The NBA’s Orlando Magic made the decision to lay off 31 full-time staffers Friday, around one-tenth of their workforce of 300 employees. One of the impacted employees is long-time writer John Denton, who had spent the last 10 years working for the team after a previous decade-plus stint at Florida Today (he also regularly contributed to ESPN.com during his time with Florida Today). Here are the tweets he sent Saturday about his departure:
I want to thank the fans who read my Magic stories over the last 23 years — 13 with Florida Today & 10 while working for the Magic. It’s been a great run, filled with so many tremendous memories, but I am far from done. Hopefully the future will allow me to continue writing.
— John Denton (@JohnDenton555) July 18, 2020
Denton’s tweets about his departure served as an entry point for Stan Van Gundy, the former Magic coach (and former Miami Heat coach, and former Detroit Pistons coach and president of basketball operations) who’s now a NBA analyst for Turner Sports, to comment on the Magic layoffs and how unnecessary they feel given the wealth of chairman Dan DeVos (son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos) and his family. Here’s what Van Gundy had to say:
These layoffs just couldn’t be avoided. The DeVos family that owns the Magic only has a net worth of about $5 BILLION. They just couldn’t afford to continue to pay all of their employees. https://t.co/kgHYJMgJq8
— Stan Van Gundy (@realStanVG) July 18, 2020
It’s certainly interesting to see a prominent analyst like Van Gundy weigh in on this, and especially so given his time with the Magic (he was the head coach there from 2007-12). But Denton’s departure is definitely notable. Here are a few of the many media figures who weighed in on his exit:
Very sorry to hear this, John. Best wishes to you
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) July 18, 2020
So sorry to hear the news. Best of luck. Feel free to message me if there’s anything I can do to help. Happy to pass along your name to others.
— Iliana Limón Romero (@osiliana) July 18, 2020
Ugh. This sucks so much. You’re a class act JD. excited to see what you do next.
— Jon Alba (@JonAlba) July 18, 2020
The very best to you , John. I am saddened to hear this news. I wish you well in your journey.
— chuck swirsky (@ctsbulls) July 18, 2020
Sorry to hear this, man. You’re a class act.
— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) July 18, 2020
John, I’m very upset reading of this. You deserve better. You always have answered the call with great writing regardless of your employer. Here’s hoping this is just a slight detour.
— Bob Rathbun (@BobRathbunTV) July 18, 2020
Very sorry to hear this John. I’ll very much miss reading your work. But I know you’ll land somewhere soon. All the best
— Evan FitzgeraldFOX35 (@EvanWFitzgerald) July 18, 2020
John, sorry to hear this. Hang in there as best you can. There should be a statue of you in Amway's media room! That's how much you've done bringing great stories of the Magic to readers, viewers and fans seemingly forever. https://t.co/Lw71yVcNRC
— Michael Wallace (@MyMikeCheck) July 18, 2020
John, thank you doesn’t do it justice. You’re so talented and the ultimate professional. I can’t wait to see where you land next. https://t.co/iUM8DpZE7m
— Ryan Bass (@Ry_Bass) July 18, 2020
There are plenty of further tweets out there about Denton and what his coverage meant to many. And he’s just one of many Magic employees laid off here. These are certainly notable cuts, and it’s interesting to see Van Gundy weighing in on them. But he’s definitely not alone in criticizing how the Magic’s owners are handling this.
[John Denton on Twitter]