Dwight Howard: Why Orlando Magic Must Look Forward to Life Without D12

Alvaro AlfaroCorrespondent IIJuly 24, 2012

Dwight Howard: Why Orlando Magic Must Look Forward to Life Without D12

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    Life without Dwight Howard will definitely take some getting used to, but unfortunately for the Orlando Magic, it appears that they will begin an awkward season with D12 on the roster.

    According to Chris Broussard of ESPN:

    The Orlando Magic have told rival executives that they might not trade Dwight Howard after all, according to league sources.

    Another executive who has talked with Orlando said he thinks the Magic may start the season with Howard and wait until the February trade deadline to move him.

    The Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets both covet Howard, but each team has come away from trade discussions thinking the Magic -- at least for now -- are not interested in trading the six-time All-Star, according to sources.

    It's just not possible to move forward with Howard on the team, since the Magic have taken steps to move forward without him. There have been changes in the front office and with the head coach, and the roster has been tweaked for D12's eventual departure.

    Nevertheless, here are the reasons why the Magic must start a new chapter 

The Magic's Only Option Is to Look Forward

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    Dwight Howard is one of the few players in the league who can actually make his teammates better, so as long as he's on the team, the Magic will be a playoff contender. His ability to constantly draw double teams and kick it out to wide-open shooters is very troublesome for opposing teams to deal with.  

    However, the quicker that D12 is moved, the faster Orlando can move into rebuild mode.

    It's painful for fans to think about the Magic going from one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference to one of the worst without Howard. But that's going to be a necessary adjustment going forward in order for the Magic to stumble into a lottery pick in the 2013 draft. 

The Waiting Game

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    Since Orlando felt low-balled in every trade scenario, the franchise has chosen to keep Howard until teams sweeten the pot. 

    Until then, Howard must play the waiting game and bide his time until he's traded. This puts both parties in an awkward situation, which should make for a super-fun time for all to have.

    This scenario will be an issue all season long, but until the Magic get something meaningful in a trade, it's the best move going forward. Obviously, the Magic won't make a whole lot of noise in the standings this season, so holding out for better players and draft picks is the only way to build for the future. 

Andrew Nicholson Is the Future

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    The 19th pick in the 2012 NBA draft was a head-scratcher at first, since the team was in the process of re-signing Most Improved Player of the Year Ryan Anderson.

    However, after the team shipped out Anderson to the New Orleans Hornets, it was clear that Andrew Nicholson would be the team's main young player going forward. The versatile power forward is still raw, but he possesses the skill set to make Orlando a formidable opponent. 

    Nicholson will be the creator for the next chapter in Orlando's future.

Greener Pastures on the Horizon

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    Now that Howard's time has run out with Orlando, the Magic will yet again become a terrible team. But fans need not fret because losing a superstar is nothing new. Even though it will take a few years to recover post-Howard, the next chapter for this franchise can still be great. 

    In the post-Shaq and -Penny era, the Magic struggled without both stars in pinstripes, but there was hope after the 90s.

    In the summer of 2000, Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill were signed with the hopes of restoring this franchise as a dominating force in the Eastern Conference.

    While it looked good on paper, things didn't pan out as well, since Hill was constantly injured. However, T-Mac managed to carry the franchise on his back for four years, and led Orlando to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.

    But eventually this era passed as well.  

    After that, there were a string of seasons where Orlando was terrible, but the tide changed when the Magic drafted D12 in 2004.

    What lies next for his franchise is still a mystery. However, it's not the end.