Orlando Magic ready to move on from Dwight Howard

Jacque VaughnWe’ve seen it before in multiple sports and even in Orlando once before. A centerpiece leaves and the team falls to the bottom of the pack. The Orlando Magic refuse to believe this will be the case.

According to theOrlando Sentinel “When you throw the term ‘rebuilding’ [around], it kind of implies as if you’re almost willing to lose,” shooting guard Arron Afflalo said. “And I don’t think there’s a guy in the locker room, management or on the coaching staff that is willing to lose.”

To their credit they believe the Magic won’t be anyone’s pushover, but looking at the franchise there is not much to bring back from the Dwight Howard-less playoff run of 2012.

The Magic held on to Dwight Howard knowing they would eventually be forced to trade him, but it’s hard to say what the Magic received from trading away a top-5 NBA player. Sure, the additions of Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, and Nikola Vucevic help but it’s the future first-round pick from each the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers that will determine how well the trade went for the Magic.

Ultimately, despite the Magic’s strong and positive beliefs, they must replace what Dwight Howard was. Orlando was ranked among the league’s top defenses each year with Howard as he won Defensive Player of the Year through 2008-2011.  Howard was the Magic’s centerpiece on defense as they funneled the opposing offense to him under the basket. Finding a replacement, isn’t an option.

The new faces surrounding the Magic continue as they also turn to a new head coach in Jacque Vaughn.  “Fresh energy” is how Vaughn described the atmosphere at media day.

With entirely new management, new coaching staff and 12 new players, the Magic will have their work cut out for them, but Vaughn said “We’re going to try to win every game, we’re going to try to win every possession. I think as soon as you do anything but try to do that, you run the risk of creating an atmosphere that you don’t want to create.”

The Magic have their work cut out for themselves.

Orlando Magic: Single again

Lots of people are on dating websites these days.  In fact, it’s safe to say the internet has revolutionized the way lovers meet.  It’s quite brilliant, actually.  The airwaves have taken the whole, too-timid-to-make-the-first-move quandary right out of the shy guy’s equation.  Thank you, Al Gore.

In light of Dwight Howard’s repeated stance that he will NOT remain a member of the Orlando Magic, much like his Shaquillish predecessor, I thought it might be time for Orlando to create a dating profile of its own, since the franchise apparently can’t keep a good man on lock.  After all, one can only take so much rejection before resorting to more drastic measures.

Let us not sit in judgment.  Haven’t you ever encouraged a friend unable to find that special someone to dabble with internet dating?   Well, now it’s Orlando’s turn.  A persuasive, dating profile might be all the Magic need to change its image and finally find its one true love.  Hey, I’m just here to help. Read more here….

Dwight Howard, make up your mind

He’s going. He’s staying. He’s going. He’s staying. He wants the coach fired. He doesn’t want the coach fired. He’s going.

This is what we have had to put up with from (the soon-to-be-ex?) Orlando magic center Dwight Howard all season long. And we’re going to have to put up with it all summer, too.

It should come as no surprise that it is being reported that Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando. Again. Keep in mind that the Magic have fired head coach Stan Van Gundy (per Dwight’s request) and GM Otis Smith (probably per Dwight’s request, too). They have done all this just to appease their super diva center. And he’s still not happy.

If the Magic have any sense at all they will trade him as soon as possible. The longer Dwight stays, the more damage he can do to the organization. I have never seen a single player wreak havoc on an organization like this before. And that includes Terrell Owens and Latrell Sprewell. Read more here…

Wherefore art thou, Coach? Parting thoughts on Stan Van Gundy

There I saw it, the sound of inevitability.  Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith had both been dismissed from their positions with the Orlando Magic.  Operation Clean Sweep.

Their dismissals, or at least Van Gundy’s, was only a matter of time, his desk probably cleaned out long before the news arrived.  Otis Smith had bought the groceries, but the cupboard had gone bare.

