The real Magic Kingdom doesn't spout this much squeaky-clean goodness and positive vibes.
During this rebuild, pardon our pixie dust.
At media day last October, I asked new GM Rob Hennigan how the franchise would weigh the possibility of acquiring talented players with suspect character.
"That," Hennigan said, "is going to be the challenge."
Available star free agents or college players aren't all Eagle Scouts and saints.
The Magic will have to determine their tolerability level because, like Bobby Bowden once said: "If short hair and good manners won football games, Army and Navy would play for the national championship every year."
I bring this up because the Magic and Sacramento Kings center/walking headache DeMarcus Cousins recently were linked by a trade rumor for about a nanosecond. The Magic privately squashed the notion. Far-fetched as the scenario might have been, the club's reaction spoke volumes.
Kentucky Sports Radio reported that Orlando, Boston, Dallas and Charlotte are the four teams most likely to trade for Cousins, the former Wildcats star.
The Kings said they are not interested in trading Cousins --- or they are not interested in the offers so far.
Cousins, 22 going on 12, has crazy talent. He's also not in his right mind at times.
He was suspended by the Kings for a game (that'll teach him!) after a confrontation with coach Keith Smart this season.
Cousins' track record also includes a locker-room dust-up with a teammate; being fined after a verbal altercation with the team's strength and conditioning coach; and being kicked out of practice after clashing with former coach Paul Westphal.
Mindful of locker-room chemistry, coach-killers and immature brats, the Magic are not about to touch Cousins with asbestos gloves.
(One ironic aside: Cousins' agent is Dan Fegan. Yes, the Dan Fegan who represented Howard and finally uprooted him from Orlando. Fegan and the Magic aren't exactly buds.)
Hennigan is big on building around solid citizens, and there's a vetting process for each potential Magic signee. But Cousins is an extreme example of a dressing-room cancer.
The Magic are, understandably, cleaning up the spill on their reputation after the Dwightmare. As their wins without Howard shrink, they can't afford any major PR catastrophes.
In fact, as you can read today in the paper's sports section and online, the Sentinel's Josh Robbins reports that, according to a league source, the club has no interest in a superstar who was recognized as Most Disgruntled Player of 2012 — Dwight himself. Even if his L.A. experiment fizzles and he's feeling homesick as a free agent this summer, the Magic will not attempt to bring him back.
(The possibility of a return sounds outrageous, even for Dwight, but we know his history.)
Orlando won't have the cap room. And it's virtually impossible to pull off a reverse Lakers-Magic deal or multi-team trade for Dwight, anyway.
The Magic are trying to establish yet another new culture. Howard is by no means a bad guy, but the franchise wound up catering to him as he grew into a superstar. They aren't traveling that rocky road again.
Bang for your bucks
The Magic's starting lineup last week against the Heat's lineup offered a startling mismatch between the Princes and the Paupers.
Oh, the overtime game was an ESPN classic. I'm talking about the game being played on paper between the state rivals – as in contracts.
The Magic's makeshift starting five had several guys playing on their rookie contracts. They lost by two.
Nik has knack
Magic C Nik Vucevic might have as many admirers as a trade attraction as SG J.J. Redick.
Opposing coaches are raving about him. His 29-rebound effort against the Heat only added a shiny coat to his value.
Vucevic, 7 feet tall, will be off the market unless somebody blows away the Magic with an offer (we can forget Vucevic being included in a deal for Cousins).
The thing is, Vucevic, in the second year of his rookie contract, is a steal at $1.7 million this season, $1.8 million next season and $2.7 million in 2014-15.
But as teams face a more punitive luxury tax, could the Magic acquire a star for Vucevic down the road? The Celtics sent promising PF Al Jefferson to the Timberwolves for veteran Kevin Garnett, basically handing Boston a title in 2008.
This 'n' That
What was the key to Vucevic breaking Shaq's 19-year-old record with 29 rebounds? He grabbed four boards during one trip down the court. Halfway through the fourth quarter, he rebounded Josh McRoberts' miss, then three of his own on consecutive tip-in attempts before scoring…. He didn't get a return engagement with L.A., but Phil Jackson apparently will be in the Lakers' family after getting engaged to Jeanie Buss, the club exec and daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss. "Insert your own, 'Don't fish off the company pier' jokes here," Buss wrote in her 2011 book, "Laker Girl," about her relationship with Jackson. "But it is no joke."...Speaking of L.A., Howard really is taking a step back in his free-throw battle. Actually, Dwight has started lining up a half-step back of the line when he shoots, and has had some success. If all else fails, he might try throwing it overhand.