Magic CEO Alex Martins, in helping dedicate absolutely nothing, decided to announce as much recently. He wasn’t on hand to help announce Orlando’s role in bringing the Olympics to South Florida by 2030, nor celebrate one of the city’s famed 2005-era waterparks and its eventual silver anniversary. He was just chewing the fat with local Orlando Sentinel columnist Brian Schmitz as part of the paper’s ‘Orlando 2030,’ um, celebration?
“I certainly believe by 2030 we will have won at least one championship,” Martins said. “And I say ‘at least.’ I firmly believe we’re going to get there and once you get there, you got the kind of team that hopefully can come back.
“I believe we will have won a championship.”
It’s one thing for a local business owner or civic leader to map out all the fantastic, modern-as-tomorrow additions that will hit the local community between now and the middle of the Kushner/Tosh.0 ticket’s second term in 2030, but for someone who has a solid foot stuck in the sports realm, working in these sorts of predictions leaves you a little prone for the potshots from afar.
(And we are “afar.”)
Especially when your team had made the NBA Finals just twice in a run that dates back to the 1980s. Especially when the crew is currently locked at 10-15 after a three-game losing streak, likely on its way toward a fifth consecutive trip to the Finals. A lottery-heavy run that has only produced Victor Oladipo (since dealt for Serge Ibaka in a contract year), Aaron Gordon (wasting away out of position at small forward), Mario Hezonja (out of the rotation, considered for D-League assignment) and Elfrid Payton (eh).
[Follow Dunks Don’t Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]
The Magic have a top ten payroll, and yet the team is 25th in point differential. It features the second-to-worst offense in the NBA, all while paying eight figures a year to players like Ibaka (in a resurgent year that could end with him joining another team this July for no compensation), Nikola Vucevic (coming off the bench, unhappily, while injured), Bismack Biyombo (a drop in rebounding rate, block rate and uptick in turnovers, also injured in his first year with Orlando), Jeff Green (double “eh”), and swingman Evan Fournier.
The complete and total assessment of the Magic’s problems is probably left for another day, when things either spiral completely out of control, or for when the team (which is playing above its point differential expectations, despite the odd positional decisions) turns the corner.
For now, it is worth pointing out that singling out Martins for his 2030 assessment is probably a little unfair, but the cracks inherent in pointing out a “by 2030, no doubt!”-prediction are well deserved.
Martins has not had the finest tenure as Magic CEO, as he oversaw the failed transition from the Dwight Howard-led squad that made the 2009 NBA Finals, into the Dwight Howard-led squad that failed its fans several times over in the years that followed. By the time general manager Rob Hennigan took over in 2012, the Magic had absolutely no leverage to work with in a Howard trade.
Worse, the team entered a Howard-less rebuilding season in 2012-13 without a lottery pick of its own (Vucevic, acquired in the Dwight deal, came closest), and its first rebuilding season was rewarded with a high pick in one of the worst NBA drafts of all time in 2013.
This tends to send you back a bit, as does the weird commitment to coaches like Scott Skiles despite innumerable warnings that told the Magic that he wasn’t the best fit for the team. Or any squad, really, when the Magic hired him in 2015. The team was put in a massive hole to begin the post-Howard era, but at some points the warming caveats tend to run out.
By 2016, even. Much less 2030.
Martins, however, was admirably game when the local paper asked him to take part in the 2030 discussion. The outsized timeframe wasn’t his problem, and nobody likes a guy that sloughs off fanciful questions.
This still isn’t the most compelling thing to hear, though, when we’re still a few weeks away from 2017.
– – – – – – –