Ultimately, Stan became a man fighting a lost cause.  Like it or not, the NBA is a superstar’s league.  Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.  Regardless of whether Dwight Howard is the short-term solution, long-term solution, both or neither for the Orlando Magic, he is still their center, their best scorer, their best defender, their best rebounder, their best player and certainly their most marketable. Read more here…

Dwight Howard is not coming to the Lakers

Dwight Howard and Andrew BynumSorry Los Angeles Lakers fans, Superman is not coming to save the day.

No sooner did the Oklahoma City Thunder bounce the Los Angeles Lakers out of the second round of the NBA playoffs for the second year in a row then the trade rumors started.

It seemed that everyone, and I mean everyone, was not pleased with Andrew Bynum’s lackluster performance in Game 5. And if his four rebound effort didn’t make them angry his “I’ll play anywhere,” locker room comment after the game sure did.

Of course, everyone wants to trade Bynum for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.  Read more…

5 NBA Playoff teams that are in trouble

Kobe BryantThe NBA is a different type of sport. The positioning is key when it comes to playoffs, draft and even salary cap. The main thing is that in the NBA if you don’t win the championship that year, your best bet is to be the worst team in the league.

Why would I say that?It’s because of the NBA draft. Frankly over the past few years it has been top heavy. The first ten picks have usually been players that could make an immediate impact for an NBA team. What if you were trapped? Trapped meaning that you are consistently making the playoffs every year, but you can’t get over the hump. You are stuck in an endless cycle of making the playoffs but not being able to draft talent or sign a significant free agent because of players taking up cap space. What do you do?

Here’s a list of teams that are stuck in that endless cycle…Read More

 

 

 

 

Magic’s Howard out for season: Is it just what he wanted?

Dwight Howard

Dwight HowardOn Thursday the news broke that Orlando Magic Center, Dwight Howard, requires season ending back surgery that will keep him out the of the remainder of the NBA season to include the playoffs and the 2012 Olympics  this Summer in London.  Was this the perfect scenario for Howard to fall into?

All season long up until the NBA trade deadline the talk of the Association was where would Dwight Howard be traded to?  Howard had made his desire to be shipped out of small market Orlando public so most NBA fans knew it was just a matter of time before he was dealt.  The Magic front office had their backs up against the wall as if they didn’t trade Howard he would become an unrestricted free agent following the season and the team would lose him while getting nothing in return.  As the trade deadline approached more and more speculation arose as to Howard’s destination but for one reason or another, the rumors never materialized in deals.  Then, like a desperate magician with one trick left in his hat, the Magic offered Howard an unprecedented amount of control over the team.  If he committed to the Magic beyond this season Howard would have the ability to fire the coach.

According to an April 6th article by the NewYorkPost.com  as well as multiple other sources, Howard indeed asked management to fire current Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy at the end of the season.  That says that Howard had no faith in his team’s chances this NBA postseason.  If the so-called star of your team doesn’t believe in what the team is doing then why the hell even play.  Because of his disbelief in the direction under Van Gundy the Magic were nothing but superficial contenders going into the playoffs with Howard despite having a 2-2 record this season against the Miami Heat, one of the NBA’s Eastern Conference elite teams.

Now, with Howard out for the playoffs the Magic don’t stand a chance.  The trickle effect will be that his  absence will likely result in an early playoff exit for Orlando that will in-turn justify the firing of Van Gundy in a distorted sort a way.  Additionally, the Orlando Magic organization will truly get to see Dwight’s value as the team will likely appear discombobulated in his absence.  This will drive his value up not only in Orlando but across the NBA as he potentially faces another opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2013 season if the Magic can’t sign him long-term.

Make no mistake about it.  In no way am I insinuating that Howard is glad to be sitting out for the rest of the season or was somehow hoping for this sort of scenario.  Nevertheless, he could greatly benefit from his injury.

