Chris Paul trades notwithstanding, the Orlando Magic have been the busiest and most discussed team in the NBA on the first official weekend of the season. GM Otis Smith conducted a whirling dervish array of moves and transactions on this opening weekend but it still only comes down to one player and one thing that really matters.
Does Dwight Howard want to continue to play for the Orlando Magic?
Howard has allegedly given four different answers to that question over the last few days to the Magic front office. But on Saturday he semi-openly with a hint of annoyance and sadness discussed with the media his “official” request to be traded.
Howard sited not being included in some of the major roster decisions as one of the reasons for requesting a trade. Guys like Turkgolu, Rashard Lewis, Marcin Gortat, and even as far back as Courtney Lee were friends of Howard and he wanted to develop with those guys.
Dwight unofficial has told Smith he would like to play with guys like Josh Smith or Andre Igoudala but there are no plausible trades that could get Orlando those pieces.
Now it is all out in the open and now GM Otis Smith faces his most difficult decision in his tenure in Orlando. What exactly is just compensation for a franchise center?
Howard wants to be dealt to large market team preferably LA or New Jersey/Brooklyn where he can have a chance to win and develop his many off the court endeavors. The New Jersey Nets have the best offer on the table but Smith wants more from them. Now that the L.A. Lakers have backed out of the Chris Paul sweepstakes what will their offer be? With the Lakers reportedly trading Lamar Odom to Dallas the Lakers will likely offer Andrew Bynum and picks for Howard.
That too is not enough.
Smith (rightfully) is reportedly asking for no less than Pau Gasol AND Bynum for Howard. While that price might be a little steep for the Lakers up front, if they feel they may have real chance at Chris Paul (or Deron Williams) in the summer when he becomes a free agent, then this is a deal they have to make.
A new rumor has emerged where the Houston Rockets are willing to help facilitate a Howard deal. The Rockets would get Gasol, the Lakers get Howard, and the Magic would emerge with Bynum, Luis Scola, and Kevin Martin.
Whatever the final deal is Orlando has to remain competitive immediately with the players they get back. After opening a new arena there is nothing they want less than to have empty seats at each game.
Barring a miracle of vast proportions, Howard has played his last game as a member of the Orlando Magic with the effects of his departure sure to reverberate for years to come.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com