Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
If you are reading this column, I have to imagine you are aware of the current situation with none other than Mr. Superman himself, Dwight Howard. The Magic are of course facing the considerably difficult decision of whether or not to trade their franchise center, who just happens to be the league’s best at the position, or to desperately try to get him to re-sign.
Saying the Magic have been up and down recently is a lot like saying that Mount Everest is a pretty good size bump. In recent losses against Boston, Indiana, and even *GULP* New Orleans, they seemed to have determined that winning was overrated, and instead wanted to see if it was possible to lose an NBA game by fifty points or more. And they nearly succeeded. But at the moment they are on a three game winning streak, but one of those is against Washington, so who knows what any of this means?
So what should the Magic do? What would I do if I were Otis Smith, other than honorably resign from his job and go somewhere where terrible management is appreciated (maybe New York?)?
That is of course a conundrum. You really only have a couple of options, both fraught with all sorts of peril.
You can trade Dwight later this season. Get something back for Stan Van Gundy for all his trouble helping develop the best center in the league. Dwight has certainly made all of this easy enough, even being nice enough to provide a list of the three teams with which he would be willing to sign an extension with, listing the Lakers, Nets, and Mavericks. I mean, sure, that list was then released to the public, killing your leverage with the rest of the league, but hey, can’t fault Dwight for trying to help you out, right?
So now you are in the wonderful position of trying to trade a player when everyone knows where he wants to go, and where he will not stay should you trade him. Not exactly an easy situation to negotiate. If you are the Lakers, Nets, or Mavericks, why would you trade your roster away for a player who may just come to you free in the off-season? If you aren’t those three teams, then renting any player more than halfway through the season is a dicey proposition, even if that player is the best center in the world.
Hit the jump for the rest of Jordan’s piece…
If you are a bad team Dwight would arrive likely just in time for you to…..still miss the playoffs. If you are a playoff team, you may, read again MAY, have a better shot at keeping Dwight, but you will have to trade key pieces of your contending roster for a player who may just leave at season’s end. Sounds like a perfect recipe to become a contender for the patented “Worst GM In The League” Award to me if there ever was one.
So maybe you have to roll the dice and try to re-sign him. You do have a few chips in your favor here. There has never been any real indication that Dwight dislikes the city of Orlando or its fans. Also with the way the new CBA puts an extra emphasis on stars saying with their old teams, the Magic are in a position to offer an extension of about $30 million dollars total than any other team would be able to offer in free agency.
On the other hand you have to imagine that Dwight is aware of the contract situation of the players on his current team. Like Jason Richardson, Glen Davis, and Hedo Turkoglu, three players whose contracts should not have ever totaled over $80 million. There may still be a glimmer of hope that at least one of these players can give you something from night to night, but is one really enough? No. Can you even really feel confident that you will even get something out of one of these guys a night anymore? I don’t. You think Dwight does? And it isn’t like you can really trade these guys either. Not with those bloated contracts. Maybe you get to dump one of them in a Dwight trade, but that still leaves you with a whole lot of bad contract.
Which is kind of the reason we are here in the first place. Bad contracts. The Magic had their run when they went to the Finals, when Dwight was as dominant as he almost always is, and Hedo was running a point forward attack that was killing, and all of the threes taken by Jameer, Hedo, and Rashard Lewis seemed to be going down. Then management got love drunk with their roster, extending Hedo and ‘Shard with bloated contracts, only to watch on in complete horror as the group whose hot shooting took them to mountain’s summit had their strokes cool down and regress to the mean. Not to forget that they tried to fix the situation by bringing in the likes of Vince Carter and Gilbert Arenas. Fairly easy to see why Dwight would like to leave. The only non-player associated with the team that has been any kind of leader has been Coach Stan Van Gundy, whose brilliant coaching schemes were likely responsible for leading that Finals team to reach so far beyond its grasp.
All things considered the best that can be hoped for by Orlando’s fans would be either the re-signing of Dwight Howard, or the offering of some type of Godfather deal a la the amazing talent haul that Masai Ujiri, the GM of the Denver Nuggets, acquired from the conclusion of the Melo Drama.
Only one thing is for certain. Even if Dwight stays, it’s unlikely the Magic in this current form will survive for long. When the Magic is gone, the show must still go on, one way or another. Let’s just hope that there is more than parlor tricks down in Orlando by the time all of this is through.
Jordan Akin once owned a magic kit, but after the rabbit died, no one would let him attempt to saw them in half. You can curse him on Twitter @jakin1013 or email him at email@example.com.