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Orlando admits what became obvious: It’s about the draft

Aug 13, 2012, 1:41 PM EDT

Rob Hennigan AP

There are a lot of ways to question the ultimate decision that Orlando made in trading Dwight Howard.

That has to start with, why didn’t you just do this at the trade deadline? I know you wanted to keep your superstar but everyone could see where this was headed, you needed to get out quick (think Utah Jazz). Then we can ask why the Houston deal wasn’t better (saved more money and had unrestricted picks)? Or the Brooklyn deal? (Although to me any rebuilding deal that includes Brook Lopez is to be avoided.) Getting Andrew Bynum might have been better than anyone you will draft with the picks they got.

But through it all one thing became clear — the plan was to rebuild via the draft. Oklahoma City assistant GM Rob Hennigan was brought in to rebuild via that model. (We can discuss if that model is something they can really replicate another day.)

Magic CEO Alex Martins confirmed the plan to the Orlando Sentinel but said free agency is not out of the question (via SLAM).

“We’re not turning our back on free agency,” Martins said. “We’re just putting the emphasis on our draft that we feel should be the case.”

It is not going to be easy for the Magic to replicate the success that the Thunder or Spurs had with this draft plan, it takes a lot of luck (like Kevin Durant falling to you at the No. 2 pick or having a down year the one year Tim Duncan comes up in the draft). It takes great scouting — everyone thought Russell Westbrook was a reach at No. 4 and there were questions about James Harden.

But Magic fans, give it a chance. It’s the road you are committed to now. Spending a max deal on someone like Josh Smith next summer is the road back to mediocrity. Don’t go for a quick fix, get the right players. It’s not going to be a fun couple of years, but it is the path you are committed to.

  1. franchiseplaya - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    too bad orlando couldn’t also have found a way to unload turkoglu in the deal.

    • lorddarkhelmet - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:48 PM

      they may still be able to “unload” him, his contract isn’t all that bad anymore

  2. istillbelieveinblue - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    The Pacers have done a pretty good job building through the draft. They certainly aren’t on par with San Antonio or OKC, but they committed to building through the draft over the last 5 years, and they have built a real solid team. The only true impact free agent I can remember them signing was David West, and they got him below market value because he was coming off a knee injury.

  3. baron30 - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    If anyone is built to help this team crawl back its Andrew Nicholson (1st rd pick). He just spend four years single-handedly dragging St. Bona back from the college basketball abyss.

    • eaglessuperfan - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:17 PM

      Andrew Nicholson is the one example that these guys should take as some hope for the future. He looked like a man among boys in the summer league games. He was totally dominant. If they are able to draft a couple players that have his kind of upside who knows what they may be able to do.

  4. ezwriter69 - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Taking multiple mid to low first round picks, which they will certainly be, is most definitely no the answer. Name me a single successful team in this league that was built on mid to low first rounders. Come up with any? Thought so.
    Total fiasco for Orlando, in the end no better than when they let Shaq go for nothing, at least they saved money then.

    • lorddarkhelmet - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

      I sort of agree. On the other hand their own picks are obviously going to be quite high and the extra picks, if nothing else, can help them move even higher in the draft if needed. Picks and cap space are the new expiring contract.

    • unxpexted1 - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      right now Houston is that team, that is consistenlty been picking between 10-20, and could be a possible playoff contender this year. they had 3 draft picks in the mid first round that may all have an immediate impact, couple that with some free agent signings and they have a chance to make some 8th seed noise. Not saying thats how you build a championship team but you can be relevant again.

    • istillbelieveinblue - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:04 AM

      Indiana. Most of the contributing players on last years team were mid-first rounders.

      Danny Granger was 17th in 2005, Roy Hibbert was 17th in 2008. Tyler Hansbrough was 13th in 2009. Paul George was 10th in 2010. They traded the 15th pick in the 2011 draft for George Hill. All five of those guys played significant minutes in the playoffs this past season, and 4 of them started.

  5. lastdukestreetking - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Turkoglu ony has the upcoming season as a fully guaranteed contract. In effect, the Magic (or someone else) can buy him put for about $6M next summer.

  6. magicbucs - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    The magic have built 2 solid eras as a franchise with below avg management. With hennigans experience with scouting and drafting it shouldn’t be very long before the magic are back.

    Really think about it… Only what 6/7 different teams have won a title since 1998. Only 3 teams have won more reg season and playoff games than the magic the last 5 seasons ; LA, Boston and Spurs. No ring but we’ve been better than ALL THE OTHER 26 TEAMS. So now give us 2-3 seasons to rebuild and we’ll be talking good things about the magic again.

  7. freemantowilliams - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    I don’t mind waiting for greatness. Shabazz Muhammad & Jabari Parker sound pretty good to me.

  8. shzastl - Aug 13, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    There is something wrong with a system that gives Orlando an incentive to give away a superstar for nothing – – make the worst deal so the team will be worse and more likely to get a top pick.

  9. hokiegajanisgod - Aug 13, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    That trade was a joke, plain and simple. If I were a Magic fan I would be mortified; their team received nothing, NOTHING, of value in return for one of the few young superstars in the league.

    Magic will be looking into the lottery abyss for at least a half decade or more.

    And look out Orlando, your owner is old and Seattle is going to be hungry for a team in a few years…

  10. shockexchange - Aug 14, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Orlando’s GM won’t keep his job much longer.

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