ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Orlando Magic promoted assistant general manager Otis Smith to GM on Wednesday.
Smith split basketball operations work the past year with
assistant general manager Dave Twardzik after John Weisbrod
resigned as general manager 14 months into the job. Twardzik will
retain the same title but focus on player development and scouting.
Smith, who played for the Magic from 1989-92, called the
promotion an opportunity to stretch into a position he's had his
eye on for a decade.
"I don't know if I could hand pick any other situation," he
Magic President Bob Vander Weide credited Smith with helping
engineer two midseason moves that unloaded mercurial guard Steve
Francis and reserve center Kelvin Cato and brought in post prospect
Darko Milicic, guard Carlos Arroyo and more salary cap room.
"That's a GM that understands my business side -- that we've got
to win on the court but we also have a business to operate,"
Vander Weide said.
The Magic, who missed the playoffs for the third straight year,
won 16 of their last 20 games with a retooled lineup.
Smith's fingerprints were also heavy on the Magic's 2004 draft,
when the club took Dwight Howard No. 1 overall out of high school
and traded with Denver to snag 20th pick Jameer Nelson, a sharpshooter
and consensus college player of the year many clubs overlooked
because of his 6-foot height.
The two have flourished in combination, with Howard averaging 15
points and 12 rebounds last season and Nelson taking over the
starting point guard job.
"I'm very much of the opinion [that Smith has] earned this
opportunity," Vander Weide said. "He's been with us in several
capacities, and he has taken the time to learn the business and
learn it well."
There have also been questionable moves on Smith's watch, like
picking Fran Vazquez 11th in the 2005 draft only to see the
6-foot-10 power forward from Spain snub the Magic and play in