NBA Rumors: Orlando Magic Insane to Pass on Andrew Bynum in Dwight Howard Trade
With all of the rumors swirling around a possible three-team trade between the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers, no one is asking a vital question: Why are the Cavs even involved in the first place?
The rumored deal would send disgruntled Magic center Dwight Howard to Los Angeles, current Lakers center Andrew Bynum to Cleveland and Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao, among other assets, to Orlando.
The Lakers and Cavaliers would also receive some combination of Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis, Jason Richardson and Chris Duhon from the Magic.
But if the rumored deal ends up being the framework of what is completed, it makes no sense for the Magic to forego Bynum for Varejao and draft choices.
Bynum is a 24-year-old center coming off a season where he averaged 18.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while playing nearly a full slate of games for the first time in his career. That stat line and his refined offensive skill set have led some to argue that Bynum is on the verge of eclipsing Howard, if he hasn't already.
Bynum also opted out of the Olympics this summer to recover for the 2012-13 NBA season and undergo the Orthokine (blood platelet spinning) treatment in Germany. If that treatment's recent history is any indication of future performance, then we could be in store for an even better Bynum next season.
Most importantly, Bynum is looking for a place where he can be "The Man" (per Fox Sports' Sam Amico), and Orlando's empty slate could be the perfect place.
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So, why are the Magic seemingly giving up on two once-in-a-lifetime talents in one trade?
For one, new Magic general manager Rob Hennigan comes from Oklahoma City, where they value draft picks and hoarding cap space more than anything else. With only one expiring contract on the books (J.J. Redick), Hennigan wants to clear as many bad contracts as possible.
With the bad contract quadrangle on the books for at least the next two years, there won't be enough cap space to put a second superstar next to Bynum until 2014-15. Hennigan seemingly thinks that's too long of a wait and wants to start undoing Otis Smith's wrongs as soon as possible.
But what if Bynum is willing to wait out the next two years in mediocrity? He'll only be 26 in two years, the same age as Howard, and could blossom into a superstar with more responsibility.
Should the Magic keep Andrew Bynum in a trade with the Lakers?
At the very least, the Magic should make a Howard-for-Bynum swap and try to convince him to stay. If it gets to the trade deadline and Bynum wants out, then you can ship him to Cleveland. It's not as if the Cavs are going to pull their deal off the table when it only involves Varejao, picks and money.
In the end, the Magic may wind up losing two transcendent centers in the span of a year and end up in the basement. But at least instead of instantly giving up, they'd go down fighting to save the franchise.
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