Stay the course
Stay healthy. Otherwise, not a darned thing.
This team has been close enough often enough in the last three years that to veer too far off course now would do nothing but set back the program.
The Magic already have shown they can knock off the Heat and certainly compete with the Celtics. Dwight Howard is as imposing as it gets in the East, and few backup centers can offer what Marcin Gortat offers.
What general manager Otis Smith should do is tell the likes of Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson and Lewis that this is it, their last best chance. Make it work now or make it work somewhere else.
It takes a while to Van Gundy-ize players. The Magic don't have that time.
Arenas is final piece
This rarely is the sane answer to any question, but the Magic's best bet to secure an Eastern Conference championship via trade is to acquire Gilbert Arenas.
No matter what Arenas' issues are — and, granted, there have been many — one thing he's always been able to do is score. And while his shooting percentage is down this season, he's still pumping in 18.1 points per game in 34 minutes. Pair him with Superman and the catch-and-shoot game becomes that much easier.
Plus, Arenas has a relationship with Magic general manager Otis Smith, whom he respects from their shared days in Golden State. As an aside, this move should be made merely to see what relationship takes form between Arenas and Stan Van Gundy. Arenas has always been flaky, but Van Gundy is a strong enough leader to keep him focused.
Go for a big name
Looking to catch the Lakers and Celtics — and maybe deal with the Heat — the Magic still are open to making a trade or trades. They'd be in the market for a big-time scorer or top playmaker, and Carmelo Anthony and/or Chris Paul fit the bill.
They're partial to Paul and would part with all pieces not named Dwight Howard.
The Magic are no fools: They want to win a title, and they know they need help to keep Howard happy.
They would even be willing to take a step back this season to restock if it meant they could land Anthony or Paul. When I asked somebody in the Magic organization about such a possibility, that somebody never shook off my sign nor flinched.
The chance? Slim. Anthony likely will be dealt, but the Hornets are playing too well for Paul to squawk.
Improve from within
Los Angeles Times
The Magic need to play better, play with more passion and determination.
There is no guarantee that another team will be willing to make a trade. So for now, it has to come from within — and the Magic have more than enough talent.
Pound the ball down low more to Dwight Howard, even late in the game. If he gets fouled and misses free throws, that's on Howard.
Rashard Lewis has not shot well this season. He needs to stop settling for jump shots and attack the basket more. He also needs to improve his defense.
When Vince Carter comes back from his injury, stop letting him stay on the perimeter and jack up shots. Carter has to get to the rim, and he also has to play better defense.
With the athletes Orlando has, it should run more, a lot more.