The Orlando Magic announced Friday that they decided not to renew the contract of television color analyst Matt Guokas, who had held that position since 2004. David Baumann followed up with Guokas over the holiday weekend, and Guokas said "the org. has decided to go in another direction," suggesting it was the team, and not Guokas himself, who decided to end the professional relationship between the two parties. Reaction to the move, from the comments section of this website to the front page of Yahoo!'s NBA blog and at points in between, has been overwhelmingly negative.
It's fair, albeit not entirely productive, to wonder why Orlando chose to part ways with one of the league's most respected broadcasters. The Magic have yet to name Guokas' replacement, but there are at least three obvious in-house candidates.
Adubato has served as the color analyst on Magic radio broadcasts since the 2005/06 season. The New Jersey native coached the Magic for the final 33 games of the 1996/97 season after Orlando fired Brian Hill, finishing with a 21-12 record. He also coached the WNBA's New York Liberty for five-plus seasons and the Washington Mystics for two-plus seasons.
Adubato filled in for Guokas on television on a few occasions in the 2012/13 season, with mixed results. Hang Time Blog, an official blog on the NBA's website, chronicled one of Adubato's questionable calls in its Air Check feature in March.
Turner's been connected to the Magic since the franchise's inception in 1989; he played under Guokas in the Magic's inaugural season and for six seasons after that.
Turner served as a Magic radio color analyst for 10 seasons before leaving the team to coach Lake Highland Prep's boys basketball team. He resigned in March after eight seasons, but at least he went out on top, winning the Class 4A state championship.
Battie, 37, joined the Magic's broadcast crew in 2012/13 as an occasional studio analyst, working alongside host Paul Kennedy. During his playing days, the former Orlando big man took a four-day class at Syracuse's well-respected Newhouse School of Public Communications in order to prepare for a career in the industry.
"I think you can help people understand the game, especially if you have played the game for years and can articulate and get across to fans," Battie said in a 2009 interview. "A lot of them know the game, but a lot of them don’t, and you can draw them in and spark an interest."
Orlando could, naturally, look outside the organization for Guokas' replacement, and it's entirely possible that none of the men I mentioned above will come away with the job.
My question to you is simple: whom should Orlando hire as its new television color analyst? You can vote for the trio of candidates I mentioned, or for none of the above, in this post.
A more broad question, one that a poll can't adequately survey, is what you want out of a color analyst. Which qualities do you value most highly?