Orlando Magic Rumors: John Gabriel rejoins team as consultant

Oct 26, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic mascot, Stuff, before the game at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 26, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic mascot, Stuff, before the game at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Orlando Magic general manager John Gabriel is reportedly set to rejoin the team as a consultant and adviser.

Former Orlando Magic general manager John Gabriel has rejoined the team as a consultant and adviser, Pat Clarke of WESH News Channel 2 reports.

Gabriel served as an assistant coach with the original Magic teams before moving into the front office to serve as an assistant executive to Pat Williams. He was part of the staff that formed the original 1995 Finals team. He took over as general manager and was the lead executive as the Magic tried to pick up the pieces following Shaquille O’Neal‘s departure.

Gabriel won the 2000 NBA Executive of the Year after clearing the cap room to sign Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady. He nearly nabbed Tim Duncan that summer too as the Magic became immediately relevant again.

Of course, Grant Hill never could stay healthy and the Magic’s plans to improve themselves in the Eastern Conference never crystallized. Even with Tracy McGrady dominating the league, the Magic could never put the right pieces around him to be more than a first round exit.

After Orlando got off to a poor start in the 2004 season, the Magic fired Gabriel.

Since then, Gabriel has worked for the New York Knicks where he was most recently the director of pro scouting. He still lived largely in Orlando and was often at Magic games.

Gabriel continued to work for the Knicks despite his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. That illness has not defined his career at all since then, though. He appeared at a lot fewer Magic games this year. But he was there when Anfernee Hardaway and Magic co-founder Jimmy Hewitt was inducted into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame earlier this year.

It is not hard to envision Gabriel getting his turn this upcoming season.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

It is unclear what Gabriel’s actual role for the Magic will be as an adviser. Other legends have had similar roles with teams — think Jerry West with the Golden State Warriors — where they provide insight and advice when asked.

Recently the Magic have used former Utah Jazz assistant coach Gordon Chiesa as an advisor. He was brought in initially to help rookie coach Jacque Vaughn. He would spend two weeks in Orlando at a time observing practice and providing his thoughts.

Gabriel could fill a similar role or provide his input as the Magic make decisions. President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said he wanted to have a diversity of voice providing input.

Already, Gabriel was present at draft workouts that were opened to the media.

Gabriel has been in this league a long time and around the Magic for a long time.

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Even if Gabriel’s role is more ceremonial, it is good to have one of the most important figures in Magic history back with the team.