of the Magic, do not remember Stan Van Gundy for the devastating 101-99 overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers. Remember him for all the wins and grins he has provided you over the years. Remember him for who he is:

The best coach the Orlando Magic have ever had.

Sadly, in front of a sellout crowd he helped cultivate, in an arena he helped inaugurate, for a franchise he helped resuscitate, this was likely the last time Orlando fans will see Stan The Man as their coach. After losing a second consecutive home game, the Magic now trail this series 3-1 heading back up to Indiana. You can forget about the Magic’s traditional ‘Blue and White Ignite’ marketing slogan. This thing is over. The Magic’s chances of winning this series are all but dead. The only thing missing is the toe tag.”

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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