NBA Trade Rumors: Expectations for Orlando Magic If Dwight Howard Isn't Traded
With each failed trading opportunity, it becomes increasingly unlikely that the Orlando Magic will be able to trade Dwight Howard before the beginning of the 2012-2013 season.
The Los Angeles Lakers are currently stealing the D12 headlines right now with their continued pursuit of Superman, but ESPN's Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelbourne report that it's becoming increasingly likely that no move is made:
Like Orlando's protracted and unfruitful negotiations with Brooklyn a few weeks ago, this latest round of talks is starting to hamstring business around the league, multiple sources have told ESPNLosAngeles.com, and there is a growing possibility the Lakers or one of the other teams would simply walk away from the talks at some point this week.
If the Magic are unable to move their center, what would the expectations be for the 2012-2013 season, operating under the assumption that they'd be unable to trade him during the season as well?
Last season, Orlando finished with a 37-29 record, earning them the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. Howard was only able to play in 54 games before he succumbed to a back injury and missed the postseason.
Now, the team is in even worse shape.
In addition to losing general manager Otis Smith (a plus) and head coach Stan Van Gundy (a negative), the Magic also dealt away their second best player. Ryan Anderson was shipped off to the New Orleans Hornets for Gustavo Ayon.
The Magic also re-signed Jameer Nelson to a multi-year deal and drafted two big men in Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O'Quinn, both of whom will struggle initially as they attempt to transition from small schools to the NBA.
Things aren't exactly looking up for the franchise during this upcoming season.
Essentially, the depth chart is going to look about the same, except for at the power forward position.
Jameer Nelson and Chris Duhon will be manning the point with Jason Richardson and J.J. Redick lining up at shooting guard to complete the backcourt. The other Richardson—Quentin—will be backing up Hedo Turkoglu once more at small forward.
As for the big guys, Glen Davis will slide into a starting role and he'll be backed up by Ayon at power forward. Of course, Dwight will be the starting center if he's healthy and with the team.
This might be a playoff team if everyone stays healthy and motivated. Do we actually think Dwight will play hard if he's stuck with the Magic though?
It's not like he has to play well to earn a max contract in free agency, as everyone in the league already understands that his only competition for the Best Center in the League title is Andrew Bynum.
Without a motivated Howard dominating in the middle, this team doesn't have too much to offer as the main contributors continue to age.
Are the Orlando Magic a playoff team next season if Dwight Howard isn't traded?
The Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are all locks for the playoffs next season. That leaves just one spot remaining in the postseason.
With the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards quickly improving and the Philadelphia 76ers ready to compete for a playoff spot once more, it doesn't look good for the Magic.
At this point, you have to think that Howard deserves to sit on his couch and watch his NBA peers compete for a championship.
If he stays with the Magic, that's exactly what will end up happening.
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