With that said, Dwight Howard should be careful for what he asks for.  The number of NBA coaches currently in the league who are better that Stan Van Gundy can be counted on three fingers.  One coaches the Boston Celtics, another the Chicago Bulls, and the third the San Antonio Spurs.  Not to bust Howard’s bubble but Orlando isn’t getting any of those guys.

As of now it may appear that Howard is having his cake and eating it too, but in the end he may very well be eating a slice of humble pie.

Follow Aaron on Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth

Could the Miami Heat trade Bosh for Dwight Howard?

Miami Heat Big 3

Miami Heat Big 3The Miami Heat are built to win now and as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade grow older their time to win those seven championships begins to fade away.

Chris Bosh may be the weakest link of the trio of stars for the Heat. In fact, he is so much of a weak link, that he will be traded for sure by the middle of next season.

A trade that makes sense for the Heat would be trading for Dwight Howard and creating possibly the best team of all-time.

As great as LeBron is and has been, even the King will wear down over time.  Dwayne Wade has already shown the propensity for wearing down, with occasional stints on the DL or little injuries that cause burnout.

These two guys are the greatest two athletes on any NBA team, or were they?  OKC has something to say about it.

Durant and Westbrook look like a shoe-in to play the Heat in the Finals.  They might be the best pair of athletes and basketball players to grace the NBA this year over Wade and James.

And, their surrounding crew is more impressive than the Heat’s.  They have all the details needed for a championship run.

They have perennial 6th Man of the Year candidate, James Harden, an enforcer in Kendrick Perkins, the leading shot-blocker in Serge Ibaka and a bench with all sorts of role players, including a tall, wiry white-guy willing to do his best Kurt Rambis imitation, Nick Collison.

The Thunder are dialed in and wired for a horse race to the finish line.  They’ve covered all the basics and don’t appear to have any obvious weaknesses.  They even lead the league in free-throw percentage.

The threat of the Capital city to thwart Miami in the Finals is a likely possibility, unless Bosh can learn to play like he used to when he had dreads.

He doesn’t have time enough to get the free-flowing braids back for the playoffs, though, so Miami’s chances don’t look good.

Bosh has not worked out in the Heat’s favor like they thought he would.  Maybe he has nice numbers; he’s averaging 18 and 8.  But, for 16 million a year, it seems like something’s missing besides the hair.

Could Dwight Howard end up in a Miami Heat uniform next year, with Bosh and others (maybe Chalmers) going to Orlando?

As next season pushes through towards the trade deadline, this scenario could become more likely.

Howard and James need their hardware and Wade understands that they are the best out there at their positions, so, of course, he’s all-in with them.

All of this pressure is simmering up just because some GM in tornado alley figured out how to assemble a great professional team around all-Pro Kevin Durant.

Some players would refuse to play in low-profile cities, like LeBron in Cleveland, Chris Paul in New Orleans or how Howard treats Orlando.

Durant is putting OKC on the map like David Robinson did with San Antonio and Karl Malone did with Utah.

Be sure to check out other great articles from Howard Alperin at AmericanizeSoccer.com.

Who will be the next Dwight Howard?

lopez-bynum-2

It’s no secret that this is deja vu for the Orlando Magic. This franchise went through the same exact thing back in 1996 with a guy named Shaquille O’Neal. Maybe you’ve heard of him? All jokes aside no one is laughing in Orlando right now, they are trying to keep history from repeating itself but they must act now.

Who is the right man to take over in Orlando? There has been two names that have been really floating around out there. Brook Lopez and Andrew Bynum, both 7 footers are young and bring a good game to the court. Let’s look at what each would bring to the table.

Brook Lopez 23 years old, has been in the league for four seasons now, averaging 17 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. The stats that jump out the most is that he shoots 50% from the field and he shoots 80% from the free throw line. This guy looks strong all around and he hasn’t hit his peak yet.

