All-Star center Dwight Howard, is learning a lesson that Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones preached years ago; “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” even if you are the most talented man in the middle in the entire Association. Howard starting the upcoming campaign with the Brooklyn Nets, evaporated on Wednesday, as the Nets signed restricted Free Agent Brook Lopez to a contract on Wednesday. That means the earliest that Brooklyn and Howard’s current club the Orlando Magic, could not conduct a trade until January 15.
As Howard has inferred that the Nets are the only franchise he would sign a contract extension with, the new General Manager of the Magic Rob Hennigan, is severely limited in his options. The Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly shown interest in making a deal, but neither offer are going to blow-away Hennigan and Orlando. Houston is offering a package of players, with Kevin Martin the only real quality player in the bunch while the Lakers are willing to send the Magic center Andrew Bynum, who is also able to become an unrestricted Free Agent at the end of the campaign.
Although it makes sense that Orlando Team Owner Rich DeVos, CEO Alex Martins and Hennigan, would like to resolve the situation before the regular season starts, to avoid distractions heading into the campaign, at this point it seems to be in the best interest of the squad to hold onto Howard. The way I perceive the situation, one of three scenarios will probably take place if they start the season with the All-Star on the roster.
1) Things do not look promising for Orlando as they head into training camp this fall and unless there is a sudden infusion of talent brought onto the team, the Magic will most likely lose more games than they win even with Howard on the roster. That could be enough to make the big man increase his choice of destinations for his new home, giving the team more latitude to make a deal that will help themselves.
2) The Magic wait until January 15, then complete a trade with Brooklyn, getting the guy they have wanted, Nets center Brook Lopez in the transaction. This is a gamble, as if Brooklyn is riding high at that point, they most likely would want to keep their roster as it is right now. However,many NBA observers expected the New York Knicks to dominate the Atlantic Division this past season when they signed Tyson Chandler, but the prediction did not come true.
3) The Magic play better than expected and Howard once again has a change of heart and decides to sign with Orlando. Don’t rule this out, as you remember Howard was sure he would opt-out of this year on his current contract, but he got caught up in the spirit of playing with his teammates and elected to stay with the team for the upcoming campaign. It just could happen once again.
The longer Orlando hold onto their All-Star center, the more options they will have. The team should bite the bullet, ignore the distractions and open the 2012-2013 campaign with Dwight Howard as their starting center.