March 15th; that’s the date we’ll know where Superman has landed (yeah I called him Superman, sorry Shaq). As indicated with the photo on the left, it appears Dwight Howard no longer wants to be a member of the Orlando Magic, and would rather just say sayonara at this point, it would be best for all parties involved to go their seperate ways before bad becomes worse. The team has lost 4 games in a row, and 5 of its last 6. The more this team loses, the more the team’s superstar grows frustrated, and wants to leave.
6 games ago Orlando was crushed by Boston 87-56, just an awful performance by the Magic. They would go on to play the Celtics again a few days later with the same result; a loss. Orlando blew a 27 point lead in the first half to lose to a Celtics team minus Rondo, and Allen. The very next night Dwight Howard called out his teammates after getting blown out on the road to the lowly New Orleans Hornets; 93-67. He had this to say following the loss, “if you don’t want to play, stay home. People work too hard. I want to win a championship. I work too hard every night for anybody to not want to go out there and, play hard. None of the whatever, trade stuff, none of that stuff matters. Play basketball. That’s why we all get paid to do this, because we love the game, and it’s basketball, so why not give it your all.” It sounds to me Dwight is ready to leave, the whole trade debate, and all its rumors are just looming over every member of this organization in the worst possible way. GM Otis Smith needs to realize that his best move would be making a move, sooner rather than later. On a 4 game slide (most recent losses include Indiana, and Philadelphia) this team is headed toward a downward spiral fast.
Anybody remember the Carmelo Anthony/Denver Nuggets debacle last season? Just ask Coach Karl how that affected his players last year. The same exact thing is happening right now with these Orlando Magic (history repeats itself). After a recent game against the Los Angeles Lakers, point guard Jameer Nelson finally came out publicly with saying that the Dwight Howard trade rumors has affected him thus far in the season. I can only imagine it has affected most of that team in general. GM Otis Smith knows he needs to make a deal, but chances are he’ll hold off until after the All-Star game located in Orlando later this month takes place. Now the question is where will Dwight land? Howard reportedly has a list of teams he’d sign long term deals with. Among the list of teams are the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks. So which best suites the needs of the Orlando Magic, and Howard?
The Brooklyn-bound Nets have a number of trading assets that could very well lure the Orlando Magic into a deal that would send Dwight Howard to the Nets…Sorry Jay-Z, but I don’t think that this move would be in Superman’s best interest. Let’s face it for this deal to even work the Nets would have to center a deal around their currently injured starting big man Brook Lopez, a future first round pick, possibly even their up and coming rookie MarShon Brooks, and Kim’s ex; Kris Humphries. This deal would leave very little left for the Nets team to contend with. Yes you would have the great combo of Deron Williams, and Dwight Howard, but other than that there isn’t much excitement left on this current roster. There’s just not enough pieces on this team for them to make a serious run at the quality teams of the Eastern Conference such as the Miami Heat, and Chicago Bulls. I don’t see this being an ideal place to play for the big man. Grading this destination for Dwight Howard I would give it a C+.
Dwight Howard to the Dallas Mavericks? The defending Champions of the basketball world would be significantly better with a starting Center of the likes of Dwight Howard. The Mavs are already a strong defensive unit despite losing Tyson Chandler in the offseason, but imagine if they could get Dwight Howard, this team would be a force on the front lines. Dirk, and Dwight’s combo would be almost impossible to stop. Dirk Nowitzki is getting older, but he has some good years left in him, and this team has enough time to make serious runs at Titles especially if that means Howard has signed a deal, and shook Mark Cuban’s hand. Dallas has plenty of veteran players, even some young intriguing talent that they could send back to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Dwight’s services. The only problem I see with a deal happening in Big D is there’s no way they’d ever trade Nowitzki, ever. So that basically means the Mavericks would have to find another team to get in on the trade for Howard to make this deal happen. But for the article’s sake let’s say some way, some how the Mavs find a way to land Howard, you would have to imagine Deron Williams would be very unhappy he didn’t land with the Nets meaning Deron is likely to opt out after season’s end, and test the free agent market out. This certainly means the Mavss could be in the running for Williams, along with a few other teams. The Mavs are aging quickly, and there time frame for another Title could be closing soon unless they make a big splash, and get the big fella to come to Big D. Grading this destination for Dwight Howard i’d give it a B+.
Years ago Shaquille O’Neal left the Orlando Magic, and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Orlando got nothing in return, and will regret that move for years to come. Shaq ended up winning 3 Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, and 1 Title with the Miami Heat in his great 19 year career. Earlier in this article I noted that history repeats itself, well it’s bound to happen yet again whether GM Otis Smith likes it or not. I believe for Dwght Howard, his best interest would be following in the foot steps of Shaquille O’Neal. He’s already got the Hollywood personality (same as Shaq once had), he’s got the passion for the game of basketball, and is in need of a Championship badly. His best move would be to team up with Kobe Bryant who’s been an MVP of the league, a Finals MVP twice, and has won 5 NBA Championships among other accolades. The Mamba is still a big time threat on the court, he’s got the league’s best mid range jumper, he is fighting father time, but still has plenty in the tank for a few more Championship runs. If Dwight Howard wants to win a Title, L.A. gives him the best chance to do so. GM Otis Smith needs to realize that he’s not going to get equal value back for Dwight, but it’s certainly better than losing him for nothing, like they lost Shaquille years ago. Orlando likely would recieve Andrew Bynum in a deal for Howard. Bynum has been called the game’s best Center according to Shaq. Bynum being only 24 years of age, and when healthy he’s certainly one of the league’s best big men, and is a future All-Star that Orlando could build around. To me this is the best value the Magic are going to get in a trade for Dwight. It’s a no brainer, if Orlando wants a player to build around who better than a 24 year old Andrew Bynum who’s getting better, and better over time. For the Los Angeles Lakers, if they get the big man they’ll have another Superstar on the team along with Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol (if Orlando doesn’t demand Pau too). You’d have to imagine the Lakers would be in the running for another big name player in the following free agency period, possibly a better, young Point Guard? The Lakers could be an instant contender for years to come with the services of Dwight Howard, and when it’s time for The Black Mamba to step down from his Lakers throne, Howard will be the next Superstar to carry the torch. This deal just makes perfect sense for all of the parties involved. Grading this destination for Dwight Howard, i’d give it an A.
By: Drew Kashmer