Want to know the sure-fire way to fail at running a sports organization?
Start taking advice from your players as to who you should acquire.
I don't know who this Otis Smith is. If it's the same guy whose NBA Hoops card I had back in the early 90s, then I have to say, nice knee-pads. But one thing I do know is that he sounds like he's lucky to have a job.
From what I can gather on the Magic, their success has been pretty simple. They got the first pick and drafted Dwight Howard. Then, as teams will do, they began the almighty Pursuit To Surround The Star Player With A Talented Team. They went after Rashard Lewis, which seemed like a steep price to pay, but it worked out. They drafted Jameer Nelson, which was a good choice. They lucked into a resurgent year from Hedo Turkey, and they went to the Finals. That was neat.
Since then, there has been MOUNTAINS of coffee on the floor.
Vince Carter. Gilbert Arenas. Jason Richardson. Quentin Richardson. Just one fail after another, as Dwight's prime wastes away. Hey, you don't have explain this shit to me. We lived through Bowl of Kandi and Anthony Peeler. It's no fun trying to fit pieces together that just don't fit.
But when you start letting the star player have input on personnel moves, you're days are numbered.
You can't win in that situation, Otis. If you do what he wants, sure he might be happy, but that's just going to erode your power. If you say no, you piss him off and then he comes out and demands a trade. By the time you've said "Hey Dwight, what do you think about...", you've lost.
What's the solution? How about DO YOUR JOB.
When someone is the GM of a team, they have the ultimate and final say. They take input from their staff, but it all comes down to them. Who is their "staff"? The people they hire specifically to advise them. Unless I'm mistaken, Dwight's paycheck doesn't contain an "advising" salary. He's really good at basketball. Probably not so much at navigating the salary cap.
But this is the world of a modern-day NBA GM. There are literally 10 of them that are competent. The rest are running around making decisions with absolutely no thought to any sort of organizational plan. Every move occurs in a vacuum. "Hey we got this guy, we should build our team aroun- ARE YOU OFFERING ME CHRIS KAMAN, YES I WILL TAKE HIM." To teams like the Lakers, Heat, Mavs, Knicks, etc, it doesn't matter... because players will fall into their laps. If LA dumps Odom and Pau, they'll just get back Howard. But teams like Milwaukee and Philly.... you have to have a goddamned plan. You have to put pieces in slowly, and develop them into a cohesive team. It's the same with Orlando. Big moves aren't going to fall into your lap. You have to build it one piece at a time.
So, as it starts to erode for the Magic, we learn another great lesson about the NBA. Stars are going to do whatever they want, and the GM position is really just a joke for the majority of the teams in the league. Why even have one if you're just going to ask your star who he would rather play with? "Hey I played with this guy back in B-more, we should sign him even though he doesn't believe in playing defense."
The good thing for Dwight? If he gets traded to the Lakers, he won't have to worry about a GM not taking his advice. He'll just have a constant rotation of superstars stopping over in LA on their way to a gift championship.
Sometimes this league just brings me down.