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I believe the Magic should keep Dwight Howard throughout the season and either make the requisite moves to make him a permanent member of the Magic, or let him leave this summer. Kevin Arnovitz can explain to you why this is a good choice. However, if they trade him, I hope it is to the Los Angeles Lakers. This is why:
I do not want to see Dwight play the Magic a few times every year, especially in Orlando. Most importantly, I do not want to ever face him in the Eastern Conference playoffs. First of all, he is the most dominant center in the NBA, and that is always a tough obstacle to overcome. Secondly, it would be awkward to have him become Public Enemy No. 1 in Orlando. I don’t think anyone is interested in the Brett Favre Packers-Vikings saga turning into the Dwight Howard Magic-(insert Eastern Conference team here) saga.
It’s the Lakers
There used to be (still is?) a show on MTV called “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” The main idea was to find top-notch girls who went out with inferior men. I think the kids call this “out-kicking your coverage.” Anyways, I can stomach Dwight wanting to leave the Magic for the Lakers. The Lakers have more history, media coverage, fans, etc. Whatever. I get it. Conversely, I would not be able to justify him wanting to leave the Magic to play for the Nets. The Nets may be moving to Brooklyn and are under the direction of a rock star owner, but they are not a better franchise than Orlando. Magic fans would constantly be saying “did he really leave us for the Nets?”
The Magic are built around Dwight Howard, and Brook Lopez ain’t Dwight Howard. Andrew Bynum isn’t either, but he is a heck of a lot closer. In my opinion, Bynum is the most comparable player in the NBA to Dwight. If Bynum lands on Orlando’s roster, the Magic could basically maintain the same philosophy on the court. With the package from Los Angeles (or through the draft), they could improve at other positions on the floor to make up for the loss of Dwight. Again, I’m not saying they would be a better team if they traded for Bynum, but they may be able to make a few moves to compensate at other positions while getting the best possible replacement at center.