Andrew Bynum 24 years old, has been in the league for seven seasons, averaging 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Bynum has had short seasons due to injury. Many feel that he has yet to show what he truly can do. He has definitely shown flashes of dominance at times but can he stay healthy? He also has a high field goal shooting 56% from the field but only 68% from the free throw line.

Orlando has to trade Dwight to the Nets for Lopez and some picks if they want one of the best big men in the game. Dwight will be with Deron Williams and it will be a win all around for everyone.

Follow The Sportologist on Twitter @TheSportologist

Magic owner doesn’t want to trade Dwight Howard

Dwight HowardDwight Howard is the Orlando Magic and owner of the team, Richard DeVos, is doing everything to show the 26-year-old center how much he wants to keep him.

Just before the Magic’s game against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, via ESPN DeVos stated,  “I don’t want to trade him.”

Who blames him? Why would anyone want to trade away the main staple in your franchise?

He continued adding that Howard is free to do what ever he wants, “You never give up. We’ve got a great talent, a great young man. He’s got to look at his options, what’s best for him and I have to tell him what I think is best for him. I’m selfish. The respect for people is fundamental. They have their interest where they want to go and they may or may not coincide with mine. Life goes on.”

Howard wants to lead a team to a championship but is money really the focus of him asking for a trade?

The Magic are now 16-10 which includes a hot start and a period of being blown out nightly.

Howard has begged the Magic to surround him with talent.

The same way Kobe begged the Lakers. Kobe’s organization sent in Pau Gasol.

Why does Dwight Howard want to leave Orlando?

Dwight Howard
Dwight HowardWhen you ask a question like this, you have to take a few things into account, past, present, perceived future, peers, money, legacy, teammates, etc.  Without getting too involved, let’s look at what is important to Dwight.  One thing that is certain from his website, to his television commercials, to his interviews is that Dwight Howard likes to have fun!  Who doesn’t?  So is he having fun now? No.
The only times it seems Dwight is animated at all is when he dunks on someone, or gets a technical foul for arguing a no-call.  As he gets frustrated with the officials, he must be frustrated with the same team, again.  The only thing more exciting as a player than making a play, is watching your teammates make a great play!  Good news for Dwight, after years of watching the magic acquire Vince Carter and Gilbert Arenas, it is safe to say the Magic finally have the young talented playmakers at their disposal.
Unfortunately, for reasons unknown to Magic fans, fans of basketball in general, and fans of common sense, these players see very little court time.  With Big Baby Davis suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, and Jameer Nelson out to injury, Earl Clark and Von Wafer took turns performing highlight dunks, all sparked with Ish Smith’s intensity and energy.  Dwight stood and cheered from the bench for Clark and “Stiff Neck Johnson” Wafer.
Since that night, the three young playmakers have struggled to get on the court.  In a shortened season where you are trying your best to keep your franchise superstar, wouldn’t it make sense to give some other guys a shot? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.  Magic fans will remember the last time the starting lineup was altered during the year with a Nelson injury, Rafer Alston led the magic all the way to the finals, where he was promptly benched.
Any fan from any team can tell you that one player should play more than another.  Many NBA coaches would have different starters, different bench players, different rotations, and probably a better record, with the same roster! With Dwight asking for players like Montae Ellis and Stephen Jackson, maybe he thinks the same.
David Gallagher is an NBA team writer for TSB.

Howard for Stoudemire: Financially possible?

Dwight HowardThe Orlando Magic inquired about a potential move that would send Dwight Howard to the New York Knicks for Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, but would this deal even work out financially for both teams? The Knicks alone have $31 million wrapped up in those two players. They would have to also take back a sizable contract from Orlando.

