Orlando Magic

NBA Trade Rumors: Moving Dwight Howard ASAP Would Set Magic on Road to Recovery

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 24:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic walks downcourt after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 24, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2012

The Orlando Magic have been through some serious trauma, and we've seen all the responses you'd expect.

The prior front office was fraught with denial, then consumed by anger and eventually resigned to acceptance. New general manager Rob Hennigan is ready to finally move on.

According to Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick, he could in fact be ready sooner than you think:

Before I duck out again, a Dwight Howard note: the Magic, I'm told, are hopeful that they can pull the trigger on a deal by early August (although I certainly couldn't tell you which one it might be). 

Amick further suggests that Hennigan won't be taken for a fool and will hold out for a deal that makes sense.

No surprises there.

And yet, it's important for Orlando to move on as quickly as possible. A swift and decisive resolution to this mess would spare the Magic another season of distraction, giving the organization an opportunity to start fresh and cultivate a culture less preoccupied with big names and their even bigger egos.

That's reason enough to pull the trigger on the best deal that presents itself over the next few days.

But, there are also some very practical reasons for doing so.

For example, the Magic could still grab a bargain or two from what's left of a quickly dwindling free-agent pool. If Hennigan can tack Hedo Turkoglu on to the deal moving Howard, the Magic would move over $31 million off their books.

Sure, it would have to take on some salary in return, but not nearly that much if an under-the-cap club like the Houston Rockets helps facilitate the deal, as may indeed be the case in the event Howard heads to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Magic could also look to clear some long-term space by moving Jason Richardson's remaining three years and $18.6 million or Glen Davis' three years and $19.2 million. 

In a best-case scenario, Orlando could even find itself instantly under the cap and in position to add a role player or two before moving on with the rest of its business.

Of course, the Magic could also look to make subsequent trades. But, in order to do so, the first all-important domino must fall. Only then will the front office know which assets remain at its disposal.

And, until the Magic have a better sense of what its new, younger core will look like going forward, it won't be in any position to discern its needs.

These kind of logistical concerns are every bit as pressing as getting the ball rolling with the franchise's cultural transformation. It helps to have a roster in place before attempting to change that roster's collective identity.

Though waiting things out might increase Orlando's leverage over time, it could also have the reverse effect given just how unpredictable Howard's ever-changing wishlist has become.

The safe move, and the smart move, is getting a deal done as soon as possible.

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