Bob Vander Weide Rumors
Tony Ronzone, the former assistant GM in Detroit and Minnesota, also is a free agent and sources say he’d be amenable to joining a revamped Magic front office with Bower in the lead role. Thus far, Martins has not reached out to any potential candidates as he settles into his new role, but sources believe the direction of the team — and Howard’s fickle approach when it comes to staying or leaving — could prime the pump for sweeping changes.
With the future of the franchise teetering on Howard’s decision, multiple people plugged into league front-office dealings say it’s no sure thing that Smith, the GM, will be the one making the final decision on whether to trade Howard and where. With the resignation of Bob Vander Weide and promotion of Alex Martins to CEO, rival executives believe Martins is the one calling the shots. And among those shots could be adding to the Orlando front office, which is thin by NBA standards behind Smith. The most experienced and capable candidate on the market is former Hornets GM Jeff Bower, who has solid relationships with the Magic front office staff. Bower also worked with Martins in New Orleans.
Howard was asked about the infamous phone call he received from former Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide. Vander Weide conceded he might have had a few too many drinks when he dialed up Dwight. Howard wouldn’t reveal the conversation or say Bob was tipsy, but cracked, “Do they have phone breathalyzers?”
WFTV reporter Daralene Jones proceeded to read a supposed transcript of the conversation and asked Vander Weide if he had said those words. But the conversation that Jones had referenced was taken from a parody written on the website Deadspin. Bob Jordan, the station’s news director, supported Jones when asked to comment Wednesday. “I looked at Deadspin today,” Jordan said. “Oftentimes, fact is sometimes is woven into satires. It’s one of the techniques journalists sometimes use. Daralene did not report that he said something specifically. She just asked him to comment on something in cyberspace.”
Jones made one last effort to extract details from the departing CEO: “Clear it up for us: what did you say when you called him?” “I told you,” he said. “I’m not talking about my conversation.” “Why?” After a split-second pause: “Those are private.”
But Jones continued pressing Vander Weide on the subject, asking him if he recalled saying the following on the phone call. Note that the reporter is quoting verbatim from Deadspin’s fictional, satirical transcript of what the conversation might have been like. “Do you recall saying ‘Me and Otis and Stan [Van Gundy], we don’t want you to go anywhere. We suck without you. Everyone knows. We’ve got nothing else. Orlando is a terrible place, and we’ve got the Amway thing, but who the [“f”] cares?’ Do you recall saying any of that?” Jones asked. “I will not talk specifics of conversations with our players,” Vander Weide said. “The people of Orlando spent a lot of money on this new venue,” the reporter went on. “They would probably like to know if you’re out there trashing the city. Can you answer that question?” “I can easily answer that,” Vander Weide said, his voice becoming sharp. “For 21 years, I have tried to put this community first. And for the remaining years of my life, Orlando will be a home for me. And I would never trash Orlando.”