Vander Weide Speaks out
In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Bob Vander Weide speaks out on a whole host of issues. Following are some highlights:
- On Steve Francis’s suspension he said: “We wanted Stevie here when we made the trade. We still want Stevie. It was one incident. It had to do with rules on the court and how we apply those to everyone on the team. It's behind us. We've dealt with it appropriately. Stevie will be fine.” As for Francis’s trade possibilities he said: “If you're asking whether GMs are talking, well, that stuff happens. We traded to get Stevie here. Obviously, some of the other pieces haven't come together like we've wanted, but I think Stevie will be with us for a good, long time.” It is interesting that he addressed Francis in an intimate way by calling him “Stevie”. Let’s see how sincere he is when a good trade possibility presents itself.
- On the issue of Tracy McGrady’s trade, he said: “Once he told us he wanted to move on, we already had the experience of having another superstar going to another place and getting no value back. We weren't going to do that again. So we sold him as well as we could." That is open to speculation. I am sure T-Mac has something to say about it.
- He said all the right things about not blaming Grant Hill for the predicament that the team is in. Obviously he has a very high praise for Grant.
- In answering the question on whether or not the organization has gone cheap on some of the recent in-house hiring, he was evasive and not convincing, at least not in my opinion.
- On the fiasco of drafting Fran Vasquez, his answer shows the path that the organization has taken, and is still on. In my view, it is wiser to disown it and move on, but he didn’t.
- In answering to the question on whether or not Brian Hill is the right fit, he said: “Absolutely, with no hesitation. Brian Hill is doing a remarkable job. Just look at the script. Dooling is hurt. Grant is hurt. We've got a young roster. Brian is doing everything he can to move this team forward. We back him 100 percent. He is the right guy for a lot of years here.” Back to “Brian Hill is our coach” policy. That puts the sincerity of his comments on “Stevie” in serious doubt.
- On the issue of the team staying in town, he said: “In my heart and focus, we'll be in Orlando for the next 30 years. We're working with the mayors on a better Orlando. We're working on projects to enhance the community. We're not leading the charge, but we're supporting the process. I don't want to be anywhere else. My family doesn't want to be anywhere else. It got a little tough for four or five years. We want to bring championships to Orlando. I believe that every day I wake up. We are a very capable ownership team. We've never been cheap. We don't have a timeline established on the arena issue.” As hard as he tried, in my view, nothing came from the heart. He called the Orlando Magic a “product” which exactly explains the manner by which they have treated the franchise.
- When interviewer asked him a direct question: “Right now, if you don't get a new arena, are you leaving?” he answered: “No. It's a process. We may need to take three or four cracks at it, but we're working with the community to see what's best for Orlando.” I believe the question and the answer were set up all by design. I would never believe for a second that they will do what is best for Orlando, if that happens to be in contrast to their own interests.