The 2011 figures in this rumored trade look like this:

Amar’e Stoudemire $18,217,705 million

Tyson Chandler $13,107,838 million

Total: $31,325,543 million

Dwight Howard: $17,885,400

The new NBA collective bargaining agreement contains new rules pertaining to trades. Taxpaying teams can take back 125% of their outgoing salary plus $100,000. Non-taxpaying teams (based on team salary after the trade) have two options as to how much salary they can take back. Non-taxpaying teams can acquire up to the lesser of 150% plus $100,000 OR 100% plus $5 million. Teams can trade up to $3 million in a trade but the Knicks used up that $3 million in the Tyson Chandler sign and trade.

The Knicks sit at $62,487,871 in salary. The Orlando Magic currently sit at $69,066,010 million dollars in salary. This figure puts them slightly under the $70 million luxury tax threshold. Here are the 2011 salaries for their players, significant to this trade, minus Dwight Howard:

Hedo Turkoglu: $10,600,000 million

Jameer Nelson $7,305,555 million

JJ Redick $6,500,000 million

Glen Davis $6,300,000 million

Jason Richardson $5,395,000 million

Chris Duhon $3,460,000 million

Quentin Richardson $2,446,200 million

Ryan Anderson $2,244,600 million

Earl Clark $1,200,000 million

Excluded: Von Wafer, Daniel Orton, DeAndre Liggins, Justin Harper, Larry Hughes

Because of the cap standings of both teams, both teams being under the luxury tax threshold, the Knicks and Magic have more flexibility with a potential trade. However, the Knicks swapping $31.3 million in salary with Orlando and taking in Howards $17.8 million in salary is not possible. Under the new CBA trade guidelines, the Knicks would have to take back another salary because swapping STAT and Chandler for Howard would not work. Here are some trade scenarios as pertained to each CBA rule:

  1. The Knicks take back 100% of Orlando’s salaries plus 5 million. The Magic would have to give up $26,325,543 million or more in salary to make this scenario work. That means in addition to Howard’s salary, the Magic would have to shed an additional $8,440,143 million in salary. Any trade of Howard likely will include the long term contract (3 years remaining, $34.2 mil) of Hedo Turkoglu. Turkoglu makes 10.6 million this season thus bring Orlando’s salary price up to $28,485,400 mil. This trade will work under the new CBA rules. However, the Magic would be taking back an additional $2,840,143 million in salary. Under the 100% + 5 mil rule, the Magic would have to remain under the tax. Therfore they would have to give up another contract resulting in an excess of $1,906,153 million. In my opinion, ex-Knicks Chris Duhon (3 years remaining, approx $11 mil in salary) and Quentin Richardson (2 years remaining with an additional players option for 2013, approx 5 mil in salary, $7.8 mil with option) would be the most likely candidates to be included in a trade. I believe that the basic framework of a Turkoglu/Howard/additional contract for Stoudemire/Chandler trade is the most likely trade if one is to come to fruition.
  2. The Knicks take back 150% of Orlando’s salaries plus $100k. The Magic would have to give up a little bit more than $20.8 million in salary to make this trade work. Given the long term contracts the Magic have on their roster along with the minor rebuilding they will need to do losing their star player, I believe the Magic would want to give up more than $20.8 million in a trade. In order to use this 100% + 100k clause, the Magic would have to give up between $20.8 million and $26.325 million (from the scenario above). However, if they were to give up Turkoglu, which they should and which they want to, they would eliminate this clause from being used in the CBA. This scenario would be plausible if the Knicks were going to take back any other Orlando player not named Hedo Turkoglu in a trade. This scenario is unlikely because I truly believe the Magic are going to part ways with Turkoglu as well as Howard in any trade they make.
  3. The Knicks and Magic never have serious discussions. Per the new CBA, Tyson Chandler, a newly acquired free agent, cannot be dealt until March 1st. If Orlando is swept off its feet by the Lakers, Clippers, Mavs, Nets or a mystery team, which I do not believe it will be, then they could move Howard before the Knicks can even discuss this trade seriously.
  4. The Knicks and Magic find a 3rd team. Conceivably, just like the trades that brought Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler to New York, the Knicks could find a 3rd team to deal with. Any trade scenario involving 3 teams would have to include more parts than just Turkoglu/Howard and Stoudemire/Chandler. At this point it is impossible to predict what 3rd team could be involved because no serious talks have gone on between Orlando and New York.

