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The Orlando Magic making the top spot on this list is certainly based on the assumption that Dwight Howard will be off of the roster by next season.
However, even if Howard ends up starting the 2012-2013 season in Orlando, it's hard to imagine this team staying competitive.
Howard has been the definition of a drama queen this summer. After opting in to another year with the Orlando Magic during the season, he now regrets that decision and is pushing the "Brooklyn or bust" trade mentality. If Howard knew he was unhappy in Orlando, his situation would have been as simple as opting out of the final year.
Instead, here we are.
Although Howard is the biggest X-factor toward Orlando's success next year (trade or no trade), there are certainly some other factors at play.
After opting out of the final year of his own contract to test the free-agent market, Jameer Nelson re-signed with Orlando on a three-year, $19.7 million deal.
Nelson has proven himself to be a solid point guard in this league, but he's coming off arguably his worst NBA season ever, which could have been caused by strife with D12. With Nelson coming back, I'm forced to think that it's on the assumption that Howard won't be.
Additionally, the Magic decided not to bring back last season's Most Improved Player award winner, Ryan Anderson.
Anderson signed a four-year, $36 million deal with the New Orleans Hornets this summer. Instead of matching the offer sheet, Orlando executed a sign-and-trade for Gustavo Ayon.
Perhaps Anderson isn't worth that type of money—I actually think he's not—but Orlando has very few positives on its side at the moment and Anderson was a breath of fresh air.
Finally, the Magic still don't even have a head coach for next season.
Stan Van Gundy, arguably one of the league's best coaches, was fired (probably in an attempt to make Howard happy). Now the Magic still aren't set on a replacement.
Building team chemistry without a coach is one thing, but trying to build team chemistry with a group of guys who could be traded at any moment is even more difficult.
If the Magic ultimately opt to rebuild by unloading contracts, in addition to picking up young players and draft picks in a Howard deal, they will not be a playoff team again next season.