Disenchantment is a byproduct of being a fan of any team that is going through a tough period of time. We all knew what Dwight Howard’s departure was going to mean for this organization. The Orlando Magic are stuck being awful for at least this season and next, but are not mired in bad contracts past that point. The rebuild is in effect and thus far, first-year GM Rob Hennigan has stuck with the plan.
The Angry Fan. We’ve all heard from them. Neigh-saying poured from their red faces first when the Magic re-signed Jameer Nelson for three years at about $25 mil. Sweet Jesus, Magic fans lost their minds around the internet. How do you pay a guy that has steadily declined, plays no defense, and has never proven to be a great distributor that kind of money over three years? Well, where else was that money going to go? The FA class this summer and next summer is relatively weak. Plus, you don’t go out splurging on big name talent early in a rebuild. The whole point is to un-tether yourself. However, the Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Bobcats are prime examples of how dangerous that approach can be. Without true veteran leadership, young teams generally prove to be unfocused. Having a player like Jameer around just long enough to help instill a sense of direction and purpose into the young squad is important, especially considering the money he was paid would not have served any purposes better than that through the next two seasons.
The most recent uprising from Team Soggybottom occurred after the J.J. Redick trade. First, the rumors circling were of trades that could have net the Magic players like Iman Shumpert, while others were focused around first round picks. None of these rumors were ever substantiated, so when the trade actually occurred it looked ridiculous next to the other “possibilities”. First, let’s be real: J.J. really needed to be traded. He was an expiring asset and was going to leave for nothing. For anyone saying that we should have re-signed him this summer, I disagree wholeheartedly. J.J.’s agent is already floating $10million and at least 4 years for his contract, which would have been a deterrent when the 2015 Free Agency mega-class rolled around. The trade that occurred was less than I had hoped, but I imagine it was probably the best available trade for dumping a little salary and getting young players in return. Just because Tobias Harris hasn’t done much in his two seasons, don’t be fooled. There was a lot of buzz from NBA scouts that Harris had the potential to be a really solid young player this year. After a slow start for the first few weeks of the season, he has been buried deep in the Bucks rotation. He may blossom into something, as could Doron Lamb, or maybe they won’t. Either way, it is a move that has no downside, and has some potential. The Magic are even worse this year, because of the move. Is that really an issue? We’re already arguably the worst team in the league and J.J. wasn’t saving us from that reality.
To the Angry Fan I say this: Chill. Current management isn’t responsible for the Dwight Howard debacle. The current management is out their with their push brooms cleaning up the shit storm that Otis Smith and Dwight Howard left behind. Their decisions have been in tandem with their rebuilding philosophy. We have businessmen running the team now, instead of an ex-player who understood personnel, but not cents and dollars.