Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard's Big Night Means Magic Must Trade Him Now

Tim Lewis@timdlewiContributor IJanuary 13, 2012

Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard's Big Night Means Magic Must Trade Him Now

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    As most of you already know by now, Dwight Howard racked up 45 points and 23 rebounds in the Orlando Magic's 117-109 win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.

    The last time we saw a 40/20 game in the NBA came on March 1, 2003, when Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal had 48 points and 20 rebounds against the Boston Celtics.  

    Warriors head coach Mark Jackson employed a "hack-a-Howard" strategy, sending the 42.6 percent foul shooter to the free-throw line 39 times—easily breaking Wilt Chamerblain's record of 34 free-throw attempts set in 1962.

    Howard was able to convert on 21 attempts (53.8 percent) as the strategy backfired on Jackson—much to the chagrin of his players, who held a 13-point lead at one point in the contest.

    Howard's performance last night means one thing and one thing only, Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith must trade his All-World big man now.

1. Sell High! Sell High!

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    Howard is coming off one of the most dominant performances the NBA has seen in quite some time. How about this for a stat line:  

    45 points, 23 rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks in nearly 44 minutes of play.

    With all the buzz surrounding Howard's monster night, now is the perfect time for GM Otis Smith to keep the buzz going by orchestrating a blockbuster deal.

    He should have Mitch Kupchak's phone number on speed dial as Andrew Bynum is the only center in the NBA that is even on the same planet as Howard in terms of talent.

2. Leverage: Use It or Lose It

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    Orlando is still firmly in the driver's seat as of today in terms of getting "equal value" for Howard.

    The closer we get to the trade deadline, the closer Orlando gets to receiving nothing in return if they aren't able to finalize a deal—and other teams know it.

    GM Otis Smith needs to strike while the iron is hot and use his leverage to make a deal today with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Pick up the phone and call your boy, Mitch, and tell him you will trade Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum, Devin Ebanks and two first-round picks.

    Make it happen, Otis.

3. Amar'e Stoudemire's Struggles in New York Will Not Last All Season

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    Wait, what?

    That's right, my friends, the New York Knicks have been paying very close attention to one Mr. Dwight Howard as of late.

    Amare Stoudemire is off to a horrendous start this season, shooting a career-low 42 percent from the field while averaging just 19.2 points per game—his lowest scoring average since his rookie season.

    If Stoudemire isn't able to coexist with Carmelo Anthony in New York and the Knicks can find a way to move Tyson Chandler as part of the deal, this trade scenario may actually start to gain some steam.

    It's no secret that Howard is seeking a bigger market, and what could be better than a new contract with Adidas while playing in the Big Apple?

    Pull the trigger, Otis!

4. Andrew Bynum Is Only Getting Better

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    Andrew Bynum is essentially in year one of a long and productive career in the NBA.

    Forget the past six seasons when he was a third or fourth option on offense while dealing with multiple knee injuries.

    Healthy for the first time, Bynum is now a legit second option for the Lakers and would be a number one option on a number of teams in the NBA today that don't have Kobe Bryant on the roster.

    Averaging 17 points, 14 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in over 34 minutes per game (all career highs), Andrew Bynum has taken that next step.

    The longer Otis Smith waits around, the more power he transfers to Mitch Kupchak, who can offer less and less with each passing day and each Bynum double-double.

5. Orlando Will Be Better off in the Long Run If They Trade Howard Now

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    With his stock at an all-time high after Thursday night's historic performance, Orlando could trade Howard to the Nets for Brook Lopez, multiple first-round picks and another All-Star-caliber player (i.e., Gerald Wallace) from the third team that gets involved.

    The offers will become less and less attractive the longer GM Otis Smith waits to pull the trigger on a blockbuster deal.

    Come on, Otis!  We're all waiting...