View Full Version : Weisbrod taints reputation, hurts the Magic franchise

06-27-2004, 02:55 PM
This is a point I made a few days ago.

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Nearly a week since the Tracy McGrady-Steve Francis exchange was close enough to a done deal to tell Francis albeit late, for his tastes Orlando Magic general manager John Weisbrod has taken to pretending the trade is just an idea he is mulling around.

You don't often get this much double talk for no extra charge.

But as much as Weisbrod insists this is just one option while chatting on the phone to a player under contract to another team and even repeatedly saying a decision will be made before the draft the rest of the NBA believes agreements were reached.

General managers know deals are not done until the ink dries, so this one is not done.

But this is Weisbrod's introduction to the NBA. His only previous GM experience was in hockey's minor leagues. And while his Harvard MBA and ability to direct a wrist shot to the five hole are impressive, this trade will determine his reputation.

Weisbrod has let this go on for reasons that might become clear this week. Maybe he wanted the draft in which Orlando had the top pick and used it on Dwight Howard to have its own spotlight. He might be trolling for better offers. He probably is trying only to serve his franchise, though he might be, as many have suggested, enjoying holding all the cards.

But many around the league have already said that the first time they deal with Weisbrod, they will watch their backs. Trust but verify. Believe it when you see it.

If the Magic prosper or if Weisbrod pulls off a deal even better than this one, that will be his reputation. But for now, he is the guy who left the Rockets and seven players twisting in the wind.

Many have promised to be wary before they are next.

Word to the wise

When Magic forward Grant Hill spoke on Saturday of the expectation that the Tracy McGrady-Steve Francis trade would go through, he sounded like everyone else. Of course he assumed the deal would happen. Everyone assumes the deal will happen. But Hill usually knows. Magic general manager John Weisbrod is thought to talk frankly with Hill and teammate Pat Garrity. In town to exhibit his art collection at Texas Southern, Hill probably knew of what he was speaking when discussing his expectations. "A little birdie told me it's going to happen," Hill said. "It's going to happen. That's part of the business of professional sports. (McGrady) is going to go on and do well here in Houston with coach (Jeff) Van Gundy and Yao Ming. Hopefully, we're going to go on and do well with the guys we have. Life is about change, and sometimes change is necessary. But sometimes change could be good. For the Rockets and for the Magic, it could be good. "It would have been nice to be able to play at least one season with Tracy. It's not going to happen. That's fine. I look forward to playing with Francis, (Cuttino) Mobley and (Kelvin) Cato." Wooing Wallace

Even Knicks GM Isiah Thomas agrees the Pistons will likely re-sign Rasheed Wallace. But it took Pistons GM and former Thomas teammate Joe Dumars to tell how Thomas agreed.

"So I am walking down the street with my son Jordan, taking him to the NBA Store (on Fifth Avenue)," Dumars said. "There are 8 million people in New York City, and I walk right into Isiah Thomas."

Thomas and Dumars went shopping and began talking about Wallace. The Knicks can offer the mid-level exception, expected to begin at about $5 million. If they so choose, the Pistons can offer Wallace three times that to return to the NBA champions.

"That's Rasheed's call now," Dumars said. "I feel real good about it, and Isiah said the same thing.

"Our situation speaks for itself. I don't have a huge sales pitch. What am I going to say? 'Let me tell you about this city. We're going to win a championship one day. We've got a great crowd. They are going to love you here.' He lived that. He saw it. What else am I going to tell him?"

No can do

Seems a good time to clear up a few things.

While the Rockets are holding a trade exception worth $6.9 million, salary-cap rules do not allow them to combine that money with a player's salary to make a trade work. For some reason, there are those who refuse to believe this. But when making up trades for fun or profit, trust us, it can't be done.

OK. If you won't trust us, trust NBA executive vice president for legal and business affairs Joel Litvin. He and his department must approve all NBA trades that go through.

"You cannot aggregate a trade exception with a player's salary in order to make a trade," Litvin said. The Rockets can use some or all of the exception left over from the Glen Rice deal in a sign-and-trade deal for a free agent, allowing them to significantly outbid teams using only the mid-level exception (assuming the other team cooperates)."

Another update:

The Steve Francis-Tracy McGrady trade can go through this month or after July 13. The Rockets and Magic worked out deals that can be approved while Francis is still a base-year player and next month when he is not. The league moratorium on trades or free-agent signings, this year from July 1-13, would push back any July deal until the 14th.

One more: Francis is a point guard, not a shooting guard.

Just thought we'd throw that one in for old time's sake.

Gossip that the Nets might consider dealing Jason Kidd is not entirely without merit. They need him, but he has $90 million left on his contract and is heading toward major knee surgery. The Nets, like the Pacers, will be active. Kerry Kittles is the primary bait. Portland's Shareef Abdur-Rahim is a target. ... The Nuggets chose Jameer Nelson and quickly shipped him to Orlando to keep a first-round pick from taking up any of the cap space they plan to spend in free agency and to show the Magic how to do a deal quickly. With their own picks and conditional picks from the 76ers, Magic and Clippers, the Nuggets now own six first-rounders over the next three years. Nelson, by the way, was so sure he would not fall to 20 that he refused to work out for the Nuggets. ... The Bobcats offered future No. 1s from Cleveland or Toronto, but not their own, to get Nelson. ...

Celtics GM Danny Ainge is opposed to high school players being in the draft but not opposed to taking them. He selected Al Jefferson this past week after taking Kendrick Perkins last year. Ainge learned from experience as Suns coach.

"We're sitting there," he said, "and I remember our scouting staff from the old school said, 'We're not drafting this kid. Too much French pastry. Too fancy. He's playing against nobody in Philadelphia high school basketball.' And there's two or three of us going, 'What, are you crazy? This kid is great. What he does most college players can't do in a gym by themselves.' "

06-27-2004, 03:14 PM
What the heck is Ainge talking about?

I'd listen to the old-school scouts, Danny. Your own history for scouting talent isn't exactly legendary.

06-27-2004, 10:28 PM
What the heck is Ainge talking about?

I'd listen to the old-school scouts, Danny. Your own history for scouting talent isn't exactly legendary.

I'm guessing he's talking about
Kobe Bryant.

06-27-2004, 10:53 PM
If Okafor blows out his back in his rookie year, we'll all be singing a different tune of that pick. Bad backs last FOREVER, just ask your GM.

06-27-2004, 11:24 PM
If Okafor blows out his back in his rookie year, we'll all be singing a different tune of that pick. Bad backs last FOREVER, just ask your GM.

I have no problem what-so-ever with the Magic's first draft pick