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You had to see this coming.
What Orlando does with Dwight Howard can affect the franchise's immediate and long-term futures.
Immediately, Orlando needs to decide if they're going to keep the guy everyone but Skip Bayless and Chris Webber thinks is the best center alive right now. Magic CEO Alex Martins has said that Howard either signs a deal or else, "we're going to have to make the decisions that are necessary so that we don't go through a season like we went through this year."
Of course, this could mean that Smith and Van Gundy are fired while the team is gutted in the attempt to make Dwight happy. It is more likely that this means Orlando will look into trading their superstar.
I won't bore you with possible trade scenarios (you can bore yourself right here), but you can probably guess that almost every team would be very interested in acquiring the six-time All Star.
Long-term, any possible trade involving Howard would have to work. A player of Howard's caliber would be almost impossible to replace, but the assets they receive in return would have to do their best. If the team makes the wrong trade and doesn't get at least one very good player back for Howard, the Magic will face a long, arduous rebuilding phase. Just look at the New Orleans Hornets after they traded Chris Paul.
All of this can be nullified if Howard signs an extension. By himself, Howard is a game changer at both ends of the court, and having a player like that can carry almost any team to the playoffs. His signing of an extension would make Orlando an extremely appealing place for free agents, and could possibly lead to another superstar to sign with the team once the Magic receives the sufficient cap space.
Regardless of what happens with Howard, Van Gundy or anyone else, don't be surprised if there is a radically different Orlando Magic team that takes the floor at the beginning of the 2012-13 season.
Follow Bill DiFilippo on Twitter @bflip33.