Magic dumpster fire continues to burn despite fans’ frustrations
By GEORGE DIAZ | Orlando Sentinel | Published: April 16, 2018
ORLANDO, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — The Orlando Magic stink and it’s a disaster and Alex Martins should be fired and the Devos family needs to sell the team to Shaq and leave town immediately along with Bismack Biyombo!
My apologies for screaming, but I am only a vessel, conveying the frustration in cyberspace and the cheap seats over the state of affairs regarding a team that once proudly held onto the mantra “Blue And White Ignite!”
That was during the glory years of splendid teams and playoffs. Now the only thing combustible about the Magic is the crossfire in cyberspace.
Many fans are fed up, and understandably so. They haven’t made the playoffs since the 2011-12 season. They have won no more than 35 games and lost as many as 62 in six subsequent seasons.
Everybody grab your pitchforks, please.
“#FireAlexMartins, he is the problem!” prominent local attorney John Morgan tweeted out to his 60,000-plus followers when coach Frank Vogel was fired Thursday morning.
“Ask Vogel. Ask Skiles. Ask Van Gundy. Ask anyone. How many years is enough? I haven’t been to an [at]OrlandoMagic game in so many years. Disgraceful. #TheBuckStopsHere.”
And as the piece de resistance, Morgan included a GIF of a dumpster fire.
“The firing of Vogel is a smokescreen for what is happening,” Morgan said Sunday. “You can’t win with that crap.”
Alrighty then. Where do we go from here?
Very likely Morgan and his frustrated followers will continue screaming at the dumpster fire to no avail.
The DeVos family isn’t selling the team. And chief executive officer Martins isn’t going anywhere.
Rich DeVos bought the team at the going rate of $85 million in 1991. In 2018, the franchise had an estimated value of $920 million, according to Forbes and other sources.
Do the math, kiddos. The franchise is a gold mine, despite the depressing circumstances on the court. Would you sell high knowing that you would continue to make money?
As for Martins, he is a keeper whether you like him or not. Martins is a Magic lifer who began his career as the team’s public-relations director in 1989. He left the Magic in 1998, and returned in 2005, rising up the ranks to be continually ranked as one of the most influential business leaders in Central Florida.
Getting the deal approved for Amway Center as part of the venues package in 2007 was largely because of Martins’ heavy lifting. The DeVos family is indebted to him.
The Magic’s problem isn’t that they’ve been cheap trying to upgrade the team. It’s just that they’ve made a number of decisions that have backfired stupendously.
They hired Hockey Guy John Weisbrod in 2004.
They did little to address a toxic relationship between Hockey Guy and Tracy McGrady, who was eventually traded for Steve Francis that same year.
They hired NBA newbie Jacque Vaughn as coach/baby-sitter after the Stan Van Gundy/Dwight Howard implosion in 2012.
They hired NBA newbie Rob Hennigan as general manager in 2012 when he was only 30 years old.
They didn’t listen to Scott Skiles when he suggested revamping the roster to get rid of guard Elfrid Payton. Martins sided with Hennigan in the personnel rift. Skiles quit in a huff in 2016 and was eventually proven right when the Magic dumped Payton this season.
They made big bold moves in acquiring and Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo in 2016. Both were botched calls. They also lost Victor Oladipo in the process.
Whether you want to blame DeVos, Martins, Hennigan, the Fat Guy or Stuff for what transpired, the fact remains that all of these series of bad business decisions gets us to where we are today.
“At the end of the day you are hiring hockey people,” Morgan said. “That right there disqualifies you.”
The dynamics could possibly change if DeVos, who at 92 has some understandable health issues, decides he wants out. But that is likely to be a family decision and not his call alone.
DeVos built the team with the concept of family, back in the day regularly having players over to his home for chit-chats during the season.
All that has changed, of course, with DeVos becoming less and less of a presence in Orlando.
The family is now officially dysfunctional, and there’s no quick fix.
Internet ranting may provide a means to relieve frustration but will offer no cure.
Hope has left the building, along with Shaq, Mr. Howard and the last vestiges of a competitive franchise.
©2018 Orlando Sentinel
Visit Orlando Sentinel at www.orlandosentinel.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.