Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dwight Howard: The Next Carmelo? or Lebron?

The rumors have been swirling for a while now. Dwight Howard, much like previous stars in the NBA, has his contract coming to an end with the team that drafted him and like the others isn't in a rush to re-sign with said team. Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade got this all kicked off in the 2009-10 season, only to be copied this year by Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony. The difference this year was the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz decided not to wait out their stars decision in free agency, risking the stars leaving without getting anything in return, instead they traded the stars. This leads to the question, what will Orlando do now that Dwight Howard has announced he will not sign an extension with the Magic until either good roster moves are made or they win a championship?

Option 1: Trade Him

The rumor is that Dwight is looking to go the Los Angeles. He is a very outgoing person and has shown and interest in being more of a celebrity along with NBA star. LA obviously offers a player this opportunity more than any other location in the NBA. Add that to the fact the Lakers are coming off a disappointing season and have acknowledged the fact that they need to change their roster. Now with Howard's announcement Monday, all the dominoes are in place for the Lakers to swoop in with an offer to Orlando of a package with Andrew Bynum to grab Dwight Howard in a trade.

Why would the Magic trade their historically healthy best center in the league currently for a historically injured center that is yet to reach anything near his potential? Have you seen Cleveland lately? Their biggest cheers this year came whenever Lebron James lost, the biggest of them all coming Sunday night as Lebron lost to the "Mav-aliers" as they've been called in Cleveland. If you are Orlando and you look at your roster without Dwight Howard, it's ugly. Maybe not as ugly as Cleveland's was last summer and last season, but it isn't much better and that is what you'll be left with if you decide to wait out Dwight and make your best offer to him next summer, only for Dwight to walk to the Lakers. In return, Orlando gets nothing and is left with a team led by...Jameer Nelson? Hello ping pong balls!

In "Option 1" the Magic will wait the labor negotiations out and maybe even wait out the first half of the season. Then, much like the Nuggets and Jazz last year, start listening to offers from various teams for Dwight Howard just prior to the trade deadline. At this point in the year some teams that had hoped to be doing better at that point in the season will maybe be more willing to give a bigger package of players to the Magic for Howard.

This seems like the most likely option if the Magic are to trade Howard, especially seeing as this will be a very tumultuous summer for the NBA with labor negotiations possibly leaking into the season and therefore shortening the season. The Magic shouldn't make any hasty decisions regarding the trading of Howard prior to the new CBA, especially if the NBA is going to go to a hard cap or institute new rules making it harder for "Super Teams" to be formed. If new such rules are in place with the new CBA and you haven't traded Howard, the Magic then may have a better opportunity to keep their #1 asset in Howard with the incentives thrown in by the new CBA.

Option 2:

The Magic need to look at the teams that have traded a superstar lately and see how they've fared with their "fare" they have received in return. This past season there were two contradicting examples. The Denver Nuggets traded Carmelo Anthony for, what pretty much amounted to, all of the NY Knicks team. With them they improved and made the playoffs and look hopeful to be a solid, though star free, team next year. The Utah Jazz traded Deron Williams to the NJ Nets and went from a possible playoff team to a lottery squad instantly. Add to it that Utah also lost Jerry Sloan just weeks earlier to the trade and Utah was in trouble.

In general, if a team is trading a superstar they never get the same amount of talent back in return. They receive huge amounts of potential filled players and a draft pick or two that will also more than likely turn into a potential filled player. The problem with potential filled players, many never reach their potential. If Orlando is to look back on the history of trading superstars, they will see that the 2010-2011 Denver Nuggets were the exception to the rule by improving after the trade. So in "Option 2" Orlando will wait and cross their fingers, hoping that Dwight Howard is more Dwayne Wade and Kevin Durant and less Lebron James and Chris Bosh.

Kevin Durant didn't wait until he was a free agent prior to resigning with OKC, while Wade waited and recruited Bosh and James to join him. Wade wanted to stay in Miami and Durant looked around and saw the building of a contender around him that was very young and improving. While Howard says that like Wade he wants to stay in Orlando, do you believe him? Also, when Howard looks around on his roster does he see an up and coming squad? Or does he see a team that has already peaked and needs to be rebuilt around him?

If you are Orlando you need to make it easier for Dwight to want to stay in Orlando. They need to get very imaginative in rebuilding their roster to again be a title contender. Dwight Howard laid out that the roster needs to be up to snuff if he is to stay in Orlando. Trading for pieces like Gilbert Arenas, like they did last year, isn't the type of moves that Orlando needs or that Howard is looking for. Orlando needs a big move that shows Dwight Howard that, just like the Lakers have done with Kobe over the years, they will surround him with talent that will enable the Magic to be title contenders every single year of the new contract he is about to sign. If not? Then I believe "Option 2" will quickly fail and Dwight will be packing his bags for greener pastures.

These are the two options that I see Orlando having in the developing Dwight Howard situation. Which they choose will decide the fate of their franchise for years to come. The problem is that this isn't a cut and dry situation that has a clear "right" and "wrong". The other problem for Orlando is that Cleveland, Toronto and Denver and their situations have taught us that if Dwight wants to leave, he is leaving and there is absolutely nothing that Orlando can do. It all boils down to trust for Orlando, if you trust Dwight in his statement that he wants to be in Orlando then you make moves to support him and wait (Option 2). If Orlando does not trust Dwight, they then wait out the new CBA and see what the new landscape offers and if it doesn't lock Dwight down they then wait for the trade deadline and deal him to the highest bidder. (Option 1)


  1. Ok Sports Tears, NBA season is over. Do you guys talk about anything else other than the NBA. Seriously!!! Maybe you should name your blog NBA tears or something.
    Also, the last post about college baseball was one of the most boring posts I have ever read.

  2. Hello Anonymous,
    we appreciate your feed back. Yes the NBA season is over, however the NBA OFF season is just starting to heat up. We from STOB love the NBA and will probably post more on the NBA than any other league. As for the college baseball post, we have to mix things up once and a while. STOB tries to cover all sports when something exciting comes up.
    Thanks for reading our blog.