Orlando’s worst fears have been realized. Dwight Howard is intent on leaving Orlando.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Howard is dead set on joining Deron Williams and the Nets on their move to Brooklyn this summer, and that Orlando has no choice but to part ways with the All-Star center and acquire whatever any team can offer in return.
This reshapes the entire Howard trade market completely, and possibly the playoff picture.
If teams are certain Howard is but a rental at this point, only teams that are certain to be in title contention should consider dealing for the disgruntled superstar.
Perhaps the Bulls would consider a package centered around underachieving Carlos Boozer or Joakim Noah in exchange for Howard’s second half services. Such a move would make Chicago the front-runners for a Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Atlanta could be in the mix as well, sending the injured Al Horford and Marvin Williams or Kirk Hinrich’s expiring contract to Orlando in an effort to get the perennial playoff team over the hump to a championship contender.
If Howard truly intends to sign with the Nets no matter what happens with the Magic this season, then New Jersey would be absolutely foolish to trade for him at the deadline.
Not only would they completely deplete the roster of any viable role players going forward, but they would lose the media buzz surrounding Howard’s debut in Brooklyn with his new team.
It’s an unfortunate turn of events for Orlando and small markets everywhere, but Howard’s departure is just a matter of time now for the Magic.
The Magic need to move quickly to construct a deal with a team and get the best available talent on their roster. Coaxing Howard is now a lost cause.