General Manager Tracy McGrady?

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

Tracy McGrady thinks the Magic will be contenders if they can pick up some veterans this offseason. Is he willing to bet his career as a player on his advice as a GM?

T-Mac wants to be on a winning team -- who doesn't? -- but his advice to the Magic about how to go about that may be flawed. He has mentioned a desire for veteran players but that's just his current best guess for what the Magic need to become contenders. Suppose he's wrong. Suppose that just as it took him a few years to blossom into one of the league's best players, it will take him a few years to blossom into a wise consultant to the general manager. Is he willing to live with the consequences of his mistakes?

He wants veterans. Well, Cleveland got some veterans from Boston this season, and though they played a little better at first, they didn't make the playoffs, but the Celtics did. The Magic also got a veteran last season: remember Juwan Howard? Veterans are not the answer. They sound like the simple answer -- let's just get a couple great players -- but it makes no sense. The veterans that are available are either overpriced or underqualified. Shaq is just not coming back to Orlando this season.

One of the best ways to grow a team is through the draft. Either Dwight Howard or Emeka Okafor would be excellent additions to the Magic for the long run, and if Emeka is healthy, he would be the ultimate fit, being a defensive stopper in the paint and a great pick-setter in the front court. Besides, Okafor is only three years younger than McGrady.

And anyway, what is the idea of getting veterans? Even if you accomplish the impossible and get somebody good, you are creating a team that competes only for a few years at best. Veterans retire. Veterans get injured. Veterans is what you add to a team that is on the verge of a championship, not at the beginning.

The Magic don't need more veterans. They need more young talent so they can build a championship contender for a string of five to seven years.

If McGrady doesn't understand that, is he willing to live by his decision? If the Magic do get a bunch of veterans, and McGrady even signs off on every trade, and yet the Magic continue to flounder, will he re-sign with them anyway?

Not likely.

So why should anyone listen to his advice anyway?

The Magic should do what's best for the franchise for the next ten years, not for the next ten months.

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Brian Schmitz ofThe Orlando Sentinel writes: Emeka Okafor was sitting at one end of the hotel ballroom, and, fittingly, Dwight Howard was at the other, some 50 feet away. It was the closest the projected top NBA draft prospects have been -- and apparently -- will get, much to the Orlando Magic's chagrin.Okafor and Howard arrived Friday after the conclusion of the Chicago predraft camp for physicals and a media session, but they have yet to speak to one another. "I don't think he wants to talk to me," laughed Howard. 

Brian Schmitz ofThe Orlando Sentinel writes: Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos will say hello to what could be the future of his basketball franchise next Friday in Orlando. And sadly, he also could be saying goodbye to part of its past.DeVos will come to Orlando to determine where the Magic stand with Tracy McGrady, the frustrated superstar who has threatened to leave. DeVos also will meet potential draft picks Emeka Okafor and Dwight Howard, one of whom could be critical to the floundering club's rebuilding plans should T-Mac decide to exit. It might all add up to a telling day for the Magic.

Mike Bianchi ofThe Orlando Sentinel writes: Rich DeVos and Bob Vander Weide have invited Tracy McGrady to a meeting. Poor guy.Is there anything worse than the dreaded meeting with two guys who sell Amway? How much you want to bet that T-Mac walks out of the room with a soap kit and a promise that some day he'll be a diamond distributor?

Bill Cole ofThe Winston-Salem Journal writes: Livingston has been evaluated by at least 11 NBA teams. The Charlotte Bobcats, the Atlanta Hawks and the Phoenix Suns have asked him for second workouts. The Orlando Magic might seek a second workout with him.