Dwight Howard and the future ahead | Magic Basketball

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Apr 18

Dwight Howard and the future ahead

Photo by Fernando Medina

I don’t want to belabor the point, but it might take more than a billboard to keep Dwight Howard in Orlando next season.

This has been a backend conversation all season long, and while most Orlando fans have considered it foolishness that Dwight would ever up and leave Orlando, it’s starting to become evident that the Magic don’t have a lot to barter with.

Look at StayDwight.com, a website and foundation created by Ryan Totka to try to convince Dwight to stay in Orlando. It’s endearing, to be sure.

As the season started winding down and the playoffs loomed in the near distance, Magic fans and writers grew more and more skeptical of the Magic, and more and more in tune with this glaring problem of how to keep Dwight in Orlando.

Now we’re in the playoffs, and after Game 1, things look decidedly worse.

Dwight’s decision after this season remains a touchy one, and everyone, including Ryan Totka, knows it. In a section on his site titled, “Why Stay in Orlando,” Totka talks about the community and the economy, two things that, as seen before, don’t really matter to a competitive basketball player. If I’m Dwight Howard, I want a website that shows me with the use of advanced statistics that I have nothing to worry about in the next ten seasons. I want a breakdown of how a revamped bench and a healthy Gilbert Arenas will change things for the Magic. In other words, Dwight needs to know that if he stays in Orlando the Magic are going to win.

That’s not the message he’s getting right now.

I hate to start making LeBron James comparisons from 2009, but this is looking too similar. You’ve got a league juggernaut that has been with the same team since the beginning. He was the centerpiece of a budding organization, the reason for an economy boost in the city, the MVP on a perennial playoff contender, and the owner of zero NBA championship rings.

To make matters worse, and to further illustrate the LeBron comparison, in his contract year the variables around him seemed to be a tipping point, all culminating in what might be an early playoff exit.

It’s probably too early to start panicking and burning jerseys, but losing to Atlanta in the state-of-the-art Amway Center does not bode well for the Dwight faithful.

The perplexing thing is that it still seems wrong to think Dwight would go anywhere. I would like to get into his head right about now. We know that he points the finger at his teammates for not playing hard, but I wonder how he would chose to fix this problem given the opportunity. Who would he add to the mix? Does he picture himself on another team? If so, who? Is there anyone in particular that he would like to see out of the Orlando locker room?

Dwight is a center, not a coach, but if I am Stan Van Gundy or anyone else in the Magic organization with some clout, I’m asking these very specific questions to Dwight. I think that is where Cleveland went wrong with LeBron. They gave him the option of dreaming about a better situation. When it gets to that point, no grassroots campaign in the world, and no number of billboards are going to keep your guy in town. If the Magic get squeezed out by Atlanta in the first round, it seems like Dwight will have gotten to that point.

In a word, Orlando needs a spark, and they need it quick, and they need it to come from guys like Gilbert Arenas, Brandon Bass, and Hedo Turkoglu—not a billboard.

15 comments
Lyons1269
Lyons1269

My personal opinion is for the magic to trade gilbert arenas and jameer nelson to new orleans for chris paul. Chris paul said he wanted to leave and gilbert arenas contract when over will give new orleans plenty of cap room, also they get jameer nelson one time all star. I think thats better than losing chris paul for nothing, and with that trade dwight would surely stay

cuttino m.
cuttino m.

blow it up, people... forget a trade to the knicks, nets, or lakers. the team that makes the most sense for you is my houston rockets. lots of draft picks, jordan hill and/or hasheem thabeet (you may be able to talk yourself into either, using the rationale that big men take time to develop), chase buddinger, maybe even luis scola. you probably can't do a whole lot better than that.

welcome to h-town, superman..! clutch city, back in the house!!!

Raj
Raj

"Who would he add to the mix? Does he picture himself on another team? If so, who? Is there anyone in particular that he would like to see out of the Orlando locker room?...Dwight is a center, not a coach, but if I am Stan Van Gundy or anyone else in the Magic organization with some clout, I’m asking these very specific questions to Dwight. I think that is where Cleveland went wrong with LeBron. They gave him the option of dreaming about a better situation."

What evidence do we have of that? Cleveland gave LeBron the option of dreaming about a better situation because they didn't put young talent around him early in his career, and then failed to pair him up with anyone beyond an All-Star caliber talent. It's not as if they didn't do everything in terms of the 'extra' stuff (upgraded practice facilities, bowing to LeBron's wishes in terms of having his entourage on the payroll, adjusting travel schedules etc).

