Orlando Magic Top 30: The Most Popular Snubs

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Steve Francis, Orlando Magic
Orlando’s Steve Francis drives the lane during the second half of the Orlando Magic’s 89-81 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at the TD Waterhouse Centre in Orlando, Florida, Sunday, January 29, 2006. (Photo by Gary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images) /

Steve Francis (2005-06)

It is tough to win a superstar trade. Even in a trade where there two stars are traded for each other.

The Orlando Magic were never winning the Tracy McGrady trade. When McGrady asked out and the Magic obliged, they were never going to find equal value. Even with an All-Star in Steve Francis returning.

I remember sitting down as the rumors about the kind of deals the Magic were considering were set out and penning a column in my notebook (those existed back in 2004) about why Francis was the wrong guy to build around in this new atmosphere.

A lot of it had to do with his style of play — an iso-heavy brand — and his reputation around the league as a bit of a loose cannon. That seemed to be the things that then-general manager Jon Weisbrod seemed to value.

When Francis was “your” guy, it was easy to find some of that appealing. Especially when he had everything put together.

His very first regular season game in a Magic uniform was euphoria. With the Orlando Magic trailing by one point, Francis bullied his way to the basket against the Milwaukee Bucks, laying it in as the clock expired. He quickly ran to center court, pulling up on his jersey so “MAGIC” was in full view.

Orlando won on a Stacey Augmon jumper off a Steve Francis pass in his second game. It seemed like things were off and running. And Francis, indeed, was impressive that first year in a Magic uniform (21.3 points and 7.0 assists per game).

There was a lot to like. But plenty to dislike.

His game quickly tailed off after the Magic stunningly traded Cuttino Mobley in January. Doug Christie did not click with the team. Francis became even moodier with his best friend now playing for the Sacramento Kings. He was suspended at one point for kicking a cameraman and got into fights with the Magic’s coach.

Francis’ play quickly tailed off his second year. It was a bitter feeling and the Magic shipped him out for virtually nothing, trying to insulate his negative influence from Dwight Howard and give Jameer Nelson some run at point guard.