Bob Vander Weide Rumors
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.
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.
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.”
A local television reporter did not beat around the bush, immediately asking if Vander Weide had “drunk-dialed” Howard, in those terms. Vander Weide took the time to be clear on the subject. To begin, Vander Weide said that he had been texting back and forth with Howard over several hours. He then said that he was not intoxicated when he dialed Howard during a game of “paddles” with friends, saying he had had “two-to-three glasses of wine” over several hours. “We need to be clear on this,” Vander Weide said, “that phone conversation has not changed my relationship with Dwight.”
Vander Weide said he and Howard share a close relationship, saying the two “like each other, even love each other, as people.” The former Magic CEO said that the phone conversation had nothing to do with his retirement, which was for personal reasons.