Tuck: Orlando Magic Trade Options

By Mike Tuck
Host, Tuck & O'Neill

What can the Magic do with Dwight Howard?  How can Orlando get the most in return for a player who doesn’t want to be here any longer?

What this has become is madness, silliness, and what most fans hate about sports and athletes.

As a NBA player, Dwight Howard has the right to free agency as the rules dictate.  He is under no obligation to stay.  But the way he has permitted himself to be portrayed, whether by his own actions and words, or by those around him or advising him, is flat-out embarrassing.

If he wanted to become a free agent, all he had to do is not opt in.  Yes, he may have been traded, but those are the breaks Dwight.  As a player you can’t control everything.  Shaq was traded…twice.  Neither time by his own request.  And he, of course, wasn’t the only great player to be moved.

Dwight chose to terminate his free agency and now he has to live with it.  Nobody made him do it.  There was no blackmail, no bribe, and no coercion.

Dwight has the right to tell the Magic whatever he wants, but it comes off as insanity when in March he chose to stay another year and talked about loyalty and his love for the city.

I regress.  It is what it is.  Dwight Howard has made LeBron James look like Miss Congeniality by comparison with his handling of the situation.  So he wants out.  What can Orlando do?

LA LAKERS

Might be the best option, but not as attractive as it would have been a year ago.  Orlando probably would have to settle for a Bynum-Howard swap.  Perhaps a first round pick could come back, and maybe Orlando could rid themselves of Chris Duhon taking back Josh McRoberts or Steve Blake.  LA could also send it’s trade exception they acquired in the Lamar Odom deal to Orlando to take Jason Richardson off their books.

This option gives Orlando the best player available to them in Bynum as someone they could build around for the future, and still keeps them in the playoffs.

HOUSTON

The Rockets appear very willing to risk a one-year rental, and I believe it’s a good choice on their part.  They could send Kevin Martin’s expiring deal and Kyle Lowry, plus 2-3 young players from this year’s draft or last year’s draft to Orlando and take back Dwight, Hedo Turkoglu and potentially Duhon or J-Rich.

This option keeps Orlando competitive and a borderline playoff team but also allows them to rebuild.  Martin’s expiring deal combined with the fact he’s a good player could be moved in another deal, or simply fall off their cap at season’s end.  Lowry is a bargain at that price at point guard, and you’d get some other young players to work with.

GOLDEN STATE

The Warriors are another desperate team looking to get out of the rut they’ve been stuck it.  Problem for them is Orlando would have to decide to commit themselves to either David Lee’s or Andrew Bogut’s contracts.  Both are solid players, but players you’d be stuck with for a year or two.  Steph Curry would also be included one would think, but the Warriors also have a couple first rounders in Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli, and last year’s #1 Klay Thompson they could unload while taking back perhaps two of Hedo Turkoglu, J-Rich, Quentin Richardson, Big Baby, or Chris Duhon.

This option probably makes you a playoff team for sure, and while you’ll have young pieces for the future, you won’t be a player in free agency for another couple years or longer.

CHICAGO

The Bulls are entering a challenging situation with Derrick Rose potentially out half of next season and big contracts adding up on their roster.  Chicago already appears to be losing backup center Omer Asik, and could be prepared to put all their cards on the table with a big bold move.  A package centered around Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and first round pick PG Marquis Teague could work while Chicago takes back Howard, Hedo, and Duhon.

This option works better for the Bulls than the Magic.  Orlando would be pigeon-holing themselves Noah’s long deal, and Deng into being just another team most likely with rebuilding becoming more difficult.

NEW YORK

Could the Knicks undercut the Nets?  They can make a much more legit offer giving Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire and taking back Dwight and maybe two bad contracts.  It’s a no-brainer for NY, but highly unlikely the Magic would entertain this.  If the Knicks boldly offered Carmelo Anthony, it would become by far the best deal, but Carmelo wanted to go to NY and would likely just be a headache for Orlando.

This option sounds exciting, but doesn’t seem to be leading Orlando down a title path anytime soon.

MILWAUKEE

This would certainly be a one-and-done situation, but why not if you are the Bucks?  You send Monta Ellis, Epke Udoh, and Mike Dunleavy’s expiring deal for Dwight, Hedo, and J-Rich?  The Bucks can absorb a lot of money because they are under the cap.

This option gives the Magic a good player, albeit not a franchise player, and cap relief.

MEMPHIS

Would the Grizzlies consider Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay for Dwight and Hedo?  I doubt it.

BROOKLYN

The Nets have nothing to offer Orlando except cap space, a resigned Brook Lopez, perhaps MarShon Brooks, and future picks.

This option limits the incoming talent and also devalues the draft picks because presumably a team with Deron Williams and Dwight won’t be selecting very high.

DALLAS

The Mavericks would love to swing a deal, but have nothing to offer, and I mean less than the Nets.  Not happening.

 

If you are the Orlando Magic you want three things: 1) Cap relief, 2) Talent, 3) Youth/Draft picks

What Rob Hennigan’s considers the most important probably depends on the players involved.  Unfortunately there is no option available that will give Orlando a top pick in the draft, so clearing space and adding young talent appear to be the top priorities.  Bringing a 3rd or 4th team into trade discussions could open up more options for the Magic and potentially add suitors.

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