The Orlando Magic are still very likely to milk Dwight Howard’s play to the last possible minute before the NBA’s trade deadline on March 15.
And why not?
The list of teams that are willing to make realistic offers for Dwight Howard continues to grow. Rumors that two new and somewhat surprising suitors have emerged in the last few days.
As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports the Golden State Warriors are extremely interested in making a deal for the franchise center.
Golden State management is willing to take Howard as a one-season “rental,” with the hope of selling him on signing a long-term deal before he enters free agency this summer. Like most teams, Golden State has inquired with Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith, but the Magic have yet to commit to aggressively pursuing a trade of Howard.
For the Magic to become intrigued with package, two things would likely have to appeal to them: rebuilding around young point guard Stephen Curry; and the Warriors’ salary-cap space to absorb the three years and $34 million left on Hedo Turkoglu’s contract. The possibility of the pursuit could be complicated by questions about the sturdiness of Curry’s surgically repaired right ankle. The Warriors are willing to part with either of their two guards – Curry or Monta Ellis – but teams clearly will watch how Curry recovers from his recurring ankle sprains.
Curry’s ankle is a legitimate concern and should not be taken lightly. The last thing Orlando’s needs is a Grant Hill redux. Wojnarowski also goes into Golden State’s hope of selling the endorsement opportunities available in nearby Silicon Valley to Howard. While interesting it would appear the Warriors would have to get a third team involved to make a realistic offer.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com wrote that the Chicago Bulls would be interested in trading for Howard which isn’t news but he also wrote that the New York Knicks could put together a package centered around Amar’e Stoudemire.
If the Knicks keep struggling, the focus will spread from the coaching to the roster, and sources advise not to be surprised if the notion of a possible deal sending Amar’e Stoudemire to Orlando for Howard gains traction. If the Magic opt to convert Howard into a superstar of reasonably comparable stature, they could do a lot worse than selling Stoudemire — a central Florida native — to their restless fan base. The biggest issue would be Stoudemire’s uninsurable knees, but there is risk involved in every scenario Orlando will be presented with between now and March 15. From the Knicks’ standpoint, such an arrangement would break up the ill-fitting offensive combo of Stoudemire and Anthony and allow the versatile Chandler to move to the power forward spot, where he’d be a terror as a weak-side shot blocker and in Stoudemire’s spot as the roll man in D’Antoni’s pick-and-roll offense. A deeper question exists in whether Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan would sign off on trading Stoudemire, who was the only star willing to commit to the Knicks and embrace the challenges of New York in July 2010. For the aforementioned reasons, sources say it’s plausible but unlikely that the Knicks and Orlando would be able to get any such talks off the ground. For one thing, it makes too much sense.
It’s hard to envision a scenario where the Knicks become desperate enough to break up their trio but they would have to be intrigued at the possibility of obtaining Howard.
For now the Orlando Magic are in the driver’s seat. They are winning and can continue to field sweet offers as teams rack their brains and get creative. That said the driver’s seat becomes a hot seat in an instant. If Howard holds onto to his trade request despite team success, the Magic will have to relent and send him to one of their many current suitors.
Or one that has yet to emerge.
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