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Magic Must Trade Howard Now

December 26, 2011


Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith is right, the offers for Dwight Howard will only get better as the trade deadline approaches in mid-March. Cooler heads usually prevail when it comes to NBA trade discussions. However, after watching the Magic open their season I am singing a different tune. The longer Dwight is in Orlando pinstripes the worse off their team and their fans will be.

Last season, it was awkward watching the Denver Nuggets early on. Sure, Carmelo Anthony put up his usual gaudy numbers…that’s what he does. But he took little ownership in how the team was doing. He spent more time answering New York-themed questions in the locker room than discussing the gameplan with his teammates. The guys around him mirrored this indifference…J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin eventually moving on as well following the season. Fast forward to today and the same cloud is hanging over the city of Orlando. It doesn’t show early in ballgames or when the team is leading but, rather, when the chips are down. Teams can win games based on just talent or scheduling. But the true chemistry and resolve of a team are most visible during the tough times. Unlike Melo last year, Dwight isn’t a scorer by nature. It’s harder for him to just “do his job” amid the rumors, let alone be the bright personality he has always been at Amway Center. Howard’s demeanor doesn’t appear the same when the team is down and his teammates feed off that change in attitude from last year. Don’t just look at the production of Dwight these days either, but the production of the guys around him…everyone is distracted by this situation. That’s because any possible trade involving the star center will undoubtedly include many other players on the roster. Hedo Turkoglu and his nasty contract are a forgone conclusion to be included in any trade, as may be the team’s floor leaders Jameer Nelson and Chris Duhon (again…contract). GM Otis Smith is also affected on the job by all of the Howard drama. It’s hard enough for an NBA front office to try and improve its team, but Smith has the added pressure of trying to appease Dwight at every turn. Every move must have the approval of the bigman, as we saw with the recent trade of Brandon Bass to the Celtics for Glen Davis and Von Wafer. Reports are that ‘Superman’ was pushing for the team to bring in ‘Big Baby’. I actually thought this transaction was a win-win situation at the time, but the early returns seem to be favoring Boston heavily. While Brandon is the more steady and consistent PF, Davis has more potential for great performances. He played like a star when Kevin Garnett was out in 2009, though since then has been a very up-n-down player. You’re as likely to get 20 & 10 from him as you are 5 & 3. Big Baby’s maturity is also an issue, as Paul Pierce recently hinted at during Media Day. If…no, when Dwight Howard leaves Orlando, the Magic will likely be left with the volatile combo of Davis and Wafer on their roster, instead of the dependable and professional Bass. The front office is taking risks in hopes of keeping Howard only to possibly hurt themselves in the long term. Long after he’s gone the team may be left will players Dwight himself pushed for. It’s a difficult situation for a franchise to be in. They better off cutting ties with their superstar now than risk further damage.

Every minute that Dwight Howard is still wearing Magic blue is a minute more of awkward basketball and unhealthy business. An NBA team isn’t just a product, it’s a symbol…and one who’s reputation can easily be soured. An indifferent culture in the locker room can eventually spread onto the court and change a franchise’s entire image. Otis Smith needs to trade Dwight ASAP, even if it means getting ”less” back in return…..before it starts to get really ugly in the Magic Kingdom.


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One Response to Magic Must Trade Howard Now

  1. Chris Taliban G on January 5, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Dwight is playing MVP ball, They should move him now when his stock is hihest

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