Dwight Howard: 4-Way Deal Is Safest Option for Orlando Magic's Future
The Orlando Magic are going to draw the ire of their fanbase for any Dwight Howard deal that doesn't include Lakers center Andrew Bynum in the return package.
According to Yahoo! Sports reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, Magic fans may want to get used to that idea.
Wojnarowski's report lays out the framework for a deal that would send Howard to Los Angeles, but that's not the most interesting part. Check out this snippet from Wojnarowski's report:
There are other players involved in these fluid talks, but a framework of the possible deal includes Howard and Denver forward Al Harrington going to the Lakers, Philadelphia guard Afflalo going to the Magic, sources told Yahoo! Sports.going to the Nuggets, Los Angeles center Andrew Bynum moving to the 76ers, and Los Angeles forward and Denver guard Arron
Yes, that's a lot to digest, so let's focus on the Magic's portion of this deal. Wojnarowski does mention that a deal isn't imminent, but something like this commands attention.
In this deal the Magic would receive Gasol and Afflalo. Neither player is as talented, or as valued, as Bynum, but both players are above-average NBA producers. On top of that, both players are under control for the foreseeable future.
Team control is, and should be, the name of the game here. Bynum possesses a tantalizing blend of athleticism and scoring touch for a man his size, but there's no guarantee that he would "re-up" with Orlando after the season ends.
It's tempting to chase a player like Bynum. After all, he's the NBA's second-best center, and he has the potential to eventually surpass Howard in the low post. Leaving him out of a return package seems ludicrous on Magic general manager Rob Hennigan's end, but long-term commitment shouldn't be taken lightly.
The Magic's situation isn't enviable. They're going to lose the NBA's No. 1 center, and there isn't a concrete long-term replacement.
Gasol isn't in the same league as Howard or Bynum, but he's a very good NBA player. He's under contract through 2013, and Orlando could possibly flip him for more assets at some point.
Orlando can't afford to swing and miss here. Losing Howard is bad enough. Gasol and Afflalo isn't a "sexy" return, but the team control makes them the best possible option at this point.
The Magic would be more attractive with a "star" player in their midst, but Afflalo and Gasol are two very solid pieces to add. This move looks worse without Bynum's household name landing in the Sunshine state, but don't be fooled.
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