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The new CBA allows veteran players to extend their deal to a maximum of four years, meaning at no time can your extension push you past four guaranteed years. Dwight has two more years on his contract with the Magic, with an option coming this summer. As of today, Dwight can only sign a two-year extension with the Magic, as this season and next would count towards the four allowed. Next summer Dwight (and Chris Paul and Deron Williams) could opt out and sign a new contract for five years. BY waiting until July, Dwight can sign for two more years than he can sign for now.
So there will be no extension for Dwight.
Hence the reason that Deron Williams declared that he was opting out of his contract with the New Jersey Nets. From a financial point of view, it makes sense.
The same logical applies to Dwight Howard.
That said, the league’s best center by far still very much wants to be in Orlando, and he is willing to give them every opportunity to keep him. What that means to Dwight is that he wants the Magic to be contenders, and to that end Orlando has a short list of players they would like to add in an effort to return to contention. Atlanta’s Josh Smith, Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala and Golden State’s Monta Ellis are on that list.
None of this is groundbreaking news. Sure, Howard may want to stay with the Orlando Magic but will he? That’s yet to be determined.
And as for Josh Smith, Andre Iguodala, and Monta Ellis, each of them would help the Magic, yes.
Smith is an All-Star caliber talent and although he’s mind-numbingly frustrating to watch on offense, combining his defensive abilities with Howard would make Orlando — already a top five unit on defense — even better on that end of the floor. Plus, it would push Brandon Bass back into a more suitable role coming off the bench. It’d be worth mentioning that the Magic would once again run into playing time issues at power forward (when Rashard Lewis was around) with Smith, Bass, and Ryan Anderson. However, to acquire a player of Smith’s caliber, Orlando would likely have to give up Anderson in a trade, rendering the point moot.
Iguodala is probably the most intriguing of the three players mentioned because even though he remains a fringe All-Star caliber player, at best, he’s an elite perimeter defender (only Tony Allen is better). Give head coach Stan Van Gundy a defensive pairing of Iguodala and Howard, and there’s a good chance that the Magic would have the best defense in the NBA. Iguodala is an inconsistent jumpshooter, doesn’t attack the rim as much as he should (which means he doesn’t get to the free-throw line as much as he should), but he’s an underrated playmaker and Orlando could always use another one of those.
If Iguodala is the most intriguing player, Ellis is the least intriguing player. Oh sure, Ellis can score a lot but he was aided by playing in a fast-paced offense (the Golden State Warriors were fifth in pace last season) and leading the league in minutes played. As John Hollinger pointed out in his player profiles at ESPN Insider, when looking at Ellis’ scoring on a per-minute, pace-adjusted basis, he ranked 17th in scoring rather than eighth if you were looking at points per game. And that’s not even mentioning that Ellis isn’t a very efficient offensive player either. Or that Ellis rarely tries on defense. Or that, to compound the problem defensively, Ellis is an undersized two-guard that can be exploited by the Joe Johnsons of the world. Ellis may seem like an intriguing player but Van Gundy would have his hands full trying to make him fit in well with the Magic. More so than Smith and Iguodala.
The question that should really be asked is whether or not Smith, Iguodala, or Ellis would be enough to help Orlando overtake the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, and Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference? Unless the Magic got more than one of them, the answer is likely no. Which would make it that much harder for Orlando to convince Howard to stay.
This isn’t meant to paint a bleak picture for Magic fans.
This is meant to grasp the reality of the situation.