I just want to say upfront that the best run franchises in the league such as the Spurs and Thunder control their own destiny and don't rely on outside influences to help build their teams. Good teams are not short sighted. They have a vision and a plan to execute that vision. The Magic unfortunately have not shown the characteristics of a well run team. I will hopefully address these issues and how the magic can make corrections.
What is the vision of this magic team?
Lets talk about the identity for the product on the court. The 4-1 scheme has been in my opinion a success. With a rare talent such as Dwight I feel like the 4-1 offensive scheme maximizes Dwight's influence on the court offensively. However, the Lewis for Arenas trade actually went against the 4-1 scheme. Why not see if Turk and Lewis can replicate the chemistry that had in 09? The arenas trade would be there, NO ONE else would have traded for him. Not only that you can evaluate Arenas with more games underneath his belt to see if there was any signs of recovery with his bum knee. All this to say that for Dwight to stay, Richardson needs to shoot to his career #'s , have Bass get back into his jump shooting groove, and Arenas needs to show signs of explosiveness that made him a special player. The last of these being the least likely. So the verdict is to keep the 4-1 offensive scheme.
So the problem is the front office. Otis Smith seems to have no real long term plan to build a young championship core around Dwight Howard. If you are trying to win now then why not keep hedo AND trade for vince? ultimately, this lead to the magic trading away gortat and MP, two of the magics best defensive players and our 2012 #1 draft pick.
okay this would be the lineup for the magic, nelson, carter, turk, lewis, and howard with MP, Gortat, JJ, and bass coming off the bench. we would still be in the same salary cap situation except with alot of assets and depth. if this didn't work out then you would have carter's expiring, gortat, a #1 pick, and bass/anderson to trade for another piece.
If otis thought turk was too old and the plan was to blow up the finals team the best option would be to develop lee as our starting shooting guard and bass as a mid range stretch 4. Nothing having anderson would suck but the lineup would be young and in my opinion promising with nelson, lee, mp, lewis, and dwight. bass, JJ , gortat on the bench.
Yes, i'm living in hypothetical world here. the point is i don't think Otis really had a consistent plan. they hedged and now the team is stuck in the middle, not going to win now and with no flexiblity to do anythign about, and no realistic future aspirations.
The solution is to hire Kevin Pritchard and go into full rebuilding mode. He has a strong track record of having good drafts and identifying young talent. He is ideal because whether Dwight is staying or not the team needs to rebuild with young talent. Trade pieces such as bass, jj, anderson, and nelson if necessary.
I don't know if dwight told the FO that they need to win now to keep him, if he did then the FO shouldve told him the best thing is to take a few steps back so that they can make the leap forward. Maybe the pressure came from above, Mr Devos is old and he might be itching to win a title ASAP. Maybe the pressure was from the city officials that wants a title in the brand new building they built for political reasons. But i don't think any of these circumstances are any different around the league. We had no vision and no plan, now we are nowhere.