SBD/May 24, 2012/Franchises

Magic Reportedly Consider Talking To Shaquille O'Neal About Vacant GM Position

Sources said O'Neal has a good relationship with Howard, despite public bickering
The Magic may meet next week with TNT analyst and former NBAer Shaquille O’Neal “to talk about possibly being the general manager,” according to sources cited by ESPN's Chris Broussard. The Magic on Monday parted ways with GM Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy, and "despite the public bickering" between O'Neal and Magic C Dwight Howard "about Superman and all that, Dwight and Shaq actually have a good relationship." In some ways, they "bonded over their dislike for Stan Van Gundy." Broussard: "The Magic feel like, ‘Look, if we can bring Shaq in, he’s been everywhere Dwight wants to go.’ He can help Dwight mature and maybe again, help keep him in Orlando" ("NBA Countdown," ESPN, 5/23). In Orlando, Josh Robbins writes the “notion of O'Neal as the Magic's general manager seems absurd at first blush, second blush and third blush.” Magic CEO Alex Martins said that the ideal GM hire "will have extensive experience, a strong background in managing player personnel, a history of successful long-term planning and the ability to set a culture for the basketball operations department.” Martins added NBA championship experience would be a "plus." Robbins notes O'Neal “has the championship experience” as a player, but he “has never worked in a basketball operations department” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/24). ESPN.com’s Marc Stein noted O’Neal has been “lobbying behind the scenes to be considered for the position, and the Magic -- in spite of the nastiest of divorces with O'Neal in the summer of 1996 -- are willing to at least sit down ... and give him the courtesy of hearing what he has to say.” However, that is a “long way from actually hiring” him (ESPN.com, 5/23).

CAN YOU HANDLE IT? When asked if Howard will select the team's next GM, Magic Senior VP Pat Williams said, "No. Alex has made that abundantly clear. Listen, we want Dwight Howard in a Magic jersey for life, there's no doubt about that. But, he needs to decide what he wants." Williams said of potential candidates for the team’s GM opening, "Alex has said his phone has been ringing off the hook. There will be no shortage of candidates" (BAYNEWS9.com, 5/23). ESPN’s Magic Johnson said O’Neal would “be great” for the Magic because Howard “needs somebody to really talk to, that can mentor him, not just on the basketball court but off the court as well.” Johnson said, “Dwight Howard: Make a decision ... quick this summer. Either you want to stay or you want to leave. He has to make a decision because now whoever’s running the organization they can move on or they know they got him and build around him” (“NBA Countdown,” ESPN, 5/23).

A FULL-TIME JOB: ESPN’s Tim Legler said O'Neal "probably thinks just because he thinks this guy is pretty good, this guy can't play, he can be a GM." Legler: "There's a lot more to it than that. It's so time-consuming. If you want to do it right, you've got to be there all the time, and I think that's been one of the problems that Michael Jordan has had" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 5/24). 

NOT A GOOD WEEK: In Orlando, George Diaz asks, “Which stock took a greater hit this week -- Facebook or the Orlando Magic brand?” The Magic “have supplanted the Los Angeles Clippers as the NBA's most screwy franchise.” The team “couldn't even fire their coach properly,” as Van Gundy was “at the Magic offices earlier on Monday, only to get a call several hours later from Martins telling him he had been fired.” Diaz: “That's an unprofessional cheap shot, and Van Gundy deserved better than that” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/24).
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