Dwight would leave because the team around him is similarly unlikely to improve as Cleveland's roster was at the end of 2010, due to onerous contracts and a lack of young talents. Outside of Clark and Anderson (largely comparison to say, Hickson in Cleveland) there isn't much room for optimism. While SVG is an unbelievable coach (and Dwight has never expressed real ambivalence about his coach as LeBron did with Mike Brown), the roster issues have to be addressed. I don't think that Orlando can simply ask of Dwight- where exactly are those greener pastures? Those green pastures will likely present themselves to him in 2012 in the form of 1-teaming up with other superstars, 2-bigger markets, 3-teams with more flexibility and young talent. Orlando has great ownership and coaching (iffy on the management), but I don't think Dwight will lack for options that will present at least as good a situation

brgulker
brgulker

Friendly Pistons fan here. I think you've summed up the main points of concern very well. With Arenas' contract on the books (not to mention Hedo's!), it's going to be very hard to find the financial resources to attract the 1-2 key pieces that ORL needs to be a legit contender. Turkoglu isn't it. J Rich is a nice player, but he's not it. And Gilbert certainly isn't.

Otis went all in, and I'm afraid it's not going to pay off.

TimJ
TimJ

I really hate to further the Dwight immaturity narrative, but one thing he can ask himself is why he expects his team to rally and respond under his leadership after he blatantly throws Zaza Pachulia to the ground for a technical foul. Good thing Jameer was there to beat some sense into him even though it was all for nothing with the late turnovers.

Cstanley028
Cstanley028

You must not follow alot of basketball and know anyone else in the league besides Orlano players or just that much of a Magic Homer to not know the difference between Deron Williams and Derrick Williams.

Dannyiglesias
Dannyiglesias

I think the Magic need to offer Dwight 10% ownership in the franchise and the position of Director of Basketball Operations. Maybe this will entice him to stay? In all seriousness though I think they need to ask Dwight, what's it going to take for you to stay? Then take his demands and not only match them but surpass them, make sure he knows that this franchise will do whatever it takes to win. I think that the Orlando Magic are a model franchise and one that isn't afraid to make moves or sign big contracts which should always be a good sign for a big name player. Plus the Magic have been an "elite" team now for the past 4 seasons, so leaving that would be in most cases unwise.

I guess the real question here is where would Dwight go? People are quick to throw out the Lakers, Knicks, and Nets. Personally I think the only team out of that bunch that would seem enticing would be the Lakers, but how could they possibly afford Dwight? I mean they have the highest payroll in the NBA and are close to $40 Million over the cap. They would have to GUT roster to get him and Kobe has maybe 2 productive years left, which would make going to that team far less desirable. The Nets have no upside, outside of Derrick Williams they are terrible. The Knicks could make a push for Dwight, but outside of Melo and Amare that team has NO depth, which isn't going to get them any championships. I think that the Magic have the best chance to make a powerhouse move in the offseason, they have depth at multiple positions and I think its time we give up some of that depth for another star to complement Dwight.

Regardless based on the current scenario unfolding with the new CBA and such my money is on the fact that Dwight stays in Orlando.

McLean Cromer
McLean Cromer

Wow! Eddy! This guy is good! I was worried about reading this but once I did...it was like he was reading my mind. I do worry about D12 leaving but hopefully he stays. Anyways, good article!

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

Sorry Cat, but teams would be willing to give up a lot more than that for by far the best big man and arguably the 2nd best overall player in the NBA.

futureman
futureman

Dwight might not want to play in N.Y. But this is the only team in the east who if they get him can easily beat the Heat, Chigago, Celtics, if they move him to center and have Amare go back to forward. He would get revenge on allthose teams who beat the hell out of him and have REAL scoring treats on the outside who would make it a field day for him... Those who say the knicks will have no team..Look at this.. Anthony, Howard, Billups, and Amare..they have no trade bait but if howard becomes a free agent.that is where he should go.

Jdbish
Jdbish

You must have forgotten that Orlano doesn't have an NBA team. It's okay, just follow alot of basketball and you'll learn.

Dannyiglesias
Dannyiglesias

Wow....if you want to pick at every single typed word in my response then go ahead, in the mean time I will continue be an "Orlano" homer as you say

Tim Sims
Tim Sims

I can think of a few good fits for Dwight, but what about Chicago? Not only is it a tremendous chance to win, but Chicago has cap space and a solid young center, as well as some other pieces, that they could send back. I haven't heard ANY discussion of this possibility, and who knows how Dwight would feel playing alongside the guy who's standing between him and the MVP this season, but if he wants to win without going to a smaller market like Denver or Indianapolis, it's a ready made fit.

Yoni
Yoni

I hope you're right, but we're the second highest paid team now, and we don't pay Dwight a max contract yet. Turk and Arenas are both disturbingly overpaid and have contracts that expire after Dwight's. We signed a mid-level contract for Chris Duhon's low-level performance when we had a perfectly capable Jason Williams for relative pennies. And if you look at bench performance since the trade, we already have traded away our depth, but not for another star. Would we even be able to resign Jason Richardson if we resigned Dwight?

We need to develop a winning-strategy for when Dwight is single-covered. His efficiency would be enough to get us the win if the other players could defend and not pass to the wrong team, but I'm not sure how much of that is coachable as opposed to inherent with the given talent.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

I don't know if Chicago is on Dwight's radar, but from a purely logical, basketball sense it would make the most sense for all sides. I still don't like thinking of any of this though... damn LeBron free agent craze causing all of this paranoia.