Seeking out a suitable home for Dwight Howard has seemingly become Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan's full-time job. According to a report by Ric Bucher of ESPN.com, the Magic—after engaging in isolated talks with the Nets, Rockets and Lakers, and multi-team talks with surely a half-dozen other teams—have more or less agreed to a framework for a deal involving both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The deal currently being discussed would send Howard to the Lakers, Andrew Bynum to the Cavs and score Anderson Varejao and a mess of draft picks for the Magic. That's enough of a baseline to begin entertaining the possibility that such a deal could actually happen.
Yet, as is always the case in the NBA, the lack of reported in-negotiation detail leaves any more precise debate entirely out of the question. We're left to sort out a loose framework and a huge number of possibilities, as Hennigan and the Magic are left to do the same.
The basis for the current deal would be a nice move for the Lakers and a strong play by the Cavs, and yet it's hard to see exactly why the Magic would be encouraged to really play ball. It's safe to assume that other players and salaries will be in play (Orlando has expressed an interest to move Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Glen Davis and/or Chris Duhon in a deal for Howard) for the structuring of a deal. But predicting how much of that sunken salary Orlando could include is where the difficulty in conjecture begins.
It's that kind of gray area that ultimately dictates whether or not the Magic pull the trigger here. The draft picks are nice, but if Cleveland starts building around a core of Kyrie Irving, Andrew Bynum and Dion Waiters, those selections may not amount to all that much.
Orlando is playing to score a big-time asset, clean house or, more preferably, both. This rumored deal doesn't exactly pull the kind of building block Magic fans have been hoping for, but it would undoubtedly give Orlando some financial flexibility, a handful of draft picks and a very tradeable asset on a reasonable deal. Varejao isn't anything close to the endgame; he may not get back a dynamite trade package in return, but the long-time Cavalier could be worth a fair bit to a team in need of a terrific defensive big.
Ultimately, given what little we know now, there's nothing all that compelling about this collection of assets from the Magic's perspective. Orlando has successfully sidestepped Brooklyn's underwhelming trade pitches, but there's honestly no rush to move Howard; the Magic aren't going to accomplish much this season regardless of who is in uniform, giving Hennigan and his staff plenty of time to seek out the deal that would grant Orlando the best transition possible.
It's very challenging to land on your feet after dealing away one of the best basketball players in the world, but that fact alone doesn't necessitate absorbing the brunt of a freefall in a way that debilitates the team. It may not seem like it, but Orlando does have options—the most interesting of which, as viable now as it was months ago, is to wait.
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