ORLANDO, Fla. -- John Weisbrod always had his eyes on the prize, just not the one the Orlando Magic were shooting for.
Weisbrod resigned as the general manager of the Magic on Monday
only 14 months after the former pro hockey player was hired to
rebuild a moribund franchise in his own hard-nosed style. He will
now return to hockey and pursue opportunities in the sport he truly
"It's not in the best interest of the organization of having a
GM that, in his heart, would trade three NBA championships for one
Stanley Cup," said Weisbrod, also the team's chief operating
Magic senior vice president Pat Williams told The Associated
Press on Monday that Weisbrod "did a good job and will be
missed." The team's basketball operations will now be handled by
director of player personnel Dave Twardzik and director of player
development Otis Smith.
Weisbrod's effectiveness began to show up last season as the
Magic finished 36-46, a 15-game improvement over the year before,
but his trading acumen was often questioned as he made bold -- some
would say reckless -- moves while attempting to reshape the roster.
First, he used the No. 1 pick in the draft to select high
schooler Dwight Howard, instead of going with the "safe choice"
of polished college senior Emeka Okafor, this season's NBA rookie
of the year.
Less than a week later, Weisbrod pulled off his legacy-defining
trade and gained instant criticism when he sent forward Tracy
McGrady -- a disgruntled superstar with two scoring titles and an
erratic attitude -- to Houston in a seven-player deal.
"The organization needed a bulldozer," Weisbrod said. "I feel
like I had the personality and thick enough skin to do that."
After the McGrady trade, Weisbrod was tagged by his critics as a
hardheaded "hockey guy." McGrady's success and Houston's eventual
playoff bid didn't help matters.
There was some truth to that label. Weisbrod, a former minor
leaguer within the San Jose Sharks' system, acknowledged that his
direct style works better with hockey players.
"I feel like I belong in a rink," Weisbrod said.
Weisbrod joined the Magic's parent company, RDV Sports, in 1997
as vice president and general manager of the Orlando Solar Bears of
the International Hockey League. He took over RDV in 2000 before
the Magic hired him.
Still in the midst of a coaching search, Weisbrod's departure
now leaves the Magic with two holes to fill.
Orlando fired coach Johnny Davis in March and decided last week
not to stay with interim coach Chris Jent. A new coach will be
hired soon, perhaps in the coming days, team president/chief
executive officer Bob Vander Weide said.
Two league sources told ESPN Insider Chad Ford on Monday that the Magic will hire Brian Hill as their new head coach.
Hill coached the Magic during their heyday years from 1993-1996 and compiled a 191-104 record during his stint. He is the only Magic head coach to ever lead the Magic to an NBA Finals appearance in 1995.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.