In essence, we are all gambling with every decision we make everyday. For the Orlando Magic, they are gambling that either through the draft or through free agency in 2013 or 2014 , or both, that a better player or combination of players will come along that will be better than Andrew Bynum.
As the final details of the 4-team trade that sends Dwight Howard to the LA Lakers, it is clear, and has been clear, the Magic wanted to rebuild from scratch by creating cap space and adding draft picks. Orlando is dumping Jason Richardson, Chris Duhon, and Earl Clark in the deal.
In combination with a potential buyout of Hedo Turkoglu next summer ($6 million), JJ Redick’s expiring deal, Josh McRoberts expiring deal, Chrisian Eyenga’s expiring deal, and the possibility of buying out Al Harrington ($3.57 million for each year 2013 and 2014) and the Magic are looking at being anywhere from $15-$25 million under the cap next summer. Of course, they could always orchestrate trades with any of these players, or others on the roster to change the final outcome for next summer, or wait another offseason until 2014.
So, cap space will be accomplished at earliest next year, or at latest by 2014.
They also feel like they’ve gotten younger with building blocks to fit into whatever mold the plan on designing. They’ve added a potential starting SG (Aaron Afflalo), SF (rookie first rounder Moe Harkless), and PF (Magic first rounder Andrew Nicholson) this offseason. And in second round pick Kyle O’Quinn and Sixers 2011 first rounder Nikola Vucevic they at worst have two functional centers, albeit perhaps backups.
So that is it. On paper, it’s hard to argue the Magic could have done much better BECAUSE OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES. Dwight Howard’s demands put the team in a no-win situation. The ultimate outcome will be measured on this:
ANDREW BYNUM VS. AARON AFFLALO, MOE HARKLESS, NIKOLA VUCEVIC, WHOEVER THE MAGIC ADD IN FREE AGENCY NEXT SUMMER (IF THEY DO), AND WHOEVER THE MAGIC DRAFT WITH PHILADELPHIA’S AND DENVER’S PICKS.
Which side do you like more now?
Naturally the Magic could have traded for Bynum and watched him leave in free agency next summer. That was a risk they could have taken. They chose to risk future draft picks and free agency. They probably also chose the lottery next season, and if they hit that, then their risk will have paid off very well.
It’s something we can have an opinion on today, but probably won’t have a real good idea on the final outcome of their decision for another 2, 3, 4, or 5 years. What would be fun is if we had the power to play out both choices and see what each yielded. Unfortunately none of us in this life have that power. Or at least nobody I know owns a DeLorean with a flux capacitor.
Maybe Magic fans can hope GM Rob Hennigan does and already used it.