In conclusion, the main idea of this long and potentially head-ache enabling blog post is that financially the Knicks could pull off a trade for Dwight Howard. The new CBA allows it and both teams have contracts to make it work. The factors that would hold up a trade go beyond the financials. Whether the Magic are fully committed to trading Howard is up in the air. It is unknown whether the Knicks would part ways with newly acquired Chandler. As well as whether to give up Chandler, there have been no indications from the organization that Dolan is ready to break his loyalty with Stoudemire. It also remains unknown as to whether Orlando would even take this kind of deal. They would be locked into two long term big contracts and two decaying Amar’e Stoudemire knees. In my opinion, I do not believe this is a trade that will ever come to fruition. I think it makes obvious sense for the Knicks but I think the financials of the situation would far outweigh the on-court benefits for the Magic. I believe Amar’e and Tyson Chandler could fit nicely with that already strong Orlando team but I do not think the two players would launch the Magic into championship contention. Either way, Chandler cannot be dealt until March 1st so the Knicks will have their current center for at least 6 more weeks before they go chasing after another team’s star center. A lot can change in six weeks but if I had to bet a hypothetical house (seeming that I don’t own a house) on whether this trade would happen, I would bet against it.

and be sure to check out other great articles at The Meloship of the Ring.

Should the Lakers choose Howard or Bynum?

Dwight Howard

Dwight HowardThe NBA lockout is old news now and the season is in full swing. Just a few weeks ago the shortened NBA free agency period put the league into a frenzy. In the middle of that frenzy were the Los Angeles Lakers. At the time it looked like the Lakers were going to land two all stars in Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Supremacy would have remained with the Lakers for the greater part of the next decade and multiple championship banners to add to the 16 in Staples Center.

Things didn’t exactly pan out for the Lakers in the Chris Paul sweepstakes. We all know the story by now and Chris Paul is playing for the other team in Los Angeles. Just because the Lakers couldn’t land Paul for “basketball reasons” doesn’t mean they still can’t land a big time player for a big time city. The Dwight Howard sweepstakes is still there for the Lakers.

Andrew Bynum has improved gradually since he was drafted 10th overall by the Lakers in the 2005 draft. Let it be known that he is a very hard worker and he played a vital role in back to back titles for the Lakers. However, he has never played a full season as an NBA player. A definite cause for concern moving forward. Then there is Dwight Howard who is quite frankly the best center in the NBA who plays for a team in a city he has outgrown. A team that is one superstar away from being a lottery team. Does this sound familiar? It definitely wouldn’t be the first time the NBA’s best center would leave Orlando for the glits and glam of Hollywood for a chance at multiple championships.

It’s not rocket science to know that Dwight Howard isn’t happy in Orlando. Probably because he knows they won’t win anytime soon. The team has tried to make the Magic a championship contender. They made it to the Finals in 2009 and lost to the Lakers in 5. They have been on a downward slide ever since. Dwight Howard knows this and wants out. Sounds like another big man in Orlando who realized he couldn’t win in Orlando. If the Lakers want to be the talk of the town again, Mitch Kupchak will get this deal done. The Lakers need to get this deal done yesterday. However, there is still time to do the Bynum for Howard trade but that window is closing quickly. If the Lakers are going to part with Bynum, they should part with him in a trade for Dwight Howard while there is still value in him before he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2012.

So the questions at hand are simple: do the Lakers want to contend and look to the future? Or will they stay with Bynum and miss out on the greatest center in the NBA? Or will the Lakers have to give up more to acquire Howard? These are questions that will be answered as the season moves on.

Terrance Shumake is an NBA writer for The Sports Blitz and can be contacted at TShumake@TheSportsBlitz.com