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Dwightmare: Magic Might Not Trade Howard

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NBA teams have been jockeying for position for weeks in an attempt to lure in Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard via trade from his current team. That may now have to wait, as the Magic have been spreading the word that they might not trade the nuisance of a big man this summer.

The Magic are now hoping for either a deal even better than the offers we have seen so far, which is unlikely given all that teams such as the combination of Houston/Los Angeles/Cleveland have proposed to give them for Howard, or to wait and move him during the season at the trade deadline.

Waiting until the trade deadline would mean that the team trading for Howard would have at most five months with him until they had to extend his contract, or watch him walk to another team.

First of all, what sensible team would take that irresponsible of a gamble if they were not absolutely certain that they could re-sign him? Howard has even said that he isn’t promising that he’d latch on with the Brooklyn Nets, his first choice destination, without testing free agency first. Houston would probably do it anyway just because they’ve given so much up to get him already, but no intelligent GM would make that move with that much risk involved.

Also, allow me to ask a question: when has a team made a trade of this magnitude at the trade deadline and won the title that year?

Even the Lakers had to wait for Pau Gasol’s first full season in Los Angeles before they were able to cash in on an NBA title, and they only had to give up a dumpster full of garbage to get him. The biggest success story that has come out of the trade deadline in recent league history would have to be Baron Davis getting sent to Golden State, the Warriors making the playoffs as an 8 seed, then upsetting the top seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round in 2007.

The obvious reason for this is that teams don’t just sprout chemistry in a couple of months. The sort of rapport between teammates that is required to win an NBA championship takes a great deal of time, with a full year being the bare minimum in most cases.

To further illustrate that point, remember the first game the Miami Heat played with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh two seasons ago in Boston? That team looked like it had just met, because they did. Now try having games like that with less talent around Howard and the added pressure that comes with seeing the playoff picture with more clarity.

Now, do I blame the Magic for trying to hold out in order to find the best possible trade option? No. But to say that there is a lot of risk on their end for holding onto Howard past this summer is an understatement. The possibility of no team wanting to rent Howard for four to five months and Howard being able to walk via free agency is clearly higher than Orlando cares to think.

Then again, how representative of the entire saga known as the “Dwightmare” would that be?

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