After losing in the first round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season -- and clearly disappointed with the results -- the Magic are expected to make a dramatic change in direction this summer.
The futures of coach Stan Van Gundy, general manager Otis Smith and superstar Dwight Howard -- key components in the way the franchise struggled -- all are uncertain after the quick end to a tumultuous season.
Howard was a disruptive force all year. Smith put some bad pieces together. And Van Gundy could not make the pieces fit together through the adversity. All three have one year remaining on their respective contracts.
"I don't think anyone wants to go through again the season that we've just been through," said Magic chief executive officer Alex Martins. "We don't want anyone to be in limbo. Right now, everyone just needs a little time to cool off from a very, very, trying season. But we're going to do everything we need to do to make sure that we put ourselves in position not to go through the season again that we just had."
The season that started with a trade request from Howard and ended with him watching the playoffs from Los Angeles, where he did his rehabilitation after back surgery, was the most disruptive in franchise history.
The Magic managed to earn the No. 6 seed in the playoffs, but they were blistered by the No. 3 seeded Indiana Pacers, showing no signs of being the championship contender they thought they were when the season started.
The most important issue is settling the future of Howard, the best center in the league. Martins has inferred that the Magic either will sign him to a long-term extension -- or trade him before next season.
Van Gundy finished his fifth season as coach of the Magic, compiling a 259-135 record. They reached the NBA Finals once and lost. They also reached the Eastern Conference final one other time and lost.
Smith, who has said he isn't even sure if wants to return, made some personnel moves that were key in the Magic reaching the NBA Finals in 2010, but he also made ones that led to the slide.
"Everything we've done here has been with the goal of winning a championship," Martins said. "Two years in a row now, we've just gotten to the playoffs, and not gone beyond that. We have to find a way now to get back to the Finals and have an opportunity to win a championship."