The Orlando Magic are playing with fire. The trade deadline is rapidly approaching, and Dwight Howard is still on their roster. Otis Smith will rue the day he hung up on the Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey Nets and Golden State Warriors when Howard exits stage left this summer.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski wrote in a D12 update on Tuesday that “Rival teams believe no one in the organization wants to tell the Magic’s 85-year-old owner, Rich DeVos, that they recommend trading him.”
Translation: Smith and the rest of the front office are a bunch of cowards.
DeVos is ancient. He isn’t interested in dealing Dwight and rebuilding; he doesn’t have the time. While DeVos’ desire to keep Howard around will indeed help the Magic win now, the success will just be temporary.
And by temporary, I mean three months.
Smith knows this. He witnessed Shaquille O’Neal bolt Orlando for LA back in 1996 and LeBron James to South Beach two years ago. But instead of avoiding the inevitable, history repeating itself, Smith continues to fake being in a state of denial to save his job.
Because understandably, Smith has to be thinking that if he attempts to trade Howard away, DeVos won’t hesitate in firing him and hiring someone else that will carry out his hopeless mission. So basically, instead of executing a trade that will actually put the Magic in position to compete in the future, he’s holding on to his job before DeVos gives him a mandatory, and permanent, summer vacation.
When DeVos realizes that Superman flew away leaving him empty-handed, though, he isn’t going to be a happy camper. Smith is screwed. And Howard will leave.
Please, don’t but into the I love Orlando junk that he’s pulling. Hello, LeBron did the exact same thing to Cleveland. When the Magic are overpowered by the Miami Heat or Chicago Bulls in the playoffs, Howard will realize once and for all that he’ll never be able to realistically challenge for a championship in Orlando, if he doesn’t know that already.
Smith should man up, set up a meeting with DeVos and fully explain the storm the Magic are willingly walking right into. If he fails to communicate, his time with the franchise will be up either way.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.