As the trade deadline approaches, rumors are beginning to fly. Every true Magic fan is sitting on the edge of their seat waiting to hear the news. The news that something has happened. Anything. If nothing happens before the trade deadline, you can expect to see Johnny Davis and John Gabriel in the unemployment line. You might see a team doctor or two as well. Pat Garrity in for another surgery? Ridiculous.
So, what can save John Gabriel's job? In my mind, nothing. Even if he pulls off something spectacular - we need improvement in the front office. I would really like to see Pat Riley or Rudy T working for the Magic in some capacity (ideally, GM and Coach). There is a big enough rift between Magic brass and fans that warrant some major changes before Tracy McGrady bolts for LA in '05.
While there a ton of people dreaming up trades in every little message board on the net, there are two that seem very possible to happen. The first, is a Giricek/Lue/Williams to the Bulls for Marcus Fizer. This is not a bad trade in my mind. We get rid of two players that are not of starting caliber and have yet to show any desire to play hard this year and then Williams is thrown in for the salaries to match up. If we weren't overloaded at PF and undersized at center before, well - we definitely would be now. So, what is the next move? Trading Juwan Howard for Eric Snow. Another great deal that will undoubtedly involve a few other players. This might our golden opportunity to package Steven Hunter in order to get something else in return.
Both these trades make a lot of sense and really help our team out in the PG spot. With Grant Hill returning next year, the combination of McGrady, Hill and Snow looks to be a good starting 3. Now, we have to address our power forward and center position. Big 'Z' is playing good - but I am not sure he will fit the starting role. I imagine something could be worked out in the off season to find a decent center. Our PF position is up for grabs in my mind. Drew Gooden has had an awful year - I wouldn't say he is safe from trade filler. Fizer is good, but not a solution. Our high draft pick might bring in Okafor, which at 6-10 and 250 could play forward or center in the east. Our current untouchables involving trades are McGrady, Bogans, Z and probably Hill and Garrity. Look for the rest of the team to be moved in some form by start of next season. Rod Strickland can not be traded because of when he was signed (date he could be traded will be after the deadline) - but likely will not be back next season.
So, if Gabe can pull of this off and we get Okafor in the draft - it might just be enough to keep his job. Personally though, I would rather see some front office movement and possibly an ownership change.