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No, you're absolutely right, the story was super loose at first... TAoL was a direct sequel to LoZ, then ALttP was meant to be a prequel that takes place on the same map (at least) hundreds of years earlier, LA was a direct sequel to that, OoT was a prequel to ALttP (until FSA later retconned it)... all pretty basic stuff. I don't know what kind of mindset the Oracle games were made with, since the real "where does this game fit in the timeline" stuff didn't start until later, but I also don't know what you mean that they had LA in mind. I mean, the graphical style is similar and recreates a lot of the same sprites, because that's what the GBC was capable of, but that aside I don't really see a connection between them.
I don't know what the "most obvious thing they could do" you're referring to is, or what you mean about having less to do with the story and more the game itself. If you aren't basing the timeline on the events that take place within the game, what would you base it on? Yes, they could retcon Zelda and Agahnim and all the other things connecting LA to ALttP and disconnecting the Oracles games from either, but to what end? What stronger connection do the Oracles games have to Link's Awakening to throw that stuff out?
On the topic of the manga, yeah, it's all non-canon... but Nintendo probably wouldn't have signed off on it if it was too different from the source material. I mean, they probably wouldn't have allowed the manga based on The Wind Waker to feature Link's origin as being something other than Outset Island, so why assume the same isn't true of the Oracles?