In the aftermath of our admirable, but futile effort in the 2012 NBA Playoffs, rumors have just started circulating about possible changes in the Top management of the Orlando Magic, especially for the General Manager position.
A name mentioned is that of our beloved Adonal Foyle. His work with our players these past two years is exemplary; his community efforts, well known. This opens up endless possibilities for his advancement within the Magic organization in the future. We wish him the best.
But right NOW, the Orlando Magic need a proven, experienced GM to get us out of this mess; not ANOTHER Most Popular Player/Executive available.
I've been saying this in a half-joking manner, but today, I'm going to stress this point again, if you'll bear with me a bit: The Magic need to look closely at the WAY the Oakland Raiders organization went about rebuilding after the death of their owner and only GM, Al Davis, AND after another dismal season filled with heartache and disappointment.
After the season ended, the New Owner, Mark Davis sought out the advice of a trio of onetime NFL executives and coaches with undeniable Raiders' ties. They all pointed to ONE man; Reggie McKenzie, a seasoned man with a LONG tenure as the Green Bay Director of Football Operations.
Two things stood out about him: One, a long, steady resume full of solid, even great moves resulting in the Packers being a perennial contender, winning two Super Bowls during his reign, and two, a demonstrated ability to handle tight, even negative financial situations responsibly, while still keeping the Organization moving forward.
Now, the results of many of the moves McKenzie has made are less-than spectacular, given the dire fiscal reality at Oakland, and many have yet to be proven, but they have been viewed as SOLID, methodical, some even brilliant. Even the most abject Raider-hater will admit that Reggie McKenzie has turned the whole Raider culture around, from the bottom up; modernizing and improving the Team, while bringing it under cap.
Back to our Team, the Magic. How do we turn this experience to OUR advantage? The key is to QUIETLY look for advice from retired executives from some of the Top NBA organizations on the Western Conference; people with ties to the Orlando Magic. They in turn, should point towards individuals that basically meet three criteria
1. A well-respected executive within a solid NBA organization, with broad experience with the Draft and player personnel, as well as a proven track record recognizing talent and acquiring it.
2. A demonstrated ability to handle Team budgets and cap space with aplomb and fiscal responsibility, but who will not shy away from making bold moves when the situation demands it.
3. An individual who has enjoyed a long tenure at his present position and would be attracted by an upward mobility offer… one with a challenging, yet attainable goal, fully backed by the Team’s Owner and Top Brass.
Of course, it would help if the Team in question has recently won the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy, so as to ease his release. Such was the case with McKenzie and the Green Bay Packers.
I am aware of the uncertainties ahead. There are also many differences between the NFL experience and the Orlando Magic in the NBA, one being the fact that the Magic Organization is a much younger entity than the Oakland Raiders in the NFL. Our list of “Friends” is shorter… with less influence. But there are ways…
These are but a few ideas that might help… or not. Mine is a somewhat biased view, as I have been a member of the Raider Nation since 1972. On the other hand, I just joined the Orlando Magic as a fan in 2006. There is a lot to learn...
I have witnessed a great organization grow and decline through four decades, then start anew, with even greater enthusiasm and drive. We really want that FOURTH NFL Championship…
In Orlando, our drive starts with nabbing our New General Manager of the Future.
If Oakland, with all their problems, can pull together towards that goal; we, in the City Beautiful can make an even greater effort towards OUR FIRST Championship!