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Dwight Howard: Latest Rumors and Opinion on NBA Star

Matt BoczarContributor IIIJuly 31, 2012

Dwight Howard: Latest Rumors and Opinion on NBA Star

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    Remember just a few weeks ago when a trade of Dwight Howard by the Orlando Magic appeared imminent?

    Well, with the calendar about to flip to August, Howard still remains a member of the team that drafted him first overall in 2004.

    Despite being the franchise’s all-time leader in scoring and rebounding, Howard’s time with the Magic is not expected to extend past this season, and that’s if he is even still with the team by training camp.

    Few head coaches take over teams in July that have the potential for looking vastly different by the start of the season.

    However, new head coach Jacque Vaughn may have a very different-looking roster, depending on a Howard trade and other contracts possibly included in a deal.

    Here are the latest rumors involving the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

For Starters, Howard Trade Talks May Pick Up This Week

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    Earlier in the offseason, it seemed that the Magic were willing to put more emphasis on trading Howard than hiring a new head coach.

    With Vaughn now hired, the Magic can put even more attention toward trading Howard.

    And it could happen this week.

    According to Sam Amico on FoxSportsOhio.com:

    The Magic hired Jacque Vaughn as their new coach Saturday—and may want to act quickly in putting together a roster that doesn’t include the circus-like atmosphere created by the Howard saga, sources said.

    Amico mentions that several reports see a potential deal involving Andrew Bynum going to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Howard going to the Los Angeles Lakers and numerous players and draft picks going to the Magic.

    Of course, with Bynum and Howard in the final years of their respective contracts, and the vague players and picks that the Magic would acquire eventually needing to be more specific players and picks, any deal involving Howard will be complicated.

     

    Opinion

    We’ve already heard Howard’s name and the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets mentioned in the same sentence. 

    However, up to this point, no deal has been reached.  Therefore, the Magic may begin trying hard to trade Howard again this week, but believing that he will actually be dealt this week is like setting yourself up to be hurt.

Or, Howard Could Start the Season with the Magic

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    From going to the Nets, then to the Rockets, then to the Lakers to...staying with the Magic?

    It appears as if the Magic are willing to keep their All-Star if a trade that they like doesn’t materialize.

    A recent article by Josh Robbins on OrlandoSentinel.com contains a quote from Magic general manager Rob Hennigan in which he discusses the process of trading Howard.

    “As I’ve said all along, we’re going to just continue to stay true to our process and let the process sort of dictate the opportunities and the scenarios that present themselves,” Hennigan told the Orlando Sentinel in a telephone interview Saturday.  “We’re going to have to be prepared across the board.”

    Robbins’ article mentions that Howard still desires to be traded after the All-Star met with Hennigan and assistant general manager Scott Perry, among others, last week, and that Hennigan may be attempting to get Howard to increase the number of teams that he’s willing to be traded to prior to the season.

    The Magic may be willing to wait out the market, but is the market willing to wait on the Magic?

     

    Opinion

    The chances of Vaughn wanting an uncomfortable situation at the start of training camp are slim.  It’s understandable to want to trade Howard in a deal that greatly improves the Magic for the future, but at what point does his trade value start to decrease as he moves closer to becoming a free agent? 

    Trying to increase Howard’s list of suitors makes sense.  Holding onto him for the start of the season?  Not so much.

What Happens After This Season?

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    According to a recent article by Adrian Wojnarowski on Yahoo! Sports, a recent meeting that included Howard and Hennigan led to two options being given if Howard remains with the Magic at the start of the season.

    Without a deal that would deliver him to the Lakers in the near future, sources said Howard wants Hennigan to revisit trade talks with the Brooklyn Nets in January, when center Brook Lopez is eligible to be traded. 

    If deals don’t surface with the Lakers or Nets, Howard plans to sign with the Dallas Mavericks as a free agent in the summer of 2013.

    Wojnarowski points out that Howard has not made trading him any easier for the Magic as it becomes more certain to teams that he will be a rental player.

    However, since this further cements that this would be his final season with the team, will the Magic be more willing to accept previous trade offers from teams?

    If Howard’s trade value is going to decrease as free agency approaches and he doesn’t intend to re-sign with the team, moving Howard sooner rather than later could be the Magic’s best option.

     

    Opinion

    The Magic can play this season with Howard and then watch him sign with the Mavericks.  They can wait until January and attempt to trade him to the Nets.  Or, they can avoid an uncomfortable training camp and start to the season for new head coach Vaughn and trade Howard this offseason. 

    With Howard’s mind seemingly made up, it’s time for the Magic to make their decision, and the latter of the three options is their best choice.

Free Agency Is Howard's Last Attempt at a Max Deal, Right?

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    If Howard is trying to determine where he is traded and potentially set himself up to sign a long-term deal as a free agent, it must be his only chance to sign a maximum deal during his career, right?

    Not necessarily.

    According to an article on FoxSports.com, Howard’s agent has said that he will become a free agent after this season and will not sign an extension.

    Financially speaking, a free-agent deal after this season could give Howard his best chance at increasing his total career earnings.

    In a very informative article written by Larry Coon on ESPN.com (Insider subscription required), Howard’s decision as to whether to sign an extension with a team or sign a new free-agent contract is explained.

    Coon writes that Howard—and Bynum, for that matter—will have higher career earnings if they are able to sign another free-agent contract when they are 31.

    Howard is 26 now, and will be 27 when he becomes a free agent next July.  If he signs a five-year contract next summer with an option at the end of the fourth season, he will have the ability to become a free agent again at age 31—right at the perfect time.

    Coon also writes that Howard cannot increase his salary by signing as a free agent as opposed to an extension.

    However, a free-agent deal next season could allow him to sign another max deal during his career.

     

    Opinion

    We’re already planning Howard’s second free-agent contract?  Many teams may want to sign him to his first free-agent deal.  Howard, however, may set himself up for more career earnings through a second free-agent contract by signing his first. 

    Nonetheless, the Magic are seemingly out of the running to give Howard this first deal, so a trade should still occur.  However, whichever team acquires Howard may have to sign him as a free agent to keep him past this season rather than getting his name on an extension prior to the end of the season.

David Stern Got It Right

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    Speaking of the recent meeting that included Howard and Hennigan, how exactly was information shared on what took place?

    An article by Ric Bucher on the ESPN Los Angeles website contains NBA commissioner David Stern’s rumored suspect.

    “It’s very unique, especially if it’s driven by a quote source that happens to be Dwight’s agent,” Stern told USA Today.  “‘A source in the meeting.’  Oh, OK, who might that be?”

    According to Bucher’s article, Howard’s agent Dan Fegan was asked by some media to comment on information they had obtained from the meeting.

    Part of what Fegan wrote in an email:

    “After receiving these media inquiries, I called Rob and left several messages expressing concern that what had occurred in the meeting was not going to be accurately reported—as had happened on previous occasions—and that we were going to respond to the media inquiries to make sure that reports were accurate.  To a limited extent, that is what we did.”

    So Howard’s representatives spoke to the media after someone else spoke first?

    Either way, it appears Stern was at least partially correct with his rumored suspect.

    This might be the first resolution in the Howard saga.

     

    Opinion

    It doesn’t involve any Howard transactions, but it’s the first confirmation we have in regards to a rumor involving Howard.  And boy does it feel good.

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