Monday’s Magic Word | Magic Basketball

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Jan 09

Monday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Dwight Howard says he doesn’t think he’ll be traded before the all-star game in Orlando on Feb. 26, adding the Magic might not even deal him before the March 15 deadline. Howard needs new sources. Owner Rich DeVos and family have given the order: Unless Howard changes his mind, the Magic will deal Dwight and not let him walk like Shaq did 15 years ago. The Magic must receive compensation, and the best compensation now — as always — is Lakers center Andrew Bynum. And if GM Otis Smith gets an offer he can’t refuse before the All-Star Game comes to town, I expect him to act on it. While it would be uncomfortable for Magic fans to see Howard in another uniform, the Magic have to look out for their future, just as Dwight is looking out for his. Besides, there won’t be that many Magic fans attending the all-star game, anyway, not with those prices and the amount of tickets available. Having Howard in another uniform will be just as much a black eye for the league during its showcase event. (David Stern and owners bickered for months, and did nothing to help the smaller markets). As I’ve said several times, Bynum is the best compensation any team would have received in exchange for a player who is forcing his way out of town.”
  • Amin Vafa of Hardwood Paroxysm with a touch of logic after the Orlando Magic were able to beat the Sacramento Kings on Sunday largely without Dwight Howard in the game: “The Magic still won, but Howard’s fouls kept him out of most of the game. Worst part about his performance? Laker fanboys rationalizing never wanting to trade Bynum for Howard (+ an extension) if they had the chance. Yes, Bynum has been a monster lately. But come on, folks. Come on.”
  • Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports: “Yet while the Magic still hope to convince Howard to stay with them, sources close to the All-Star center said he’d have to be convinced the team is a legitimate championship contender. The six teams the Magic have beaten this season have a combined record of 12-37. Even after waiving of guard Gilbert Arenas’ big contract with the amnesty clause, the Magic don’t have the financial flexibility to make a big run at a major free agent this summer. The Magic also don’t have many tradeable assets that could help them improve their roster. If Howard were to try to depart via free agency, the Magic would have the advantage of being able to offer him a fifth year on a new contract worth about $28 million. Howard could even decide to postpone his free agency by a year and utilize the final-season option of his contract (worth $19.3 million) and then leave the Magic in the summer of 2013 if they haven’t already traded him, sources close to him said.”
  • General manager Otis Smith lets it all out in an interview with Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel in Sacramento, and Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie finds some of his answers odd.
  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “Dwight Howard was probably due for the sort of foul-trouble nightmare he endured in Sunday’s stroll past Sacramento. In the season’s first five games, by contrast, Dwight racked up only 13 fouls. Better yet: DH12′s been hit with only one T in nine games.”
  • A quick recap on the Magic’s win against the Kings.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk with his latest take on the Howard saga: “Orlando is taking its time waiting for a better offer to come up. The Nets looked like the front runner but Magic GM Otis Smith never seemed warm to the idea of Brook Lopez as a centerpiece, and that was before Lopez broke a bone in his foot. The Lakers are not giving up both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. The Mavericks don’t have the pieces for a trade. So, Orlando waits, seeing if a good rental offer comes through or if the pressure on those teams will improve the offers.”
  • Orlando is not an elite team.
  • Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated: “Howard still wants out of Orlando, a point that he reiterated Sunday night when he said “nothing has changed” in terms of his desire to get out and his hope to land with Dallas, New Jersey or the Lakers. But with the Magic taking the slow approach on the trade front and Howard having settled the mood around this team that was justifiably jarred by his stance, this is the in-between existence that they must continue to deal with for now.”
  • Howard laid an egg against the Kings.
  • For the Magic and Howard, it’s a wait and see approach for now.
  • If Orlando does indeed trade Howard before the trade deadline, it appears that Andrew Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers is an asset being targeted.
  • Should the Magic hold onto Howard no matter what even if he walks?
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward wonders aloud if Orlando’s offense (sixth in Offensive Rating this season) is for real: “We’re going to find out soon, because Orlando’s schedule is about to get tougher, starting with a road game Wednesday against the Trail Blazers, a top-five defensive team so far this season. Orlando has 12 games in the final 20 days of January, including two against both Boston and Indiana; one each against the Lakers, Spurs, Knicks and Sixers; six back-to-backs; and its only back-to-back-to-back of the season. The trade deadline isn’t for another two months, but three weeks from now, we will have a much better idea of the Magic’s place in the league’s hierarchy. Those three weeks will test Orlando’s offense, which has shifted even more to the extreme edges of Van Gundy’s system — a system he has chosen in part to make up for Orlando’s well-known lack of a stud perimeter player. The Magic are a test case of an interesting question: Is there actually such a thing as too few isolation plays in the NBA? Everyone (and especially their fathers) hates isolation plays, symbols of the NBA’s alleged one-on-one selfishness and obsession with scoring. But they are a necessity when you have 24 seconds to score against great defenses bent on destroying your preferred options.”
  • Another recap on Orlando’s victory against Sacramento.
  • David Thorpe of ESPN Insider with a must-read piece on a blueprint to stop Howard.

Eddy Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of Magic Basketball. Follow him on Twitter.

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