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What to make of the Orlando Magic’s Whiteboardgate

How could this happen?

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Just when it seemed like the painfully underwhelming 2017 NBA season was going to uneventfully come to completion for the Orlando Magic, the organization was able to accomplish what can only be described as inconceivable at this point. The Magic organization somehow found a way to again puzzle, confuse, and honestly amuse the rest of the NBA universe. No mas, enough already.

In case you hadn’t heard, the Orlando Magic signed Patricio Garino and Marcus Georges-Hunt to contracts on Monday for the remainder of the season. Garino, an Argentinian who has spent his 2016-17 season in the D-League playing for the Austin Spurs, played for the Magic this past summer on their White team.

That’s not the controversy. “Whiteboardgate” arose innocently via Twitter from someone close to Garino who posted a picture of the swingman signing what looked to be a contract. Unfortunately, in the background of the photo, a whiteboard with some very interesting names of players around the NBA was clearly visible (credit: UPROXX).

Here’s the picture that was tweeted out:

Here’s a closer look at the whiteboard in the background:

In all fairness, we have absolutely no idea the context of what’s going on in the background of this photo. We don’t know who wrote it, when the list was compiled, if it was just a brainstorming activity, or anything like that. But it’s newsworthy nonetheless. Here are some of my thoughts on the topic:

Saric (for AG?)

There’s really nowhere else for this conversation to begin; it has to be here. “Saric (for AG?),” are you kidding me!

As our own Will Ogburn noted on Twitter, this is an “L” for the organization, no doubt about it. Alex Martins has been criticized for years because of the role he plays within the organization without a solid basketball background. But the one thing Martins knows, and knows well, is Public Relations. He’s got to know, this is just bad “PR” any way you look at it.

How will the organization spin this? By paying Aaron Gordon (and extensively), perhaps as early as this October (an early-extension agreement), would be my guess. I’m sure all will be forgotten if the Magic choose to sign Gordon to his second professional contract, but until then, what kind of effect(if any) will this have on the young forward?

Again, this all could be getting interpreted well out of context, we have no idea who compiled this list. But the Magic had Saric, they literally drafted Saric. Dario Saric was traded on draft night in 2014 to the Sixers, and it’s at least slightly puzzling as to why his name would now appear on this board as a trade target for someone (Gordon) who is viewed by many as a foundational piece within the organization (not to mention someone who was selected fourth in that same draft).

What in “hybrid” fascination?

Without knowing the whole story behind the legitimacy of this board, it’s at least apparent that the organization is targeting players that play multiple positions. Well that’s certainly not something new for this current regime. Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless, Ersan Ilyasova, Aaron Gordon; it’s safe to say that Rob Hennigan has made a habit of drafting and acquiring combo-forwards.

Players on this list such as Juan Hernangomez, Marcus Morris, Wilson Chandler, Danillo Gallinari, Stanley Johnson, Thaddeus Young, James Johnson, Michael Beasley, and Lance Thomas (to name just a few) all seem to fit the 3/4 hybrid description to a fault. Aaron Gordon, who has finally found a role on the team as the starting power forward, would seem to already fit the “hybrid” forward description one would think.

If anything, acquiring a power forward who could stretch the floor and provide more offensive balance to the position (and preferably some size) would seem to be the bigger need. Who knows? Floor spacing fours are listed on the board with names such as Paul Millsap, Patrick Patterson, Kelly Olynyk, and Mike Muscala being mentioned.

Baby comeback

Magic fans have suffered through some difficult times during the Rob Hennigan era. Hennigan, who seemed to hit the ground running in Orlando when he shipped away Dwight Howard, has led Orlando down quite a bumpy road in the last year and a half. The Harkless trade, the Harris trade, the Oladipo trade, failing to re-sign O’Quinn or Dedmon; the list goes on and one. Some of those wounds are still open for me.

So when I saw this whiteboard, and more specifically, when I saw former Magic players such as Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless, Ersan Ilyasova, and Serge Ibaka listed - I lost it. Is this not the definition of insanity? Someone in the organization is even suggesting that the Magic give up assets or cap space to trade for or sign a player the team just got rid of? What are we doing?

Speaking of former Magic players (or soon to be former Magic players), I especially got a kick out of the “J. Green (X)” notation on the board.

How? Why?

My dad asked me, “was this photo intentionally leaked”? When I explained to my wife what happened, she asked the same thing.

No? I don’t know?

I don’t really know how to answer that. I don’t see any kind of advantage in leaking information like this out to the public. If anything, this is just a visual that will live on forever exemplifying the ineptitude and embarrassment that has been the Orlando Magic for more than a half decade. Luol Deng? Chandler Parsons? Really? This could actually be the final straw in Rob Hennigan’s tenure in Orlando.

Or maybe not? When it comes to the Orlando Magic, literally nothing surprises me anymore.