Should the Orlando Magic Consider a Deal with Division Rival Atlanta Hawks?

Nick FarnsworthAnalyst IJuly 3, 2012

Al Horford would be the key piece in the deal
Al Horford would be the key piece in the dealKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Dwight Howard is likely going to be traded sometime this summer, and it may be possible that the Atlanta Hawks would look to acquire the center from the Magic.

According to Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated, the Atlanta Hawks could offer a deal containing the contract of center Al Horford, and it is likely that they will at least explore this possibility. 

The Orlando Magic will be looking for the best possible package to secure a bright future in exchange for Howard, who has run them in circles over the last season.

The main pieces of the deal Atlanta would most likely offer are their center Al Horford and point guard Jeff Teague. In order to get the contract values to match, the Hawks would likely try to include Zaza Pachulia or an expiring contract in the deal as well as increasing the attractiveness of the offered package by adding draft picks.

Al Horford would provide the Orlando Magic with a young, all-star caliber center that is under contract for the next four seasons. He is a step down from the talents of Dwight Howard, but he is a solid piece to help rebuild the franchise after the deal.

Horford is likely to return to the production he had in the 2010-2011 season—15.3 points per game on 55.7 percent shooting, adding 9.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and one block per game. He is a strong double-double threat and a solid defensive center even with his lack of size. 

Similarly, Jeff Teague has great potential, as he developed into a fairly strong starting point guard for the Atlanta Hawks. He is extremely well valued next year at just under $2.5 million, and he would be a restricted free agent, allowing Orlando to retain his services for at least a second year.

Teague would be a great replacement for Jameer Nelson, who Orlando may lose in free agency this summer. If Teague keeps up his production of 12.6 points per game on 47.6 percent shooting with 4.9 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game, he will be a great fit for the future plans of the Magic. 

Orlando would be getting some very talented players in exchange for Howard, and their age would allow the Magic to begin to rebuild with these two players as their key pieces. If they can score a draft pick or two in the deal as well, it is likely that the Magic would look to secure a trade with Atlanta.

The only thing that may keep Orlando from pulling the trigger on this deal is the fact that it would send Howard to a division rival and make it difficult to compete in the playoffs in the near future.