First comes the new general manager. Then comes the decision on Dwight Howard.
The first part of that decision could come by the end of the week, reports magicbasketballonline.com.
A source close to the decision making process within the Orlando Magic organization has informed me that the team is close, and likely to name their new General Manager by the end of the week….
More importantly, my source has also said that the new GM will make the decision on Dwight.
Is there really much of a decision there? Either he commits — which by all reports he is not willing to do — or you have to shop him around. Why would you invite the circus of last season back to town?
As for who gets to make that call? A lot of people have been linked to the job. The biggest names are former Knicks GM Donnie Walsh (who the Knicks said could talk to other teams) and current Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak (who may not have been given that right). Also discussed have been former Hornets GM Jeff Bower, former Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard and current Thunder assistant GM Rob Hennigan.
Whoever gets the job, he better like rebuilding projects.
We all had our laugh, time to get serious about the Orlando Magic general manager search.
How about this for a start, from Ken Berger at CBSSports.com — Mitch Kupchak of the Lakers.
So while there have been no public indications that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak will be available or wants to leave Los Angeles, Kupchak is expected to be among the first wave of candidates the Magic pursue, one of the sources said…
The Magic also are interested in speaking with Pacers general manager David Morway and former Hornets GM Jeff Bower, both of whom have interviewed twice for the Trail Blazers’ opening, and former Portland GM and current Pacers executive Kevin Pritchard, sources said. Magic officials believe former Pacers and Knicks president Donnie Walsh would be a good fit, but sources say the team is convinced that if Walsh returns to a front-office job, it will be in Indiana in the likely event team president Larry Bird retires.
I have heard from multiple sources that Kupchak is not happy with the Lakers — working closely with Jim Buss, son of long-time owner Jerry — and is looking to get out.
However, Kupchak said on Wednesday that he has not intention of leaving the Lakers and that working with the Buss family was “the best job,” as reported in the Orange County Register. Kupchak is ever the straight shooter and company man and would never say anything to harm the Buss family or the organization. It’s not his style.
Whether it is Kupchak or someone else, the Magic are clearly looking for a veteran GM to take the helm and set a direction. From there a coach will be hired, but the GM will be first. Which is as it should be.
The last time the New York Knicks were NBA champions, George Steinbrenner had just purchased the Yankees for $10 million, the World Trade Center towers opened in New York and Elvis Presley was doing a live concert from Hawaii. So it’s been a while.
But former GM and now team consultant — meaning they paid him to go away — Donnie Walsh thinks they’re close to another one. He says the core is there.
That is what he told Marc Berman of the New York Post.
“We have a core of players we can build around to build a [championship-contending] team,” Walsh said. “We’re not finished. There’s more pieces. But I think we got some really good players that can lead a team and form a core of that team. What we have are the most important things.”
They have some offensive firepower in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, that is for sure. They have the star power. But do they really have a team that can defend well enough to put them in the title conversation? They need some quality role players for that, but Walsh said he thinks bringing in assistant coach Mike Woodson will help.
“I think Mike will be good for Mike D’Antoni,” Walsh said. “I’ve heard good things about [Woodson] as a coach and guy. It’ll help them. It’s always good to have a guy come in from a different perspective. I know his mentors, Bobby Knight and Larry Brown, and [Woodson] can offer them [defensive] systems that will be good for them. I also think they may have better defensive personnel. Let’s hope so.”
I’m not sure what personnel Walsh is referring to, but it’s not Carmelo.
How the Knicks build around that core, and what they decide to do with Chauncey Billups in the last year of his contract will be fascinating. Especially in the condensed free agency frenzy that will follow the lockout. They do have a core, but the bigger question becomes is there core as good as the one in Miami? Or Chicago?