Dear Otis Smith, I’m Firing You

I didn’t bother with an NBA Round-Up today because we already knew what was going to happen – the Magic couldn’t maintain consistency and the Lakers would win. Happy birthday, David Stern. But instead of blaming the commish or the refs, I’m going to take this opportunity to share with you the actual letter that I, an Orlando Magic season ticket holder, have penned and mailed to Magic GM Otis Smith. I thought it would be fun to share my thoughts on the season, his tenure and the future of the franchise with the guy who I routinely give money to. And now you as well.

And yes, I’m well aware this is pointless and arrogant, but I’m pissed off so I does what I does.

Dear Otis,

Can I call you Otis? I help pay your salary so I might as well act as if I’m familiar with you. Hoo boy, did Thursday night’s loss suck or what? I mean, it could have gone either way, just like the other losses in that series, but we’re out and it’s done, so what can we do now? Actually, that’s not rhetorical. You could quit. That’s what we could do now.

I read before the Game 6 loss that your job is safe. Good for you. I know that at my job, if I hired a guy who was paid $20 million a year and was served court papers in the middle of a work day and routinely didn’t do his job to the standard that his pay suggests, he and I would be fired. I mean, that’s not even hypothetical. If I hired a guy who disappointed us on a daily basis and was a detriment to the respectability of my company, I’d be collecting unemployment. But you’re doing fine, so that’s good.

Additionally, if one of my employees told me he was leaving because we weren’t offering him a future and he wanted more money, even though we all knew he wasn’t worth it, I’d let him walk just like you let Hedo Turkoglu walk. But if I eventually said, “You know what? I should bring him back even though he’s making the same money that I said he wasn’t worth”, and I brought him back and he performed terribly and was a regular detriment to the company’s performance, I’d be fired. But you still have a job, so that’s good.

Do you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and think, “Damn Otis, we really made our team better”? I ask because you have undoubtedly slaughtered the team’s future and finances by bringing on two contracts that assure that we cannot add another top level player without continuing to exist above the salary cap. I wish you owned a TV because you could watch what the Chicago Bulls have done to create an excellent team and still have money to spend. You may not be into fads, but I guarantee you would get a kick out of this new one called “intelligent spending”.

And now you want to restructure Gilbert Arenas’ contract to keep him in Orlando longer by spreading out his money. At least that’s what the rumors tell me. If that’s true – and if it’s not, I apologize for wasting your vacation time – then you’re keeping a 30-year old, washed up, overpaid point guard in Orlando for, I’m guessing, 5 years at $10 million per. I know he’s your friend and all, but are you kidding me? What school did you attend to think this is a good idea? Does Isiah Thomas have a General Manager academy that I don’t know about?

Two years ago, us Magic fans were living the dream. That’s the year that you roped me into spending thousands of dollars for season tickets – 2009. I had a good feeling after the 2008 season that we were on to something special after years of suffering. Sure enough, we went to the Finals in 2009 and the world was ours. You know, despite losing. Now, though? Different story, O-Man. Can I call you O-Man now? I assume I can so why not? How, then, did we go from a Finals team to being bounced in the first round of the playoffs by a team that we historically own? Don’t worry. That question is rhetorical because I’ve already answered it. You traded away our size, heart and depth because you wanted your boy here. Cool beans, bro.

Let’s look ahead, shall we? If there’s a season, it’s Dwight Howard’s contract year. I’m a naïve sports fan, so I think he’ll stay. But I’m also a realist, so I’m betting he gets as far away from Hedo and Gilbert as he possibly can. Why should he stay? Sure, he has a bunch of charities here, but he can run them from another state while he plays for a championship elsewhere. He made it clear that he needs a quality supporting cast, so that’s what you got him. If this was 2007.

Honestly, I wish I could have been inside of your brain when you made your trades this season. I imagine it was a few hours of Yakety Sax and a cartoon cow trying to play with one of those balls attached to a paddle. But you just stand there cool, calm and collect during games, ignoring fans and acting as if you’ve got some grand scheme that’s going to come to fruition eventually. Good for you, man.

In reality, you’ve done a horrible job. Unless you can somehow convince a drunk GM to take Gilbert and Hedo from us before next season and learn how to draft – yeah, I’m on to your inability to scout, by the way – you need to ride into the sunset, O-Funk. Can I call you O-Funk? I could call you worse, that’s for sure.

Look, you’re not John Weisbrod bad. You’ve had your moments. I love Ryan Anderson and Earl Clark. But I have also loathed so many boneheaded decisions that you’ve made, the lack of desire that you’ve shown, and the pathetic empathy that has been the definition of your tenure in Orlando. Show me a miracle, Otis. I beg you.

Otherwise, my next payment will be deducted from my bank account on May 1 and I’ll loathe you a little more. But hey, you’ve got job security that I help pay for, so what the hell do you care what I think? Do me a favor, though. Tell Dwight I’m going to miss him.


Mr. Ashley D. Burns
Season Ticket Holder Since 2009

And yes, I do have to write Mr. in front of my name so people don’t think I’m a girl. What a life.