Dwight Howard [Opt-in (opt out), Trade Me (don’t trade me), Blackmail (not blackmail)] & Orlando Magic Player Options

Posted: July 4, 2012 in ALL II
Tags: , ,

Certified drama king Dwight Howard holds an immense amount of control over the National Basketball Association as his decision on where to go potentially changes the contenders and pretenders across both conferences.  I specifically say “immense” and not total control because the Orlando Magic control his immediate future as Howard, upon signing his opt in, gave up his rights to veto trades.  Howard, it should be stated, is probably my least favorite basketball player in quite some time.  For the egregiousness of the Lebron decision, this wishy-washy “I want to please everyone,” immature, phoniness displayed by Dwight Howard is pathetic.  He controlled a franchise forcing them to fire a GM (probably deserved to lose his job) and a top five head coach.  Now he will leave the Magic on some terms, most certainly bad.  Alas, it is about time to evaluate the options on the table beginning with the shorter, perhaps more prestigious list of teams Dwight Howard would like to play for in 2012-2013.

Dwight Howard’s Wish List

1)      Brooklyn Nets

For some reason that has never really been addressed by the public, Dwight Howard really wants to play for the Nets of Brooklyn.  Maybe it’s because they are in New York.  Maybe he wants to headline at the Barclay’s Center.  Well, no insult to Brooklyn, but when I think basketball in New York I think New York Knicks.  The Nets will be second fiddle so maybe this goes well with Howard: acting like its number one but really a phony number one.  Nonetheless, the Nets are in a difficult position especially after signing Deron Williams for five years, $100 million and the Albatross, Joe “Not nearly worth $120 million” Johnson.  The Nets appear to be offering Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, Marshon Brooks, and three number one picks (2013, 2015, and 2017).  In my opinion, this is the worst possible moves for the Magic.  Brook Lopez is easily a top ten center in this down era for traditional fives but he won’t be making an All-Star team anytime soon and isn’t exactly a dominant player in return.  Brooks is somewhat of a throw away.  The kicker?  The number one picks for the Nets loaded with D-Will, D-How, and the Albatross will probably be 20th overall picks given the Nets will be in the playoffs on an annual basis.  Just not enough in return and it is always dangerous to trade within your conference.

For the Nets, however, this possibility is quite the long shot.  To make the deal work, the Nets need a third team to assist in the sign in trade with Lopez and Humphries – perhaps the Grizzlies, Nuggets, or even the Milwaukee Bucks.  In any event Gerald Wallace, D-Will, the Albatross make $44 million per year.  If they end up getting Howard at top dollar, this leaves an amazingly small amount left to fill out the roster.  With the Reggie Evans mid-level exception, Teletovic, and everyone else on the league minimum, the Magic would be within the heavy luxury tax and over the 2013-2014 hard cap projected at $73-75 million.  Unacceptable and unlikely.  The deal does not work for the Magic for basketball reasons and the Nets cannot really make it work for financial reasons without help.

2)      Dallas Mavericks

Apparently Dallas is the only other team on Howard’s one team list.  It sometimes changes from the Nets to Dallas and sometimes the list expands to two teams but it is hard to keep up with the changes.  All joking aside, Howard would consider playing here but I don’t think the Mavs have anything to offer Orlando.  Oh and they did not get Deron Williams.  You know the reason why Cuban dismantled the WORLD CHAMPION DALLAS MAVERICKS…soon to be 0-2.  So, that’s just not good enough.  Upside?  IN 2013-2014, the Mavericks will have the cap space to sign Dwight Howard in free agency for the maximum deal and the ability to make a sign in trade for Chris Paul (also a free agent in 2013-2014).  We know Howard would strongly consider playing with the Mavs but doubt it will be this year.  So that’s it with my Mavs.  Dirk must wait another year for a genuine title defense.  So, in the words of Lewis Black…

Orlando Magic’s Wish List

1)      Houston Rockets

My option for the best team available for the Magic.  Houston has aggressively acquired assets for Pau Gasol but found themselves going after the bigger prize.  Can offer Kyle Lowry (starting Point Guard),  Jeremy Lamb, Luis Scola, future number one pick, and one of the following: Royce White, Terrence Jones, or Marcus Morris (starter quality forward).  For the Magic, these assets will certainly be pieces that could immediately provide a positive impact on a talent depleted team.  With Howard very likely to not resign in Houston, the future pick would be more valuable but the return on investment and cap room is invaluable.  Much better move than the Nets.

2)      Los Angeles Clippers

Some speculation exists on the Clippers interest in Howard.  If you are a good team, you should be interested in a top five player in the league.  If you are a team in a major city, you should be interested.  If you have the best point guard in the league who is not expected to opt-in his final year with your team, please show some interest.  The Clips are the perfect match and the trade is simple: Howard (and Richardson who seems to be coming with all Howard trades) for Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.  Two starters with amazing upside and a name to replace Howard leaving.

3)      Los Angeles Lakers of…Los Angeles

Bynum for Howard.  Straight up.  If Toronto is smart they would make a play for Gasol (after they sign Steve Nash) and reset the bigs with Howard.  Again a big city and I think he would play for the back end of Kobe’s career.

4)      Atlanta Hawks!?

Danny Ferry did the unthinkable by freeing the Hawks from the Albatross!  $89.4 million suddenly off the books over the next four years!  With the acquired pieces from the Nets and the extra room by sending Marvin Williams off to the land of Mormons, the Hawks think they can land a big three.  Howard is from Atlanta and is very good friends with Josh Smith.  Atlanta could send Al Horford, Jeff Teague and three number one’s for Howard.  A very interesting proposition that I doubt will happen.  If it did happen, wow what a move.  Just give Ferry Executive of the Year.  I expected the Hawks to continue to shed money to be viable like Dallas in 2013-2014 where they will be eligible to sign Howard and CP3 as free agents at the league maximum.

So that is all simple enough and easily listed.  But the Magic could return the hardball tactics of Howard only wanting to play with the Nets by keeping him under contract in Orlando.  Howard, ever sensitive to the shifting public sentiment winds, will certainly not like the boos from the home fans and may open up options for the Magic, thereby raising the price.  So much can change on a day-to-day basis but if I had to employ some wishful thinking, I like Howard to join the Rockets for next season (as long as none of the Los Angeles teams don’t get involved) and then the Mavericks in 2013-2014.  With Howard, it will take a Superman to figure out what will happen next.

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