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From now until March 15 (the date of the NBA trade deadline), all eyes will be on the Orlando Magic as the Dwight Howard saga shifts into its final lap. One of three things will happen: 1.) Dwight will be traded, 2.) the Magic will hold onto Dwight and keep their roster intact, or 3.) the Magic will hold onto Dwight and try to add a piece or two at the deadline.
If Orlando makes the decision to keep Dwight around for a little while longer, then more possibilities will open up. Those scenarios will be discussed if it gets to that point.
Right now, Magic Basketball will discuss what might happen with Dwight in the short- and long-term.
Fact or Fiction: Dwight will be traded by the deadline.
Nate Drexler: Fiction. My thought is that Dwight felt a little overwhelmed by the All-Star festivities and it got him thinking about how to stay here, something akin to Antawn Jamison being the last hope for the Cavs in 2010. Will it work? Who knows, but it probably means Orlando gets to finish the season with Dwight.
Danny Nowell: Fiction. Seems like the Magic really believe that their best bet is to see if Dwight will walk away from their money. The max that Orlando could offer him, considering Florida’s tax structure, would be an enormous amount to walk away from. That may end up mattering just as much as whether Dwight thinks the team will be contending soon.
Matt Scribbins: Fiction. What’s that old saying in the NFL? If you have two quarterbacks, you have zero? Well, the Magic have 1,000 possible trade scenarios and will end up with zero actual trades. Orlando isn’t going to take a bite off the pedestrian platter offered by the other 29 teams, but will instead let Dwight decide his own destination in the summer.
Fact or Fiction: Dwight will be in a Magic uniform next season.
Drexler: Fiction. Even if some pieces come to Orlando soon, it’s going to be on a rental basis. This seems like it’s Dwight’s last stand in Orlando, for better or worse. They will make a run with him in the paint, but there’s nothing that tells me he is going to re-sign a big contract in Orlando.
Nowell: Fiction. I’m as unsure as I’ve ever been with what will happen, but I think it’s slightly more likely that Dwight leaves. With Brooklyn or Dallas looming, Dwight may well be able to choose a team with an elite running mate, high-profile market, and serious cap space.
Scribbins: Fiction. Dwight can pass up the extra money Orlando can offer in a basketball contract and still end up with a fatter wallet. He is enamored with the endorsement deal possibilities in Brooklyn, and his earning potential is nearly unlimited in the Concrete Jungle. If New Jersey doesn’t work out, he will become Mark Cuban’s newest business partner.
Fact or Fiction: Dwight will have his jersey retired by Orlando someday.
Drexler: Fact. How could you not? You would have to be incredibly thick-headed not to put his jersey in the rafters. Whether it is for how dominant he was on the court, how gravitating he was for Orlando, or how much of a boost he gave the city economically, Dwight is a staple in Orlando and his jersey should fly with pride.
Nowell: Fact. This is sort of a toss-up for me, but I think that if Dwight handles this all professionally the franchise will have to realize that the team has returned to legitimacy on his Adonis shoulders. Wherever he plays next year, he’s given the franchise years to be proud about, and that matters.
Scribbins: Fiction. He’s gone after this season, so we only have one path to a retired jersey — winning the NBA title this season in Orlando. Hollinger’s odds has Orlando winning the title 1.5 percent of the time in simulated seasons. So you’re telling me there’s a chance!