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John Weisbrod Interview




/ July 23, 2004

The Orlando Magic have acquired forward-center Tony Battie and two future second round draft picks (2005, 2007) from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for forward Drew Gooden, center Steven Hunter (through a sign-and-trade) and the draft rights to Anderson Varejao. Here's what Orlando GM John Weisbrod said to local media about the trade and state of the Magic:

Question: So, Tony Battie?

John Weisbrod: “Obviously we’re still grinding trying to do everything we can to make the team better. Bigs have really become the priority because we feel like the backcourt is in pretty good shape, and this was a kid we targeted a while ago and made efforts to get a long time ago and just weren’t successful in doing it, and we were glad it finally came to pass.

Question: What do you like so much about him?

John Weisbrod: “Probably as much as anything he is a super high character guy. Having talked to Jim O’Brien, who obviously had him in Boston, he just loved the kid, and said he was one of their key guys in holding that group together from a leadership standpoint. He can obviously play the four and play the five, and is a good defender and good shot-blocker, and will be a good type of person to play in Dwight’s shadow, helping him along with his development as far as like a veteran leadership presence.”

Question: How important is it to get high character guys around Dwight?

John Weisbrod: “I don’t think it is necessarily Dwight-related, I think just in general you want high character guys because it is conducive to winning. Certainly, being a young and impressionable kid, and sort of finding his way, it will certainly be to his benefit to have the type of people around him that we want to rub off on him.”

Question: Did Battie have injury problems last year?

John Weisbrod: “At various points he has had some knee injuries. Obviously we’ll just get a chance to have him and do the physical and all that kind of stuff now. All trades are contingent on those types of things, but we’ve been led to believe that he is back to full health and that there are no problems with that.”

Question: Were you worried about Drew’s ability to co-exist with Dwight?

John Weisbrod: “Well Drew obviously came back in the beginning of last year and found Juwan in his spot, and I think even Drew would say maybe he didn’t deal with that as well as he could of or should of. Drew is a talented kid, he is younger than Tony, and he has a lot of potential. I think he is a little bit more of a scorer than Tony, which from Cleveland’s standpoint, in losing Boozer, is probably where their interest came from. But we definitely feel that Battie is a better fit, more the type of person and player we are looking to accumulate.”

Question: Would you describe him as ‘your type of guy’, a scrapper?

John Weisbrod: “Yeah, he is not an overly physical guy, but he is a real mentally tough guy. He has all the intangibles you want. We are at point now in the roster where we are dealing with spots 10-14 or 15, and you want to find the glue guys, the right kind of intangibles. Guys that might play an 18-28 minute roll, but will be the right type of people for the chemistry of the team, the dynamic of the team, and we definitely feel he is that kind of guy.”

Question: Are you trying to erase the memory of last year’s team by ridding of all those players?

John Weisbrod: “I don’t think we’re trying to erase the memory in terms of getting players out. Obviously the players we had assembled, and the team we had assembled, obviously wasn’t a very good one. So if you want to make the team better and get better, I guess it is a natural byproduct that you end up changing a lot of faces. Certainly we’re happy with everything that has happened so far this summer, we’re happy with this, and we have to keep moving to the next step.”

Question: Looking at the stats, it appears they got a better deal, so does it come down to things that aren’t on paper?

John Weisbrod: “I think it comes down to making your team better. Based on the roles different guys are going to play, what makes your team better is what matters. Certainly if Drew plays the scoring role they expect him to play, or hope he’ll play, he’ll make their team better. I know that Tony, compared to Drew, is better for our team, so ideally that is the way a trade works best is both teams get what they want out of it and I think that can happen with this deal. I guess the one sore spot is Anderson, and we didn’t need to put Anderson in it. Anderson was real intent on coming over and wanting to sign and play this year, and I didn’t want to hold him back from doing that and I wasn’t real comfortable with having two rookies at that position. If we kept Anderson and signed Anderson to that four spot, then you have Dwight and Varejao that are both sort of wide-eyed, new to the league and I didn’t feel great about that. When I look at the deal as a whole, Steven was put in mostly to make the numbers work, I believe they are going to waive Steven, I don’t believe he is necessarily part of their plan. Varejao is the piece that probably twinges to have to move at this time, because we drafted him because we liked him. All in all we felt better going with the experience next to Dwight rather than putting two rookies at the same spot.”

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