Rob Hennigan and the Orlando Magic are attempting to hold onto Dwight Howard longer to get a trade similar to the one the Denver Nuggets got when they moved Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks before the trade deadline of the 2010-11 season. Problem is, the circumstances surrounding both teams are completely different.
The Nuggets got Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks 2014 first-round draft pick, the Warriors’ 2012 second-round pick, the Warriors’ 2013 second-round pick and $3 million in cash. Anthony went to New York, along with Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman.
The difference is that Anthony was a good soldier that final half season with the Nuggets. While most believed he wanted to play in New York, Anthony remained professional and was playing hard and well for the 32-25 Nuggets at the time of the deal. He never demanded a trade before the season. He never asked for one during the year, and denied wanting out of Denver when asked. He just showed up and he played.
Dwight Howard, almost needless to say, has behaved nothing like Carmelo Anthony did. Dwight has made it clear for quite some time now that he wants out of Orlando and has no intentions of staying. While the Magic hope to pressure the potential partners with the prospect of not attaining Howard if they don’t act, the Magic themselves (and everyone else) are aware Howard will leave them for nothing at the end of the next season. Heck, they may not even be able to convince him to play. Both issues would be counterproductive.
Also the reality that the Magic are attempting to rebuild, and if they just let Howard walk, then they have done nothing to add talent and reduce their salary cap. The idea of holding out for more in a trade may not work because the Nets can’t give them what they want, the Lakers don’t seem desperate enough, and Rockets have to be leery of the idea of just adding someone who will leave.
The Rockets appear to be the key to the whole trade scenario. They need to do something. But if the Magic try to out-wait them, the Rockets may simply turn to other NBA teams to aid them in their rebuilding process. Then the Magic are stuck either taking Bynum in a straight-up swap, which could end disastrously if Bynum just left in free agency in 2013, or taking the Nets deal which would bury them in their attempt to rebuild. They could hope another team would jump in, but that is awfully risky.
Rob Hennigan is correct to be patient, but the time to act is fast approaching.
Take a deal where you get a Rockets future first rounder, the Raptors top-3 protected pick next year, and 2-3 of the following young players (SF Royce White, SG Jeremy Lamb, PF Terrance Jones, SF Chandler Parsons, F Marcus Morris, PF Patrick Patterson, PF/C Donatas Motiejunas), plus Kevin Martin (expiring deal), and Josh McRoberts (expiring deal).
* Must be noted that the Rockets rookies that have signed can’t be traded until 30 days after signed.
You could unload Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardon on Houston. You just might have to keep Chris Duhon and Quentin Richardson, but both have deals that expire in 2014. You might be able to unload one or both in place of J-Rich, or in other deals that involve JJ Redick or Kevin Martin at the trade deadline this coming year.
That’s it. I can’t see how it gets better. You’d be under the cap next summer, and way under the following summer if you play your cards right. At worst it’s a three year fix, at best you might be back in contention for the playoffs in 2013.
Waiting like the Nuggets did with Carmelo is like comparing a (spoiled) apple to a (Syracuse) Orange though.