SBD/December 7, 2011/Franchises

Vander Weide Steps Down As Magic Vice Chair & CEO, Martins Named Replacement

Vander Weide said he was waiting for end of labor dispute to make his intentions public
Magic officials announced that Vice Chair & CEO Bob Vander Weide has “stepped down from his post" and Alex Martins has been promoted from President to CEO, according to Josh Robbins of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Vander Weide, Martins and Dan DeVos -- the son of Magic Owner Rich DeVos and “now the team’s new chairman” -- insisted that C Dwight Howard’s impending free agency after the '11-12 season “had nothing to do with Vander Weide stepping down.” Martins said, “This is something that Bob has started talking to me about over a year ago and something he’s probably talked to the family about longer than a year ago. And we’ve been preparing for this time for a year.” Vander Weide, a member the NBA’s labor-relations and planning committees, said that he “was waiting for the league’s labor dispute to be resolved before he made his intentions public.” Dan DeVos will serve as the DeVos family's “primary conduit with front-office officials on team matters.” Vander Weide started his career with the Magic in ’92. He emphasized that “family considerations aren’t the reason he’ll move into more of an advisory role with the Magic” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 12/7). Vander Weide held a press conference this morning to formally announce the move, and he said, “I agreed with the family back in 1991 to do this for three years and I stuck for an additional 17-and-a-half because basically I fell in love with this organization.” Martins said, “We will not change as an organization from the organization that you’ve known. ... We’re focused on one thing first and foremost and that’s to win a championship" (MAGIC.com, 12/7).

TIMING IS STRANGE: In Orlando, Mike Bianchi asks, “Why retire from a job he was always so passionate about?” Vander Weide “absolutely loved being the Magic's Mark Cuban.” He is “dashing, good-looking, athletic, charismatic and outspoken,” and he had a “dream job that, quite frankly, wasn't overly stressful.” Now the entire future of the franchise “falls upon Martins,” and he will “either be the man who rode in on the white stallion and helped [team GM] Otis Smith keep Dwight in Orlando or he will be the man responsible for rebuilding the franchise after Dwight leaves.” Bianchi: “If you want to put one person in charge of leading the organization through these tumultuous times, Martins is your guy. … He is the rising star in the Magic's executive branch -- smart, smooth and politically savvy” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 12/7).

LATE NIGHT CALL: Vander Weide today confirmed that he called Howard at 1:00am ET recently but firmly denied a report that he “drunk dialed” the All Star. He admitted that he had some glasses of wine, “but I was not drunk.” Vander Weide: “That phone conversation has not changed my relationship with Dwight. We like each other. We even love each other as people” (MAGIC.com, 12/7). Bright House Sports Network's David Baumann reported Howard "thought Vander Weide may have been intoxicated" in the call in which Vander Weide "told Howard how much the Magic wanted to keep him in Orlando." Vander Weide: "I was playing paddle with friends and had a couple of glasses of wine. Maybe Dwight thought it was inappropriate to talk business after a couple of glasses of wine. ... Maybe I should have waited until the morning" (CFNEWS13.com, 12/6). SportsNet N.Y.'s Chris Carlin said, "I think everyone out there understands what I am saying when I say nothing good happens with alcohol and a telephone at 1:00am” (“Loud Mouths,” SportsNet N.Y., 12/6).
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