What would a day be in the NBA without a Dwight Howard trade request, but with the NBA draft a few hours away, new Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan is in a tough spot when it comes to deciding what to do with his franchise player.
While Hennigan doesn't want to be the guy who steps into a job and immediately deals Howard, he is going to have to put an end to the Howard saga and deal him before the draft.
HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy reports that Howard wants out of Orlando (stop me if you've heard this before) and will not sign an extension with the Magic.
Dwight Howard’s departure from the Orlando Magic seems inevitable, with sources close to the situation characterizing the relationship between the superstar and the organization as irreparable. Sources say Howard no longer wants to be in Orlando and he won’t give the franchise the long-term commitment they’re seeking this summer. Howard hopes to be traded and he has been exploring all of his options in recent days.
Howard has lost all his leverage and can no longer demand to be traded to certain teams.
What Hennigan needs to do is make a statement that Howard will not run the Orlando organization into the ground. He needs to take the best deal possible.
If the Houston Rockets, who are rumored to be trying to move up and acquire two Top 10 picks, are able to make a substantial offer, then it's almost a no-brainer.
Kennedy also writes:
The Rockets are still trying to acquire first-round picks in the hours leading up to the draft, specifically the Sacramento Kings’ fifth overall pick and Toronto Raptors’ eighth overall pick. Houston knows that Hennigan would prefer to rebuild through the draft, following the same model as the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As far as Howard not wanting to sign long-term with Houston, well that's their problem. Hennigan shouldn't be concerned with that.
If the decision is made to deal Howard later in the year, is there a guarantee that Orlando can get two Top 10 picks?
That's highly doubtful.
This could be the best deal that comes along for Hennigan, and in this draft, he is going to be able to add at least two key pieces to the future, plus whoever he drafts with the No. 19 pick.
Hennigan said via ESPN that he's not made a decision on Howard's future yet, but the clock is ticking. An offer that can improve the team for the future almost instantly might not come around. Closer to the trade deadline Hennigan may have to take whatever offer is on the table.
This a deal that can not only add talent but free up salary for the future as well. But more importantly it will put an end to the year-long circus that Howard has created in Orlando.
For Hennigan, the choice is simple. It's time to start over and rebuild.
The easiest way to do that is by trading Howard immediately.