Anything less will be a disaster for the Magic.
According to Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD via Twitter, there remains a divide between general manager Otis Smith and Orlando's ownership as to how the team should handle the Howard situation.
Otis Smith wants to trade Dwight Howard, but ownership isn't ready. "Otis has two days to persuade ownership to trade Dwight," said source.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) March 13, 2012
Listen, a guy who made a list of other teams he potentially wanted to play for isn't a guy that plans on returning.
A guy that seriously wanted to return would take his player option for next year, stick around another season and give the team time to improve the roster around him.
But he doesn't want to return, and if the Magic don't trade him and let him hit free agency, he'll leave.
Let's be honest, this is about more than just winning games, even if Orlando likes to think that getting another star player will keep him around.
If it were simply about winning, he would okay a trade to the Chicago Bulls, where he and Derrick Rose would form one of the most prolific inside-outside combinations in NBA history. The two of them together would win a lot of championships.
But that's not what he wants, at least it doesn't appear that way. It appears he wants to cozy up next to business-savvy owners like Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks or Mikhail D. Prokhorov and Jay-Z of the Nets to build his own business holdings in the future.
And that's fine—it's his life, and he should live it as he wants.
But Orlando should be savvy enough to recognize that, and smart enough to get whatever they can for him before he simply walks away.
Even if they can't get a great deal for him, something is better than nothing. Act now, or regret it for years, Orlando.
Hit me up on Twitter—all of my tweets are Cinderella stories.