Late yesterday ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that Shaquille O’Neal may meet with the Orlando Magic as early as next week to discuss their GM job. From there Broussard goes on to explain how Howard has been a confidante for Howard and how he and Orlando president Alex Martins have a solid relationship. All in an effort to persuade to pay attention to something that has a minute chance of happening.
And what happens less than 24 hours later? Broussard’s colleague at ESPN Marc Stein reports that there is a minute chance that Shaquille O’Neal will become the Orlando Magic’s next GM.
But you already knew that.
The Magic aren’t talking publicly about their GM or coach search and refused comment Wednesday night when asked specifically to respond to my ESPN The Magazine colleague Chris Broussard’s report on “NBA Countdown” that Shaq and Orlando officials could meet as soon as next week to discuss the opening.
But here’s my best read on the subject with the help of a few observers plugged into the league’s front-office grapevine: Shaq has been lobbying behind the scenes to be considered for the position, and the Magic — in spite of the nastiest of divorces with O’Neal in the summer of 1996 — are willing to at least sit down with the 40-year-old and give him the courtesy of hearing what he has to say.
That’s a long way from actually hiring Shaq. A L-O-N-G way, to borrow from Larry Bird’s spelling technique, from letting Shaq come back to a franchise he leveled as a free agent to be the guy who either convinces Dwight Howard to finally commit to the Magic long-term (after feuding with Dwight for years) or immediately takes on the monster responsibility of trying to find a sensible trade for Howard before next season (as rookie GM).
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on with our day.